International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Call for Group Facilitators - Public SoTL International Collaborative Writing Groups (ICWGs) 2020

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In her closing remarks at the conference this year, ISSOTL Co-President Elect Nancy Chick encouraged us to find ways to make SoTL more public. This outreach model is grounded in a recognition that SoTL as public scholarship has

“common roots in Ernest Boyer’s expansion of recognized scholarships: his notion of ‘the scholarship of teaching’ (1990) grew into SoTL, and his later description of ‘the scholarship of engagement’ (1996) encompasses what we now call public scholarship, with the goal of developing spaces where ‘the academic and civic cultures communicate more continuously and more creatively with each other” in order to “[connect] the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic, and ethical problems’” (Chick, “SoTL as Public Scholarship”).

With this in mind, we are leading ISSOTL’s new initiative to do just that. As you may be aware, ISSOTL currently hosts International Collaborative Writing Groups (ICWGs) every three years that result in publication submission to Teaching & Learning Inquiry. These groups bring together academics (faculty, staff, students) to co-create articles on teaching and learning topics from an international perspective. 

This year we would like to take up the challenge to make SoTL more public, go beyond traditional forms of sharing SoTL, and extend current SoTL audiences by exploring new and non-traditional outlets and media. The key objective of these particular Public SoTL ICWGs will be to promote, exemplify, and build capacity around the sharing of SoTL-based knowledge through alternative modes and venues targeted at a broader public.

Similar to our previous ICWGs, these ICWGs will convene for a face-to-face working session during the two days prior to the ISSOTL conference in Perth, Australia (October 27-30, 2020). Before and after the conference, the groups will work together online to ultimately produce a public SoTL artefact no later than October 2021. All Public SoTL ICWG leaders, group facilitators, and participants are expected to attend the pre-conference working session, and register for and attend the conference.

We invite group facilitator applicants to identify both a topic for a Public SoTL ICWG group project and a medium for dissemination to a broader audience. Examples of the products of more public modes of communication are white papers, public statements on pressing issues, material for mainstream media, web resources, public art installations or performances, or series of blog posts/podcasts/audio-visual content aimed at a wider audience. However, we rely on your creative ideas to extend these potential examples.

Aims and Outcomes

The aims of the ISSOTL Public SoTL Scholarship ICWGs are to

  • build capacity of participants to innovate and work collegially in international collaborative groups;
  • promote, share and extend SoTL-based practices and findings through alternative media outputs to engage new audiences;
  • develop sustainable examples of SoTL as public scholarship, extending its purpose toward advocacy, its audiences toward a broader public, its products toward more public forms of communication, and its influence beyond courses and academic programs.

We are looking to recruit 5 group facilitators for this initiative.

Facilitator Role Expectations

In this role, your focus will be on leading and facilitating your group, and engaging with the whole ICWG cohort (i.e., the co-leaders, the other facilitators, and participants). We, as the four ICWG co-leaders, will lead the overall ICWG coordination and logistics of the face-to-face meeting in Perth. 

If you are selected as an ICWG group facilitator, you would

  • Facilitate an international group of 6-7 members (including you as the group leader) in developing and completing the project, starting in April 2020 and through to public dissemination no later than October 2021.
  • Work with your group at a distance via online applications throughout that time period, and face-to-face at the 2-day session immediately prior to ISSOTL20. The objective being to co-create an artifact before October 2021.
  • Ensure that your group meets the various deadlines (see below).
  • Collaborate with the ISSOTL ICWG Working Group and other group leaders in the broader initiative.


All Public SoTL ICWG leaders, group facilitators, and participants are expected to attend the 2-day pre-conference working session, as well as register for and attend the ISSOTL20 conference in Perth. ICWG facilitators have their registration waived for the 2-day ICWG pre-conference working session.


The benefits are manifold and range from capacity-building in mentorship, leadership, and communities of practice; improved communication and dissemination skills; improved knowledge of scholarly literature and alternative avenues for the dissemination of SoTL-related knowledge; expanded networks of international colleagues; excellent evidence for academic portfolio (invited to lead an ICWG in association with the ISSOTL); and the list goes on.


After we have selected the 5 group facilitators, we will release a call for applications for the other group members of Public SoTL ICWGs. We expect to have group facilitators selected by mid-February.

The current timeline has groups actively working from April 2020 - October 2021 with tentative milestones being:

  • January - March 2020: Formation of the ICWGs
  • Mid-April – Mid-September 2020: ICWGs work at a distance and prepare abstracts, plans, and identified needs for group projects.
  • October 2020: ICWGs work together in Perth: face-to-face working session immediately prior to ISSOTL conference in Perth. Attend ISSOTL conference.
  • November 2020 - October 2021: ICWG cohort and individual groups continue working until completion of final products.
  • October 2021: Final products due, recommend presenting at ISSOTL21


If you would like to apply for this exciting new initiative, please submit the application materials below to the Public SoTL ICWG Co-Leaders James Cronin (, Siobhán McPhee (, Henk Huijser (, and Janel Seeley ( by January 30.

  • A maximum of 300 words clearly outlining your topic and explaining how it meets the above Public SoTL objectives. Explain how the topic, medium/mode/genre, and audience meet the above goals for Public SoTL.
  • Key reasons (100 words max) why you believe you would be an effective facilitator for an international collaborative effort on this specific project.
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