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Abstract

Excerpt: I used to lead a university-wide network dedicated to developing the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Every second Tuesday at the dot of 1pm, 10-15 or so staff would shuffle into a room (refreshments in hand) to learn about the evaluation of a pedagogical initiative, to critically review a colleague’s promising idea for a new curriculum project, to puzzle over something SoTL-like we’d collectively read and sought through dialogue to better understand, and to share experiences of what often felt like contradictory university agendas for curriculum, teaching and learning change. At the best of times, folks would find opportunities to write together. And in less busy times, the SoTL publications and teaching awards achieved among us would be acknowledged, and plans made for celebration. In our learning how to be together, the differences in the politics of our contexts and in our disciplinary/professional training did not seem as stark because of our commitment to think well, and to act in scholarly ways about the project of improving student learning. Among us were those who taught students in the typical ways–in seminars, lectures, labs, online and elsewhere, and there were others who saw students in individual consultations regarding specific learning difficulties. Then, there were those (like me) with two jobs: the first, to support faculty take an inquiry-based approach to their curriculum, teaching, student learning, and second, to make a contribution to integrated, systems-level thinking about student learning in relation to the overall curriculum offerings of the university. That disposition – caring for student learning – seemed to be the stuff that held the network together no matter the level or focus of our interest in SoTL. It helped that we laughed together too....

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