Cluster Leader: Illinois State University Core Members: Buffalo State College; Dominican University; Purdue University Calumet; Richard Stockton College; South Dakota State University; Southeast Missouri State University; Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; St. Olaf College; University of Southern Maine; Western Carolina University.
Original Cluster Objectives (from AAHE 2003 Summer Academy work) included the following:
Share SoTL resources with other members of the cluster.
Conduct assessments to document the work of the cluster and development of SoTL at core member institutions.
Disseminate information on the work of the cluster to core member institutions and constituents external to the cluster.
Share and develop strategies for promoting SoTL at core member institutions.
clarify and expand the definition of the Teacher-Scholar Model and further develop key performance indicators for teaching effectiveness.
Pursue external funding to support the work of the cluster.
Mountain Rise is a peer-reviewed, electronic journal published twice a year as a vehicle for scholarly work about college teaching and learning. Mountain Rise was established at Western Carolina University. In 2004, as part of Cluster activites, the editorial board was expanded to include representatives from Core member schools in our Cluster and submissions are now open.
Our Cluster goal is to enhance the support for, value and recognition of, and practical application of SoTL on our Core member campuses. These ten campuses are in the early to middle stages of doing SoTL work. These campuses are geographically dispersed around the nation and vary in terms of Carnegie classification, size, culture, and mission.
SoTL Collaboration Database
Please go to our collaboration database and register your contact information and SoTL interets. Feel free to search for colleagues with related interests.
Final Cluster Products include the SoTL Collaboration Data Base (see above) and an online resource packet of Cluster products to help institutions and staff organize to foster SoTL (in progress).
Cluster SoTL Grant Program
We created the guidelines for, put out a Call, and distributed grant funds to four cluster member individuals for small grants in SoTL. Guidelines (as an example) are provided here.
Summary of Cluster Activities, completed or in progress, to achieve our goal and objectives:
Visits to/conducting SoTL workshops at each other's campuses.
Creating and sharing information and documents, such as questionnaires on SoTL that can be given to faculty, a bibliography on SoTL, handouts that could be used in a SoTL workshop, links to SoTL web sites, and information about SoTL conferences.
Helping to move Western Carolina's on-line SoTL journal, MountainRise from a "regional" to a "national" outlet by having Core members join as editorial board members and by soliciting manuscripts from faculty at Core member schools.
Studying the status of SoTL on Core campuses to help make decisions about future activities and use of resources on these campuses (at least five Cluster members have conducted questionnaire studies).
Coordinating with a librarian from each Core member to help support SoTL on each campus.
Obtain $5,000 in Cluster Leader grant funds and use to support collaborative SoTL project travel for core members via a competitive grant program.
Funded four cluster members projects to travel to various conferences to present their SoTL work including to IS-SoTL in Vancouver in October 2005.
One or more individual campuses have begun or updated the following: SoTL grant program, SoTL web page, SoTL workshops or discussions, local SoTL conferences or publications, and working at the department level.
SoTL Collaboration data base.
Cluster members have collaborated on various professional presentations at the SoTL Colloquium and IS-SoTL.
Creating a document with SoTL Tenure and Promotion Language
Creating an on line resource packet
Work with Librarians
Support and assistance from our librarians and libraries is essential in organizing to support SoTL. Illinois State University librarian, Sharon Naylor, is working with librarians on our core campuses. In addition, we have produced an updated, organized list of general and discipline-specific SoTL publication outlets, with links to any journal websites. This resource can be found at the URL below.
Cluster activities worked on at the 2004 and 2005 Summer Academies:
Created an on-line data base of SoTL researchers by discipline and area across core members, and now open to anyone who wishes to register their SoTL work and interests on the database or search for SoTL collaboration partners.
Created a small grant program for our Cluster (funded by AAHE). Call for proposals has been distributed.
We wrote and are sharing a document containing examples of appropriate wording related to SoTL for faculty evaluation/promotion documents.
Collect or create, write, and share a document containing strategies to promote SoTL and SoTL work on campus with upper administrators on our campuses (in progress).
Collect or create, write, and share a document containing strategies to promote SoTL on campus by working at the department and discipline level (in progress).
Create documents related to funding, ethics, and department/disciplinary support of SoTL.
Plan various collaborative presentations for IS-SoTL.
SoTL Tenure and Promotion Language
Reward and recognition of SoTL work is an issue on many campuses that is relevant to supporting SoTL work. One of our cluster products was a one-page handout containing tenure and promotion language related to SoTL that might be used for discussion or adapted/elaborated in policy documents on a particular campus.