Creating SoTL Projects from an Evidence-Based University Initiative

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Presentation given at the SoTL Commons Conference. Based upon University-level General Education assessment results from upper-level courses, a writing-in-the-discipline initiative is being implemented within academic programs. Although assessing the effectiveness of strategies introduced to foster the University’s specific communication skills is expected, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, which includes professionals with educational research backgrounds, is encouraging faculty to build on this expectation by designing rigorous SoTL projects.

Beginning three years prior to the initiative, student writing, reflecting higher-order thinking assignments, was collected in all Colleges. Annually, faculty members from all Colleges participated in calibration sessions preparing them to consistently score texts with an analytic rubric demonstrated to be a valid measure of the writing outcome components (Flateby, 2009a, 2009b, Flateby & Fehr, 2008). Results of scoring revealed weaknesses in thinking-related components, such as synthesizing compelling evidence and presenting ideas coherently.

Fostering writing outcome components, while attending to weaknesses identified, faculty are implementing instructional strategies supported in the literature. Professionals in OIE with educational research experience and publications are guiding interested faculty to design and execute rigorous SoTL investigations. In this session, four participating Writing Enrichment faculty will discuss changes made in their assessment plans to attain the level of rigor SoTL research projects require, providing evidence of research for their annual reviews.


SoTL Commons Conference


Savannah, GA