MRU Institute for SoTL

Preliminary meeting – SoTL Reading Group

In an effort to further strengthen our community of SoTL at MRU, I invite you to participate in a SoTL reading group.

The (vaguely defined – subject to your input) vision for these scholarly meetings is to bring together people engaged in SoTL to talk about recent and/or important contributions to the field.

Our first organizational meeting will take place on December 6th 2016 at 12:30pm in EA3003 (the “Knuckle”). We will discuss the format and schedule of future discussions (to be held in 2017).
Margy has offered to bring dessert-y treats!

Please feel free to circulate this email and invite others. The present email list was compiled from the list of past and present Nexen and TransCanada scholars, supplemented with other people we knew to be engaged in SoTL. Please let me know if you never want to hear about this again!


Update – 2017 TransCanada Collaborative SoTL Inquiry Grants

Applications for the 2017 TransCanada Collaborative SoTL Inquiry Grants are due January 16, 2017. To apply, Principal Investigators must use the Office of Research Services web-based application through ROMEO (see ). The information required for the grant application is listed in the ROMEO system.

The Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at MRU is pleased to sponsor a call for applications for the 2017 TransCanada Collaborative SoTL Inquiry Grants. These grants are designated for collaborative teaching and learning inquiry projects which go beyond an inquiry about teaching and learning in a single class. Note that while the Nexen Scholars Program is designed to support scholars in developing a project, the TransCanada grants require a complete research proposal including literature review, research question, methodology, data collection, and dissemination plans. (If your proposed work does not align well with this structure, please include a clear statement of theory and methods that are aligned with the proposed project.)

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is inclusive and unified by its potential to have impact in the classroom and to deepen our understanding of student learning, but diverse in discipline, theory, methodology, and method. Eligible projects must propose systematic, evidence-based study of teaching and learning and meet principles of good practice in SoTL (Felten, 2013):

  • focused on student learning in higher education,
  • situated in the existing literature and grounded in a teaching-learning context,
  • methodologically sound,
  • conducted in partnership with students, and
  • appropriately public.

Collaborative SoTL projects are expected to be in the range of $5,000-$10,000 for a single year (bigger than what an internal research grant would reasonably support) and may be conducted over one or two years. Multi-year projects are subject to annual reporting and adequate progress in order to carry forward funds. For multi-institutional projects, a fulltime MRU faculty member must be the principal investigator on the project and paid research assistants must be MRU students (unless the project is co-funded). Note that support for smaller SoTL inquiry projects is available through the Internal Research Grant Fund.

For additional information please contact the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning through Anne Johnston at These grants are funded in their entirety by the TransCanada Research Program for Learning Innovation and Collaborative Inquiry.

For more information on criteria and eligible expenses, please click Continue reading

Continue reading


heads up! – teaching and learning events in May

It is going to be a busy spring if you are interesting in talking about teaching and learning in Calgary:

Campus Alberta Writing Colloquium, Friday April 10
The organizers of the twelfth CAWS colloquium, to be hosted at Mount Royal University, are pleased to invite proposals. Proposals for 20-minute presentations on any aspect of research, teaching, and administration in Writing Studies and Rhetoric will all be warmly considered, but, given Mount Royal’s emphasis on teaching informed by scholarship, presentations on pedagogical topics are especially welcome.
CAWS Spring Colloquium 2015 CFP

3rd annual Conference on Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, May 12-13
This conference offers an opportunity for faculty, students, academic librarians and staff at the University of Calgary and the wider academic community to share, critically examine and build on our collective knowledge of teaching and learning. Theme: Design for Learning: Fostering Deep Learning, Engagement and Critical Thinking.

Towards Scholarly Teaching Spring Intensive, May 19-22
This four day intensive, offered by the Academic Development Centre at Mount Royal University, offers post secondary educators the opportunity to create strategies, develop ideas and rethink approaches to their own scholarly practice through participation in small group seminars.




Publishing SoTL

Look what turned up in Janice Miller Young’s feedly feed: Kathleen McKinney has posted a great list of tips for disseminating SoTL work  – everything from considerations of the research and writing process to the mechanics of writing for particular publications – including this one:

“7. SoTL is action, practioner, applied research. Spend time in the discussion section talking about how you have used the results and/or plan to use the results (specific changes and actions) to enhance student learning. Make application suggestions for readers. You would be amazed at how often this area is neglected in SoTL papers.”

Highly recommended!

And in other news – Nancy Chick forwarded this article from Teaching in Psychology – among other things the authors found “Thus, the citation patterns of authors’ teaching research are not distinguishable from their traditional discipline research.” Interesting when we consider evaluating scholarly work…

Tomcho, T. J., Foels, R., Walter, M. I., Yerkes, K., Brady, B., Erdman, M., … & Manry, A. (2014). Outside the Classroom and Beyond Psychology A Citation Analysis of the Scientific Influence of Teaching ActivitiesTeaching of Psychology,




Early bird registration for Banff Symposium on SoTL closes Oct 10!

Banff Symposium on SoTL, Nov 6-8 2014

Pre-conference workshops and concurrent sessions range from exploring both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to dissemination of SoTL work in courses across the curriculum and from a broad range of disciplines.


Vive la différence! Deploying Disciplinary Knowledge in Collaborative Work
Sherry Lee Linkon, Georgetown University
Professor of English, Director of Writing Curriculum Initiatives

Seeing Red, Telling Time, and Catalyzing Change
Peter Mahaffy, The King’s University College
Professor of Chemistry, Co-Director of King’s Centre for Visualization in Science, 3M National Teaching Fellow

Conversations Within Communities of Practice
Gladys Sterenberg, Kevin O’Connor, and Ranee Drader, Mount Royal University
Professors of Education; Undergrad. Research Assistant

What Students Want you to Know about Conducting SoTL Research
Ranee Drader (Education & Schooling), Kyle Kinaschuk (major: English; minor: Philosophy), Ana Sepulveda (Science), Mount Royal University


“Continuing in SoTL” Community of Practice

Last year, a number of us got together to form a community of practice for those who were looking for continued support in SoTL after finishing the Nexen Scholars program.

Communities of practice are groups whose members “share a passion for something they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better” (Wenger, 2006).

All MRU Nexen Scholars who are interested in continuing their SoTL scholarship are invited to join the group this year, but for the purposes of a developing conversation, must be able to commit to the fall meeting times.

Fall meeting times:

Fridays, 3:00-4:00
Oct 10, Nov 14, Dec 12
Room TBA (hopefully the Faculty Centre so that we can cruise into AA…)

If you’re wondering exactly what this group might want to talk about, well, that will be for the group to decide in its first meeting. Last year we read articles together, discussed research approaches and learning theories, workshopped each other’s projects, and talked about strategies for developing a line of research, carving out time for scholarship and writing, etc.


2014-15 Going Public Awards: next deadline Sept 30

In an effort to support the dissemination of research results produced by Nexen Scholars, the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is pleased to sponsor the Nexen Scholars Going Public Award. This award is available to all Nexen Scholars who are presenting findings resulting from data gathered for their original Nexen project OR findings resulting from a subsequent SoTL inquiry.

Application instructions: 2014-15GoingPublic
Application deadlines: Sept 30 (for conferences Sept-Jan) and Jan 30 (for conferences Feb-Aug)


Update on predatory journals

This an update to information in an earlier post.
Beall’s list of predatory publishers has recently been criticized by Walt Crawford, long-time advocate of Open Access for some biases in what gets listed. Bottom line is journals listed there may or may not be predatory, and journals not listed there also may or may not be predatory – but it’s a good place to do a first check if you’re suspicious.

One of the resources Crawford links to is a good guide to checking the ‘scamminess‘ of publishers posted on Gavia Libraria. The post has very useful tips and considerations and I highly recommend going through the steps provided to check the credibility of a journal before you decide to publish there.