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Students as Co-inquirers SIG Has New Co-chairs!

By Carmen Werder

The ISSoTL Special Interest Group Students as Co-inquirers was launched in 2009 by Carmen Werder and Megan Otis from Western Washington University (WWU).  Its goal was to create a cross-disciplinary, international community of SOTL scholars dedicated to tapping into students’ expertise on teaching and learning, sharing promising practices for co-inquiry with students, exploring the many positive outcomes of this work, and amplifying student voices within the international society. 

Since its inception, the SIG has always had faculty and student co-chairs.  Werder has co-chaired the group since its founding along with student co-chairs including three from WWU: Megan Otis, Tyler Baxter, and Kara Yanagida, as well as Desiree Porter from Elon University.  For the past two years, Roselynn Verwoord, Ph.D student in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia, has co-chaired the SIG and helped expand both its membership and its influence.

At the 2015 ISSOTL convening in Melbourne, the SIG participants endorsed two new co-chairs. 

The new student co-chair is Shevell Thibou who is Coordinator for Western Washington University’s Learning Commons and Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA). In the TLA, she plans and facilitates dialogue groups and related forums/events that advance the scholarship of teaching and learning at WWU and beyond. She has been an active member of  ISSOTL and the Students as Co-inquirers SIG for almost four years and has published on the topic of students as co-inquirers. Shevell is currently enrolled in Seattle Pacific University’s Doctorate in Education program with an emphasis on Educational Leadership and a research agenda focused on implementing the TLA model in the classroom setting to create a community of learners inspired to take ownership of their learning while participating in co-inquiry. 

The new faculty co-chair is Kelly Matthews, a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at The University of Queensland. In 2015 she was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship focused on Students as Partners.  She is currently co-leader for the International Collaborative Writing Groups initiative affiliated with the 2015 ISSOTL Conference. A theme of her research explores students' experiences of learning across degree programs and increasingly involves students as co-researchers. Along with developing teaching preparation programs for new tutors (teaching assistants) and instructors, she teaches in such programs and for the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. She has collaborated on 22 funded teaching and learning projects worth $2 million, received five awards (four for teaching; one for research), published extensively in high impact journals, and is a contributor to blogs and media outlets. Mutual engagement and shared responsibility for learning and teaching amongst students and staff to shape higher education keeps her motivated.

Watch for exciting new initiatives coming from this SIG.



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