Leading institutional change through learning and teaching communities (2024)

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Lilia Mantai, Angela Brew

Questions and Rationale: What does the future hold for our teaching, our learning and our students? Growing interest and practice internationally in engaging undergraduates in research addresses the need to prepare students for professional life when knowledge is uncertain and the future is unclear. However, it challenges institutions to change how students, teachers, and professional staff collaborate and presents opportunities for academics to implement new forms of student learning. Benefits to students have been well documented in the literature. They include personal and professional skills such as: increased confidence; intellectual development; critical thinking and problem solving skills (see eg, Laursen et al, 2010; Lopatto, 2006). There is evidence that research experiences have high impact in engaging students (Kuh 2008). However, while there is considerable research on students’ responses, research on institutional challenges is less well developed. Our research therefore addresses: * How academics work to implement research-based undergraduate experiences? * What are the challenges and barriers to doing so? Theory and Methods: This paper reports on a study of academics’ experiences of implementing research-based experiences for undergraduates both within and outside the curriculum. Academics work to implement new pedagogies within particular institutional contexts. As such, they interpret the situations they find themselves in as constraining or enabling. Following Archer, this paper focuses on understanding how, ‘in the light of their objective circ*mstances’ (Archer, 2003: 5), individuals’ perceived constraints and enablements affect their capacity to effect change; specifically, how they implement research-based experiences for students. Semi-structured interviews with twenty academics from different disciplines in a large research-intensive Australian university explore academics’ experiences and perceived challenges. Recognising that decisions are made at a number of different levels, perceptions of senior and more junior faculty have been sought. Interviews have been transcribed and analysed thematically. Outcomes: Findings demonstrate what facilitates change and what constrains or discourages it, offering new insights about the experiences, value, benefits and challenges of implementing research-based experiences for students. Specifically, how time is structured and workloads calculated are important to how teachers respond and adapt to this evolving learning paradigm. Also important is how physical and virtual spaces are arranged. How academics define undergraduate research and their attitudes to its benefits appear to determine what they seek to do. Negative or uninformed attitudes provide the greatest challenge to implementation. Some practices have involved undergraduates engaging in scholarship of teaching and learning projects. The implications of this are also explored. Reflective Critique: We ourselves have been working to implement undergraduate research experiences. Our critical reflections have played an important part in setting up the study and in analysing the data. Our concern is to assist the university to move forward so our reflective critique is important. Audience Engagement: We will invite participants to reflect on and share their own experiences. These reflections will inform the next stage of the study in interviewing academics in other universities.

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International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference 2013 Reviewer Acknowledgement

Shampa Biswas

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International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference 2014 Reviewer Acknowledgement

Melinda Messineo, Carmen Werder, Katarina Mårtensson, Roselynn Verwoord, Shampa Biswas

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Cohesive Space of Three Research Divas

Nancy Labonté


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The International Commons

Considering online learning technologies at CeLC 2010

2010 •

Neil Haave

A review of the CeLC 2010 conference at the University of Alberta. Bottom line is that technology will not fix poor teaching: The quality of a learning experience is completely dependent upon the instructor developing the learning environment and how they are able to use and implement the educational tools at their disposal.

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SoTL in the Margins: Teaching-Focused Role Case Studies

2021 •

Diana Gregory

The number of teaching-focused faculty (TFF) continues to increase, raising concerns about opportunities to engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) for academics who are hired to focus on teaching rather than research. Various names for these teachingfocused positions include, but are not limited to: instructional, limited-term faculty; permanent, but not eligible for tenure; equivalent to tenure-track (eligible for tenure); and casual teaching-focused. Regardless of title, TFF face a unique challenge: hired for excellence in teaching and committed to improving teaching and learning, they are often not granted support to engage in professional development or research related to teaching and learning. These and other challenges are associated with their academically marginalized positions. The authors are members of the Advocacy Committee of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). This paper builds on a session we offered at ...

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Re-positioning SoTL toward the T-shaped Community

2021 •

Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio

Amongst a range of changes that have taken place within tertiary education, perhaps the most revolutionary has been a shift to student-centred approaches focused on life-long learning. Accompanying this approach to holistic higher education (HE) has been a growing interest in, and understanding of, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). SoTL has, at its core, a deep concern with student learning and is therefore well-aligned with higher education’s renewed focus on its students. In this conceptual paper, we examine the impact of the T-shaped person which many tertiary institutions are operationalizing to inform and connect the development of students’ deep disciplinary knowledge with non-academic and employment readiness skills (such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking). Importantly, we argue for a re-positioning of SoTL to complement and support this model, with SoTL as both the fulcrum and the fluid, multiple threads of discourse that are i...

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The status of the scholarship teaching and learning (SOTL) in New Zealand universities - Three institutional case studies

Neil Haigh

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The London Scholarship of Teaching and 8th Learning International Conference Proceedings 2010 Disciplines, Pedagogies and Cultures for SoTL Volume 5 University of West London

Joelle Fanghanel

The themes of the 2010 London SoTL Conference addressed issues that were at the core of the SoTL community’s reflections on its purpose and progress. The issues they raised have gradually emerged as problematic, and therefore worthy of debate and enquiry, in recent years across the sector. Expanding the notion of SoTL beyond the confines of the classroom and across the boundaries of the discipline has brought to the fore the following questions: • Are SoTL methodologies theoretically informed and how? • Is theory a meaningful area of concern for SoTL? • Is disciplinarity a stumbling block for SoTL? • What are the challenges of interdisciplinarity for SoTL? • Can SoTL travel beyond English-speaking countries and how? • Does SoTL effectively inform new pedagogies and how? • Do HE institutions value SoTL and how? • Do ‘quality conceptions’ of SoTL and the concern for ‘scientific’ rigour and measurability restrict the SoTL span? • Is SoTL an effective instrument to improve student learning? • Do SoTL activities develop critical learning in faculty and students? • What are the most appropriate pedagogies for criticality? • What are the characteristics of a SoTL culture? • How do departmental and institutional cultures impact on SoTL? • What are the main benefits for students of SoTL approaches to practice? • What is the impact of macro-policies (e.g. Bologna, Accreditation in the USA)?

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Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal

A call for expanding inclusive student engagement in SoTL

2013 •

Maria Pratt

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Leading institutional change through learning and teaching communities (2024)
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