Tarleton faculty travel to Australia to share research findings

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STEPHENVILLE (october 27, 2015) — Two Tarleton State University professors travel to Australia this week to share research about the school’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) program.

Dr. Kelley Shaffer and Dr. James Gentry will represent Tarleton at the 12th annual conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) in Melbourne.

The presentation, Impacting Teaching Goals Using SoTL: A Case Study from a Regional University in the United States, is based on research the 2014-15 Faculty Fellows and Center for Instructional Innovation (CII) conducted on the inaugural SoTL cohort. Tarleton’s SoTL program was implemented in 2014, with an aim to help faculty members conduct research on teaching.

One of the principles behind the SoTL movement is to encourage evidence-based teaching.

Shaffer and Gentry will share how the SoTL program impacts participant teaching goals. Using pre- and post-test data, they will show a statistically significant difference for the first SoTL cohort members on their teaching goals inventory.

“As Tarleton State seeks to be a premier student-centered university, the Scholarship of Teacher and Learning efforts will be the catalyst for Tarleton to reach that goal,” said Gentry.

Gentry is an associate professor in curriculum and instruction, and Shaffer is CII director. Dr. Donald G. McGahan, Dr. Javier Garza and Dr. Sarah Maben contributed to the research.

In accordance with the university’s strategic plan, the acceptance of this presentation helps to position Tarleton’s CII and Faculty Fellows as leaders in their field and enhances recognition of Tarleton’s programming on an international level. Developing a cross-disciplinary initiative to promote SoTL fulfills part of the university’s strategic plan. Championing the program is Dr. Karen Murray, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who provides funding via the Division of Academic Affairs to support the SoTL program and helped CII and the Faculty Fellows carry out the program.

The second SoTL cohort is in progress now. CII and the Faculty Fellows are continuing their research, hoping to build a longitudinal study on the impact the SoTL program has for participants and the campus community.

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