Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | Click Here to See the Video

Randy Bass, Associate Provost and Executive Director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, will moderate a discussion on productive disruptions in SOTL. The opening plenary also will feature Ignite-style presentations on disruptions in our thinking and conversations about 1) foundations in SOTL (presented by Jessie L. Moore), 2) studying and designing for transfer (presented by Chris Anson), and 3) student voices in SOTL (presented by Jennifer Hill). 

Jessie L. Moore is Associate Director of the Elon University Center for Engaged Learning and an Associate Professor of Professional Writing & Rhetoric. Her research focuses on multi-institutional research structures for studying engaged learning, writing transfer, high-impact practices for student learning in writing studies and TESOL, and faculty development (particularly as it relates to the teaching and practice of writing).

Chris Anson is University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in language, composition, and literacy and works with faculty in nine colleges to reform undergraduate education in the areas of writing and speaking. He has published fifteen books and over 100 articles and book chapters relating to writing and has spoken widely across the U.S. and in 28 other countries. He is currently Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication.  His full c.v. is at

Jennifer Hill is Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Jenny has developed her research interests over time to examine a breadth of student-faculty pedagogical partnerships. Her home institution runs one of the largest initiatives in Europe enabling undergraduate students to co-produce their learning. Jenny advocates the creation of non-hierarchical and inclusive teaching and learning environments that allow a multiplicity of students to come together in diverse co-curricular and curricular spaces to help construct learning experiences, guided by academic colleagues. In recognition of her pedagogic research and reflective practice, Jenny is a National Teaching Fellow and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK. She is currently Chair of the Royal Geographical Society Higher Education Research Group, Editor-in-Chief of the HEA’s pedagogic journal for the geography, earth and environmental sciences community Planet and a member of the International Editorial Board for Journal of Geography in Higher Education.

Thursday, October 3, 2013 | Click Here to See the Video

Situated Studies of Teaching and Learning: The New Mainstream

There is a tendency to view situated research such as SOTL as an attenuated or diminished form of scholarship when contrasted with the mainstream kinds of research published in social science or educational research journals.  Traditional research aims to contribute to theory, to achieve generalized findings and principles that are not limited to the particulars of setting, participants, place and time.  Situated research is always reported with its full particulars and seeks to describe, explain and evaluate the relationships among intentions, actions and consequences in a carefully recounted local situation.  It is therefore seen as contributing less to “knowledge.”

I shall argue that the search for generalizations and principles that transcend participants and contexts is a vain quest.  Lee Cronbach observed that “generalization decay.”  Jerome Kagan recently called generalization, in both the social and life sciences, “insidious.”  Even the gold standard, experimental studies such as clinical trials with randomly assigned treatment and control groups, are often of little value at the level of generalization, but potentially useful when analyzed in their particulars.   Situated studies of teaching and learning will emerge as the new mainstream, the gold standard for educational scholarship.  SOTL is not at the margins, but at the center.

Lee S. Shulman is President Emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University. He was earlier Professor of Educational Psychology and Medical Education at Michigan State University.   His research has examined the quality of teachers and teaching from the elementary school through professional and graduate school.  He has studied medical decision making and the education of members of professions including teaching, medicine, law, engineering, nursing and the clergy.  His research team at Stanford designed and field-tested the methods of assessing K-12 teacher quality that led to creation of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Shulman is a past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and of the National Academy of Education.  He received AERA’s career award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research and the E.L. Thorndike Award for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education from the American Psychological Association.  He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Lee was lured into the field of higher education by Pat Hutchings and Russ Edgerton, who are fully responsible and morally liable for any damage he has done. Learn more about Dr. Shulman at

Friday, October 4, 2013 | Click Here to See the Video

The Friday plenary session will showcase an international trio of TED-style short plenaries on learning spaces. These highly visual conversation starters will challenge attendees’ thinking about learning spaces in the classroom, online, and in students’ social spaces.

Visual Deaf Space Classroom Ecology: Lessons in Learning from Gallaudet University

Classrooms at Gallaudet University are designed to optimize visual-spatial learning strategies. Within this evolving context, the acute visual-spatial aptitudes that many deaf students experience stand to help non-deaf students better cultivate the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in our highly visual world. Creating a space of a “sensory commons,” Deaf Space classroom ecology is designed to maximize classroom’s sense of community and engagement. In this keynote, I share the “sensory commons” that exists at Gallaudet, in our classrooms and other spaces that have visual engagement front and center. Discussing the untapped knowledge about visual-spatial intelligence become lessons learned from Gallaudet as a contribution to SoTL as a whole.

Thomas Horejes is assistant professor of Sociology at Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal-arts college with a mission that incorporates bilingualism (English & American Sign Language) for the deaf and hard-of-hearing students in higher education. Dr. Horejes studies the ways University faculty facilitate knowledge in linguistically diverse, multi-modal, and visually-focused learning environments that have implications for all university students, hearing or deaf. Click here to learn more about Dr. Horejes.

The New Voc-Ed: Teaching Life as a Vocation

In this short talk, I entertain the notion that higher education at its core should be vocational education — a vocational education that is centrally concerned with students’ pursuit of knowledge pertaining to the question Tolstoy called, “the only question important for us: What shall we do and how shall we live?“ The New Voc-Ed, then, is not about teaching the manual skills and trades to students we have classified as intellectually incapable of the mental trades. It is precisely about teaching students the skills and knowledge they need to seek their life’s work – their vocation – work that is equally about what we do as well as how we live. I will explore what such an emphasis means for teaching and learning across the university.

anthony lising antonio is Associate Professor of Education and Associate Director of the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research at Stanford University. antonio’s research focuses on stratification and postsecondary access, racial diversity and its impact on students and institutions, student friendship networks, and student development. At Stanford he also serves as the Director of Asian American Studies and is a faculty-in-residence the Education and Society Theme House. His latest book is Assessment For Excellence: The Philosophy And Practice Of Assessment And Evaluation In Higher Education (2012), with Alexander W. Astin.  Learn more about Dr. antonio at

Digital essays: academic writing at the edge

The study and production of text is a defining academic activity, yet the way in which texts are shaped and shared in internet spaces presents an intriguing set of challenges to teachers and learners. Pedagogic work with the new generation of web artefacts requires us to work within a textual domain which is unstable, multilinear, driven by a visual logic and informed by authorship practices which are multimodal, public and sometimes collective. How can we critically approach these new writing spaces, as learners, teachers and scholars?

Siân Bayne is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, and Director of Studies on the Edinburgh MSc in Digital Education. Her research interests revolve around educational change as we become more and more enmeshed with the digital. Dr. Bayne’s current particular interests are around posthumanism and online education, the geographies of distance education, museum learning and multimodal academic literacies. She’s currently Associate Dean (digital scholarship) in the College of Humanities and Social Science at Edinburgh. Learn more about Dr. Bayne at

Saturday, October 5, 2013 | Click Here to See the Video

For a variety of reasons – economic, political, technological — higher education around the world is changing in fundamental ways.  How should we, as scholars of teaching and learning, respond?  At the end of the conference, we are all likely heading home with a few ideas about new research or new teaching strategies, but what if we were all also going to return home prepared to take one step to make a difference in our departments, on our campuses, within our disciplines, or in higher education policy?  How can we translate our knowledge into manageable, meaningful advocacy?

In the Saturday plenary, Changing Higher Education One Step at a Time, colleagues who are already making a difference will share their stories, describing projects they’ve undertaken, on different levels, from efforts to intervene in international debates to working for change within our own programs and departments.

Sherry Linkon (Georgetown University, U.S.) will moderate the plenary session, which will feature Arsahd Ahmad (McMaster University, and President of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Canada), Klara Bolander Laksov (Karolinska Instituet, Sweden), Marian McCarthy (University College Cork, Ireland), and Julie Reynolds (Duke University, U.S.).

Sherry Lee Linkon is Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program at Georgetown University.  Her SoTL research examines student learning in disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses in the humanities, and she studies and speaks about social class issues in higher education.  Linkon has worked as an academic organizer in a variety of settings – within academic programs, in interdisciplinary centers, in professional organizations, in academic unions, and online, by developing resources for students, faculty, journalists, and general audiences.

Arshad Ahmad is the Associate Vice President and Director of McMaster University’s Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning. His current research interests are in Accelerated Hybrid Learning Designs, Conceptual Change, Teaching Philosophies and Strategies. Arshad is the President of STLHE – The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, which is a national association of teachers. He is also the Vice-President of ICED – The International Consortium for Educational Development consisting of 23 member organizations worldwide. Both STLHE and ICED, aim to improve the quality of the student learning experience. In 1992, Arshad was recognized for leadership in teaching with a lifetime 3M National Teaching Fellowship – a program he coordinated for 10 years.

Klara Bolander Laksov is associate professor in Medical Education at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, with a background in sociology and medical education. Klara leads a research group on learning environments and educational development. She is involved in the development of educational quality at local and national level as member of the educational board at Karolinska Institutet and former chair of the Swedish network for educational development (SwedNet). Her current research investigates the meaning of the clinical learning environment for the quality of student learning in medical and health undergraduate programs and the enactment of policy and change in higher education.

Marian McCarthy co- directs Ionad Bairre, the Teaching and Learning Centre, University College Cork, Ireland, which she co-founded with Bettie Higgs in 2006. The Centre provides a suite of accredited and developmental programmes for staff, postgraduate students and researchers.  Marian’s research is influenced by SoTL and by Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom, whose synergies impact her teaching. She has a life –long interest in arts approaches and in workshop pedagogy. She holds the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence at UCC and won a number of team awards with Bettie for their work in developing the Centre and enhancing the student experience.

Julie Reynolds is an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Biology Department at Duke University, and also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  In 2002, she was one of the first scientists to teach in the award-winning Thompson Writing Program at Duke. As a member of the biology faculty, she teaches a graduate level course on scientific teaching, and writing-intensive science courses, including a course for undergraduate thesis writers. In addition to teaching, Julie has an active research program focused on pedagogies that promote science literacy, particularly Writing-to-Learn strategies ( Her current Writing-to-Learn research is funded by the National Science Foundation, and she also has a National Institute of Health training grant to support her work promoting diversity within the biomedical and biological sciences.  Julie is the Vice President for Education and Human Resources of the Ecological Society of America, an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Teaching Scholar, and a facilitator for the American Society for Microbiology’s Biology Scholars Research Residency Program.