Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants

With support from the Provost’s Office, the Teaching and Learning Committee encourages faculty and staff to engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), in more systematic and effective assessment of student learning, and in using what is learned through these endeavors to improve teaching and learning at Kalamazoo College. To accomplish those goals, faculty and staff may apply for grants to support SoTL Projects. The deadline for SoTL project proposals is Monday of 1st week, winter term. To accommodate proposals for courses that run during the winter term, the committee will work to respond by Monday of 2nd week. Each academic year, three grants of up to $1200 will be awarded for SoTL projects at the course, department/program, or even college level. SoTL grants can be used to support a variety of activities, including purchasing books and supplies, trainings and professional consultations, and stipends up to $500 for faculty time to carry out the proposed project. We especially encourage interdisciplinary projects and those projects that include staff as well as faculty. Grant recipients will receive funds for materials and expenses as they are incurred, and the stipend upon submission of a final report. Recipients of SoTL grants will be notified as soon as proposals have been reviewed.

A link to the online SoTL grant application form

Coming Soon: a link to SoTL online reporting form

Responsibilities for Faculty and Staff Receiving SoTL Grants

  • Carry out your SoTL project with rigor and scholarly effort consistent with scholarship in your field.  (Note: methods you use in your SoTL project might differ from those you use in your field; effort, thoroughness, and perspicacity applied to your SoTL project should be similar to that applied to your other scholarly endeavors.)
  • If invited, present results of your project at our annual Teaching and Learning Symposium at the outset of Fall Term.  The SoTL Project Recipients will be the focus of the Symposium every other year.
  • Submit a final report by completing and submitting the Report Form on the following pages.  The final report will be due at the beginning of the academic year following the receipt of the grant (e.g., 2015-16 grant recipients will need to submit their report at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year, by September 30, 2016).

Guidelines are based on Chapter Two, Standards of Scholarly Work, in Scholarship Assessed:  Evaluation of the Professoriate, by Charles E. Glassick, Mary Taylor Huber, and Gene I. Maeroff, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997 and on the Kalamazoo College Teagle Grant Proposal Guidelines, drafted by Paul Sotherland and Anne Dueweke, 2009.  Revised by the Teaching and Learning Committee, 2013.


Completed Project Abstracts

Kokushkin, Maksim – Flipping Social Theory: A Project Made Possible by the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Gran

This project combined flipped classroom pedagogies (Bowen, 2012) with the self-regulated learning perspective (Pintrich, 2014) on student learning to structure a pilot introductory social theory course (ANSO 275 Thinking Theoretically). On the one hand, I took lecture content out of the classroom and made it available to students online through short videos and related reflection and comprehension assessment. That allowed focusing class time on discussing and clarifying the material while organizing in-class reflections around working and thinking with the material. On the other hand, I allocated class time to metacognitive activities allowing students to reflect on and contribute to their own learning. For example, students would reflect on the process of defining a concept/idea as “easy” or “difficult” in the context of their own worldviews, comfort particular academic writing styles and assumptions about theory. Overall, the approach adopted in Thinking Theoretically demystified social theory for most students and allowed them to apply theoretical ideas to a social issue that they consider important. At the same time, students were able to trace the evolution in their own learning thus preparing them to tackle more complex ideas and theories in the future.

Sources:

Bowen, J. A. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. John Wiley & Sons.

Pintrich,­ P. R. (2004). A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated learning in college students. Educational psychology review, 16(4), 385-407.

Stevens-Truss, Regina – Flipping the Introductory Chemistry Classroom

The project titled Flipping the Introductory Chemistry Classroom was undertaken to assess if asking students to listen to pre-recorded lectures prior to class could enhance learning and engagement in class.  The impetus for this project was an observation that the diversity of the students in my CHEM120 class was increasing, while success in the class, measured by scores on the final exam and grade distribution, was decreasing.  The project was conducted with two consecutive CHEM120 classes; spring 2013 and spring 2014.  In 2013, the first 15 to 20 min of class was spent reviewing the information for the day followed by the students working on problems in small groups.  Responses to most of the questions were then collected using clickers, which gave us immediate feedback of how the class was managing the problems.  In 2014 the amount of initial review was reduced to about 5 min of class time with me only discussing things the students stated they did not understand from the pre-recorded lecture for the day.  This change was due in part to student comments on the 2013 course evaluations.  Comments on the 2014 course evaluations, however, suggests that 5 min of lecturing was not enough, as a student stated, “I had to do most of the learning on my own time…”  Clickers were again used to assess student progress through the problems.  Based solely on course evaluation numbers, students in 2013 appeared to enjoy the new model better than students in 2014 [Mean score on the question “The teaching techniques were effective in helping me learn” was 4.23 in 2013 and 3.29 in 2014].  Comments both years, however, made reference to the “time consuming” nature of the pre-recorded lectures and to the need to make them more “concise.”  Many students in 2014 directly stated in the course evaluations that they disliked the flipped classroom, and that I appeared less approachable (I am assuming this comment is related to the comment about learning by themselves).  What I learned from flipping this class is that (i) the class was more collaborative, with the students of color being included more in the learning, (ii) students didn’t like the amount of time required outside of class for learning, and (iii) pre-recorded lectures need to be shorter and more focused.  The most encouraging result was the observed increased success in the class, measured by (i) a higher percentage grade on the final exam with a smaller standard deviation, suggesting a narrowing of the learning gap, and (ii) more A grades and fewer D grades earned.