SoTL Canada AGM, STLHE 2017 Halifax, NS
June 23rd 2017, 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM at Dalhousie University, SUB 303
Introductions and greetings, led by Deborah Kiceniuk (Chair of SoTL Canada), welcomed the dedicated attendees taking part in the early morning meeting. Each of the SoTL Canada executive members then introduced themselves, describing their responsibilities and roles within the constituency.
The agenda included several items to be discussed; the details of those discussions are as follows:
Collaborative Writing Groups:
The Collaborative Writing Groups (CWG), eight in total, were formed late in 2015/early 2016. The groups met in a face-to-face three-day workshop immediately following the STLHE 2016 Annual Conference in London to work on their papers and engage with the leaders. In June 2017, the special issue of The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CJSoTL): SoTL within Canadian Contexts & Communities: The Collaborative Writing Groups Initiative was published, including the research papers from each group. This issue can be accessed online at the following link: http://www.cjsotl-rcacea.ca/. Announcements regarding the publication were made through various sources: the SoTL Canada website/blog, STLHE listserve, and social media platforms. A particular point of interest, and consideration for all future papers, were the methods employed by the authors of the Francophone article: Nested Within or Swallowed Up: Le dilemme des chercheurs francophones en pédagogie postsecondaire au Canada. While the paper was written in French, an English audio translation was included, therefore making it accessible for both official Canadian languages. A panel presentation at STLHE 2017 provided an opportunity for several of the group leaders to reflect back on their experiences with their CWG and the journey participants took over the past year. Thanks to the CWG leaders, Elizabeth Marquis and Nicola Simmons for all their hard work and to Ken Meadows for his work during the publication process. It truly was a success!
SoTL Mapping Project:
Creating a mentorship program through SoTL Canada, partnering experienced SoTL/Educational Developers practitioners with those wanting to be mentored, has been an initiative with continued support from the members. During discussions at the 2016 AGM, it was decided to perform an environmental scan of SoTL work going on at Canadian institutions. Identifying who is involved in SoTL, where, and in what capacity, will provide the necessary information for establishing the foundation of a mentorship program. The executive established the SoTL Mapping Project in 2016. Phase one, identifying departmental contacts across Canada, is complete. The next phase involves the distribution of a survey designed to collect the desired information from each institution. Currently, ethics approval for the survey is pending; for the sake of any future publications, it is necessary to have approval. It was suggested that a clause be included in the survey asking for permission from the participants to make their information public once the project is complete. This would provide those seeking SoTL contacts/information a place to access the consolidated information. Student involvement in SoTL is one area that members indicated they would like to know more about. The survey could include a question asking if there are student partners in SoTL at their institutions. A blog post will be made later in the summer/fall updating the members on the progress of this project.
A discussion about ethics and SoTL projects ensued following the Mapping Project update. This is an area of increasing interest, as most institutional Research Ethics Boards (REB) do not have policies in place for processing SoTL projects. Different institutions treat SoTL in different ways, but there does not seem to be any consistency across the country. Creating an Advocacy Group or Sub-Committee dedicated to SoTL and ethics was suggested. This group could review REB procedures across Canadian institutions to determine what policies are currently in place, advocate for the implementation of SoTL specific procedures, and help build relationships between REBs and the researchers.
Blog posts will continue on a regular basis and thanks to all who have provided a post and have volunteered for future posts! Many have signed up for 2017 postings, but more will be needed for 2018. The more the merrier! A recommendation was put forward to advertise the call for volunteers on the blog site along with a description of what is required in a post and a list of possible topic areas (past and future). If you wish to sign up for a post, you can email Jeni Spencer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The twitter account (@SotlCan) has been quite active this past year. Please follow, like, re-tweet, and message us if you wish. Anything related to SoTL, nationally and internationally, can be posted, so be sure to follow. If you would like to have something posted, please email Andrea Webb (email@example.com).
Nicola Simmons brought forth an idea to organize an event at the beginning of the STLHE Annual Conferences (starting in 2018) specifically for students who are interested in SoTL. Here they could meet people who are involved with SoTL and learn about the SoTL focused sessions happening at the conference. Inviting the 3M National Student Fellows to such an event would provide an opportunity for them to engage with their peers and discuss teaching and learning topics. As the 3M Student Fellows are recognized leaders in teaching and learning, they could help guide and encourage those who are involved or interested in doing more at their home institutions. If this idea is pursued, the executive may wish to contact Maureen Connolly to connect with the 3M Student Fellows and discuss the opportunity further. Connecting with the conference registration team would provide a list of student delegates so invitations and arrangements can be made ahead of time. TAGSA may be another STLHE group to connect with in organizing a possible event.
SoTL Canada is thinking of expanding its partnerships and outreach. Ideas brought forward include: joining with the EDC to create a series of SoTL webinars, and connecting with disciplines that conduct SoTL. The webinars would showcase a variety of SoTL specific content, including: highlighting 3M National Teaching Fellows who conduct SoTL, and a “how-to get started with SoTL” for those wanting to become involved with SoTL but are not sure how to get started. Discipline specific SoTL is becoming more common and should be highlighted. Conducting an environmental scan of discipline specific journals, departments, and institutions to determine who is involved with SoTL but are not represented in SoTL specific publications could provide the opportunity for new connections. Connecting with ISSoTL and capitalizing on this relationship should also be a priority in the coming year.
The executive would like to establish an award of recognition for a SoTL session at the STLHE Annual Conference. Discussion of an award of recognition (not monetary), brought forth the idea of how SoTL Canada could provide funding to individuals/groups involved with SoTL. The members have indicated over the years that there is a need and want for funding to conduct SoTL research; currently there are monies available from the board for initiatives like this. A representative from the STLHE Board would be needed to help champion the idea of creating small grants. A motion was put forward by Nicola Simmons to task our executive with going to the STLHE Board and request funding for SoTL projects to be distributed by SoTL Canada. Neil Haave seconded this motion and all were in favour.
Regarding future STLHE Conferences, several ideas were generated about the promotion of SoTL research. Sessions could include: welcome to my SoTL project, book a conversation with an established SoTL researcher, and identifying conference sessions that SoTL Canada acknowledges as being SoTL focused.
The motion to close the meeting was put forward by Deborah Kiceniuk and all were in favour.