In October, the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University co-hosted ISSOTL17, the annual conference for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. From October 11-14, 650 delegates from over 20 countries gathered at the Telus Convention Centre to share their SoTL research. In this post, Nancy reflects on her experiences as Conference Co-Chair two weeks prior to the event.
Much of my time in recent months has been devoted to preparing for the upcoming conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), hosted by the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. From October 11 through October 14, 650 academic staff, educational developers, and students converged on the Telus Convention Centre to share and learn about others’ scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), or research into postsecondary student learning by various disciplinary experts.
This year is the 14th annual conference of ISSOTL, and my 14th year in attendance. I’ve been to Melbourne, Liverpool, Vancouver, Sydney, Los Angeles, Quebec City, Washington DC, and next year will go to Bergen, Norway. My conference co-chair Michelle Yeo (Director of the Institute for SoTL at Mount Royal University) and I were excited about the opportunity to showcase Calgary and the great work being done here. 85 UCalgary colleagues were on the presenters’ list.
Our theme–“Reaching New Heights”—invoked the fact that Calgary sits at 1,049 meters high with the mountains shaping our western skyline. It urged presenters, practitioners, and participants to think about the future of SoTL. It asked us to take risks by venturing into the unknown, and to explore diverse landscapes as we gain wider views of teaching and learning. It invited discussions of both the peaks and the valleys of SoTL, and called us to share our adventures in SoTL—what we’ve learned along the way, how far we’ve come, what we’ve left behind, when we’ve faced down adversity, whose hands have lifted us, when we’ve stopped short of the peak, and what’s accomplished by reaching the summit. Chris Ostrowski and Haboun Bair of the Taylor Institute made a wonderful conference trailer inspired by the theme.