Welcome SoTL Teaching-Focused Faculty!

The SoTL teaching-focused faculty project explores issues experienced by teaching-focused faculty of various roles as they seek to engage in SoTL. We hope the project will help these academics feel less isolated: The website is a place of discussion for academics worldwide to network and share thoughts, ideas, and questions regarding issues that teaching stream academics face.

The narratives section of this website presents our participant narratives to date. For analysis of these narratives and recommendations, please see our 2021 paper at: https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/TLI/article/view/69586/54639

We would love to hear your voice too! Please email Nicola Simmons at nsimmons@brocku.ca if you would like to contribute.

The Project

This project grew from discussions amongst members of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Advocacy and Outreach Committee (now the Advocacy Committee) that led to a presentation at ISSOTL in 2017 in Calgary, Canada. At that session, panelists drew on their own stories to provide opportunities for discussion about the issues teaching-focused faculty (and others) face when engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The engagement from the audience made it clear: there were many other stories to be told. The project therefore sought to collect these stories and make them public to engage the community in providing mutual support.

Background  

The number of teaching-focused positions that focus exclusively on teaching has been on the increase for some time (Vander Kloet et al., 2017). Names for these positions vary around the world and can include “instructional limited term faculty, permanent but not eligible for tenure, equivalent to tenure-track (eligible for tenure), etcetera” (Simmons, Eady, Scharff, & Gregory, 2021). These academics, hired to focus on teaching rather than research, face significant challenges engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning vis-à-vis their marginalized positions (Flavell et al., 2017; Vander Kloet et al., 2017). That marginalization is also seen in the literature, where there are very few accounts of the supports and challenges that they face, especially from their own perspectives.  

In this project, and with REB approval, we invited teaching-focused academics to respond to questions about SoTL and their roles:  

1. Are you able to engage in SoTL?  

2. When you engage in SoTL, what barriers or supports do you encounter that are related to your position? 

3. Are SoTL grants or other forms of monetary research support available to you? 

4. Are there other exclusions or incentives for engaging in SoTL relating to your position? 

5. What supports or institutional factors (including culture) would assist you in engaging in SoTL within your institution?   

Their anonymized narratives (pseudonyms were chosen in consultation with the participants) appear on the narratives tab of this website. These narratives illustrate their key experiences and how the institutional culture and policies has affected their SoTL engagement.  

It is our profound hope that this website will serve as an adjunct to the published paper to a) give fuller voice to the participants, b) to shine a light on challenges they face, c) share resources relevant to these issues, and d) provide a space for community engagement.  

We are grateful to Brock University’s Faculty of Education for a grant that supported the construction of this website.  

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