2013 Symposium - Plenary Speakers

Dan Bernstein - "Impact of SoTL on Changing Faculty Practices"

Biography:  Dan Bernstein is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Kansas.   He was at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln from 1973 until 2002, when he became Director or the Center for Teaching Excellence at KU.  From 1999 to 2003 Bernstein directed a five-university project on peer review of teaching materials, and his recent writing has focused on electronic course portfolios centered on student work.   He works with colleagues from many fields of study to showcase the quality of their student work and the practices that have helped that work emerge.  A recent grant from the Teagle and Spencer Foundations enhanced writing and library skills through team-designed assignments and scaffolding, and a current Spencer Foundation grant supports research on the use of assessment data in course and curriculum change.  Currently he explores and evaluates various uses of technology to promote student understanding, and his ongoing courses are a laboratory for evaluating the impact of out of class web-based activities on deep understanding of conceptual material.  He was a Charter Member of the University of Nebraska Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and he was a Carnegie Scholar in 1998. Recently he received the J. Michael Young Academic Advising Award at KU and the Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award from Div. 25 of the American Psychological Association.  He is currently President of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Abstract:  The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is a loosely defined domain of public intellectual work that includes many forms of inquiry into the effectiveness of instruction.  Participation in an SoTL community can range from conventional social science research in education to systematic variation in teaching that tracks student performance to case studies of student learning generated by teaching innovations.  All these forms of inquiry change how we teach, both in doing the work itself and from what we learn as a result.  This presentation will offer several examples of varying forms of SoTL that have had an impact on the understanding of students, on the development of individual instructors' teaching practices, on the ways that other colleagues design their courses, and occasionally on broad knowledge in education.  Each type of investigation has an appropriate audience who are ready to undertake a similar level of investment in change.  A case will be made that all these visible forms of SoTL inquiry are meaningful to higher education because others can use, critique, and build upon their findings.


Patti McDougall - "Scholarship of teaching and learning at the heart of academic culture: Integration doesn’t happen overnight!"


Biography: Dr. Patti McDougall is the Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning at the University of Saskatchewan for a five-year term beginning January 1st, 2013.  Also an Associate Professor of Psychology, she comes to the U of S from St. Thomas More College (federated with the University of Saskatchewan), where she has held the positions of Assistant and Associate Dean as well as interim Dean.  Patti has been actively engaged in developing interdiciplinary programming and experiential learning opportunities in the humanities and social sciences, and part of her prior research explored the transition of students from high school to university studies.  She is the recipient of several STM and UofS awards for her teaching and commitment to the student experience.

Abstract: The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is a growing force within the research landscape. As we continue to articulate the value of such scholarly pursuits it remains critical to pay attention to the need for rigor and quality if SoTL is to be seen as a credible and recognizable research endeavour. To reach our goal of integrating SoTL into the academic culture at the University of Saskatchewan we have identified a series of key strategic actions involving such things as building methodological expertise, increasing institutional support, and educating collegial decision makers about the scholarly merits of SoTL work.