SoTL Canada 2018 AGM Minutes

SoTL Canada Annual General Meeting Minutes – STLHE 2018 Sherbrooke, Quebec Canada

When: Thursday June 21st, 2018 – 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Where: University of Sherbrooke, Quebec – A1-229

Reference Material:

  • SoTL Canada 2017 AGM Minutes
  • Draft SoTL Canada Bylaws
  • SoTL Resource Briefs Proposal Call

Call to Order and Welcome

Vice-Chair Melanie Hamilton lead the meeting as Chair Brett McCollum was unable to attend.  Melanie welcomed the attendees to the meeting and followed this by playing the welcome video prepared by Brett.  There was a total of 10 attendees plus the executive (14 in total).  The SLTHE by-laws state that quorum is 5% (20 members for SoTL Canada), and we did not meet quorum at this meeting, therefore we could not pass any motions or approvals.

Approval of the Agenda

The agenda was distributed to members in advance of the meeting through the website and email, and hardcopies were provided at the meeting.  As we did not meet quorum, approval of the agenda could not take place.  It was asked if anyone wished to make changes to the agenda or if there were any questions.  No changes or questions were brought forth.

Approval of Minutes from the 2017 AGM

Due to quorum not being met, the 2017 AGM minutes could not be approved.  There were however no questions or concerns about the minutes.  The minutes had been made available through the website, email, and in hardcopy at the meeting.

Report on Mapping SOTL Project

Janice Miller-Young provided an update on the mapping project.  A poster was presented during the poster session at this year’s conference; a copy of the poster was added to the SoTL Canada Mapping Project blog posted on June 01, 2018.  Results from the survey administered in 2017 indicate that about half of the 351 respondents were already collaborating with students in SoTL research of some form.  Many of these individuals/groups received funding from their home institutions.  Results to-date can be found on the poster included in the blog post from June (click here to see the poster and update).  Further analysis is being conducted and will be shared back to the membership.  Development of a mentorship program would be the next step using the information gathered by the mapping project.

Officer Positions up for Election

Once the by-laws are approved, the length of terms held by the executive and timing of the election calls will be outlined.  Assuming the by-laws will be passed this calendar year, the position of Student Advisor will be posted in 2018 followed by the call for Treasurer and Secretary in 2019.  The calls will also depend too on the current executive officers’ decision to hold the position for a second term.

SoTL Canada Bylaws

The motion outlined in the agenda to approve the proposed by-laws was not able to be put forth as we did not meet quorum.  However, some questions were raised about specific items in the by-laws that were then discussed.  Prior to this discussion however, it was brought to the attention of the attendees that the by-laws used by SoTL Canada as a framework to develop ours have since been revised.  However, the changes made were of minor consequence and do not need to be updated in our proposed by-laws.

The following sections/items in the proposed by-laws need to be updated, changed, or opened to further conversation before moving to a vote.

Section 3.2.2 – write out the acronym DBER in full (Discipline Based Educational Research).

Section 6 – Add a sub-section to Section 6.2 that states the Chair will be responsible for ensuring any motion passed by the members will in fact be acted upon as required.  This will ensure accountability of the Chair and Executive for doing the work promised to the membership.

Section 8 – More clarification and details are needed about how any incurred monies will be used, who will be eligible to use the monies, and what constitutes appropriate use.  The title of this section was a source of discussion as it appears to indicate that the Executive will be remunerated for their time and efforts.  It was noted that this was not the intended use for the monies and agreed that the title was mis-leading and would be discussed by the Executive to more accurately reflect the budgeting/expenditure/funding of the Constituency.  It was suggested that a list of ongoing expenses should be submitted as a regular annual budget to the STLHE Board for approval and that this process be included in the by-laws.

R. Sproule discussed new funding that will be provided by the STLHE Board for the next three years – $2000 per constituency. While this funding does not require approval from the Board, it was recommended that the by-laws reflect how approval from the SoTL Canada members will be obtained and what will constitute appropriate use of this and all future funds.

Further discussion about the wording and purpose of this section indicated that the last sentence in section 8.1 could be removed all together and the remaining content re-worded to reflect special projects or initiatives that the funding could be used for.  It should also be discussed in more detail whether or not the remaining portion of this section should be moved elsewhere in the by-laws as this section as it is currently is not reflective of SoTL Canada’s purposes.

Nicola Simmons stated that the remaining money from the Collaborative Writing Group (~$400) could be transferred into the SoTL Canada general purpose fund.

The attendees agreed that once the by-laws have been revised that putting them to an electronic vote for approval would be appropriate.

SoTL Canada Voluntary Membership Dues

A review was provided by Melanie of last years’ poll results asking members if they would be willing to pay a voluntary fee.  The results stated that the members were split in their willingness to contribute.  During Brett’s meeting with the STLHE Board, it was suggested that the voluntary aspect of the membership fees be dropped and that we either ask everyone for a minimal ($10) fee or no fee at all.  It was also brought forward that since STLHE will be providing $2000 annually for the next three years, there may be more resistance from the members to pay a membership fee and that some members may leave the constituency as a result.  The other contributing factor in this decision is that the STLHE Board is currently in a healthy financial state and there may be further opportunities for funding from the Board for initiatives proposed by the executive.

The proposed reasons for collecting fees include: making the Pat Rogers Award a monetary prize starting in 2019, creating another award for the members (ex. best session at STLHE, etc.), or a means to support the members in their SoTL work.  It was suggested by the attendees that collecting membership fees for the purposes of a monetary award would not be supported.  Having the fees go towards a research grant (SoTL research) was more favourably supported.

The next steps will be to formally gather information from the membership about what initiatives they would be willing to support as a result of collecting membership fees through a survey.  A series of criteria needs be established by the executive to outline how the money would be used for each proposed initiative.  The members could then vote if they support the fees and what they fees should be used for.  It was further suggested that the executive write to the STLHE Board asking if they would be willing to fund a SoTL grant (or similar) and what a reasonable amount of money would be that they could fund.  This way we will know what funding, if any, is available outside collecting membership fees.  Several attendees were confused as to the formality of the original poll; some believed that it was a formal vote and that the results stand (51% no, 49% yes), while others thought it was more of an opinion/straw poll.  It was not intended to be a formal poll and therefore a formal vote will take place later this year.

Goals for 2018-2019

A Call for Proposals was sent out to the membership along with the 2018 AGM Agenda and proposed by-laws.  This call reflects an initiative started by the executive to begin collecting and sharing resources with the membership to support their institutions/faculty/staff with SoTL research/work.  The details of the resource documents are outlined in the proposal.  It was noted that similar resources already exist at https://researchsotl.wordpress.com/.  It was asked how the proposed resource(s) would differ from this website that was set-up by a previous SoTL Canada executive.  Further discussions need to take place by the executive to determine how the two resources differ and how to proceed.

Melanie discussed the idea of provincial SoTL special interest groups, using Alberta as an example.  Currently, several Alberta institutions have been meeting informally and discussing their SoTL work.  They enjoy having the opportunity to meet with their peers throughout the year and discuss ideas, problems, resources, and having supports.  The goal is to provide support to those conducting SoTL and to act as a potential resource for one another.  This idea was well received and the existing SoTL Ontario group will reach out to Melanie about furthering any relationships.  If this idea were to go forward formally, SoTL Canada would act as a liaison between institutions and help establish provincial/regional groups.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned (no motion).

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