SoTL as Strategic Imperative?

I am not providing alternative text as the blog post is the in depth transcription of this infographic
SoTL as strategic imperative

I made this a year after setting up the SoTL network in our institution, and this is my visual reflection on the thoughts emerging from this.

The first point was that I was wondering if SoTL needs to be a strategic imperative for Higher Education institutions. On one side it fosters evidence based practice, providing a scaffold for autopoietic teachers (educators) and as it is generating evidence, helps to develop professional networks, my argument is that engaging in SoTL can help to develop professional confidence.

One could also argue that evidence based practice has a positive impact on teaching quality and thus institutional reputation.

Engaging in SoTL, my thinking continued, can for some feel like a tick box exercise for career progression, but I would argue that engaging in SoTL can actually build a bridge between institutional imperatives and personal ones. What we focus on with our SoTL work can feed into our values, interests and dare I say passions.

However, there are also pitfalls in engaging with SoTL, particularly for colleagues from non-cognate disciplines. On one side SoTL as it is always related to dissemination can help to amplify ones voice. On the other side, knowledge creation and dissemination might follow unfamiliar patterns (quantitative vs qualitative data, writing styles etc).

It is also about voice giving, creating space for ethical co-construction of knowledge–see participatory and creative research practices, critical theories etc.

But there are stumbling stones that might need a hand with stepping over:
Lack of knowledge about ethics in this type of scholarship, inquiry or research. Ethics processes, risks, and risk mitigation. In this context might be unfamiliar. Ethics should not be a stumbling stone. Ethics should be CPD.
And so are theoretical frameworks which are often coming from social sciences (but also psychology, or philosophy).
Finding your writing voice can be challenging–how are you doing with writing in first person? Are you really that keen on passive voice? Writing about difficult issues can be challenging. Writing about my own teaching is always an identity construction–who am I as a teacher and who do I want to be? And who wants to know? So identifying the right journal can be tricky.

These were my first thoughts in my visual reflection. And to keep up with the working out loud and ‘just press publish don’t fret’ advice, I am sharing these here. Some of the elements have been widely discussed in literature others not so much. Where are you with your own SoTL journey?

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