Future Vision for SoTL as Cultural Norm of Higher Education Institutions

Future Vision for SoTL as Cultural Norm of Higher Education Institutions


In my talk earlier today I made a
distinction between SoTL as a kind of extended family of empirical investigations and
conceptual work really part of the social sciences
of education and in many ways the humanistic field of education. I made a
distinction between that and the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning as a social practice, as a way of organizing life in universities not just
to get a more equitable distribution of roles and rewards for faculty who do
very different things, not very, but different things at the University. But also as a way of creating a campus culture and climate that fundamentally changes the
university as an institution in the college as an institution. And so when you ask me my fantasy, it would be a fantasy
in both those areas, it would be a fantasy in which more
and more institutions see the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning as a cultural norm for the institution in the same way that many now see civic engagement or see the
responsibilities for acting in a manner that serves the community
and the larger nation as part of their definition. The same way that people
forget that sixty years ago the notion that a university and
college should be centers for scholarship and research was still a
new idea. I mean and now we take it for granted. Yeah I’m at a community college and
I’m writing a book. Not because I need to for promotion, but because that’s what we do. That’s what we academics do. And it would be like a priest at Notre
Dame saying yes I pray regularly, not because of a promotion, but because that’s
what preachers at Notre Dame do. And we would like our students to do it too. So that’s one thing I’d like to see from more and more institutions. Right now, that’s more characteristic
of smaller institutions and less prestigious research
institutions. My dream would be to see it begin to permeate institutions more broadly. With regard to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as a research activity, I would like to see it less separated from what is currently
misnamed the mainstream of research in education and the social sciences, and for more and more people to recognize what was one of my key messages this morning, which was that these are bodies of work that are growing more and more similar as forms have situated applied
inquiry. What that would mean would be in
some ways, that SoTL stops being a club. It stops being a sorority. It stops being a cult; and starts being; “oh yeah, we do that.
Sure, a lot of people around here do that.” You don’t have to be a member of that particular liturgy in order for it to happen.

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