Close this search box.

To learn more about submitting a post for the ISSOTL blog, visit the ISSOTL Blog submission page.

2015 Election – Candidate Statements

Three candidates are standing for election in 2015. Their candidate statements are posted below, and current members will receive an email link to the election ballot.


Peter Felten, Candidate for President-Elect

Peter Felten
Professor of History
Executive Director, Center for Engaged Learning
Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning
Elon University, North Carolina, United States

Candidate Statement:

From its founding, ISSOTL has had a clear and compelling mission. The central challenge facing the Society today is how to enact that mission with an all-volunteer organization and in a rapidly changing higher education environment.

If I am elected, I intend to work with the Board and the Society’s members to focus on four priorities:

  1. Supporting excellent scholarly work on teaching and learning, and the individuals and communities who do that work. ISSOTL already does this through the annual conference, the journal Teaching and Learning Inquiry, special interest groups, and other activities. As president I would encourage the Society to critically explore ways to make these as effective and affordable as possible for members, and to consider new initiatives that serve our members and that bring additional people into the organization.
  2. Advocating both for SoTL and for teaching and learning in higher education. ISSOTL and its members have the potential to make meaningful contributions to practices and policies at our own institutions and more broadly. Indeed, some members already are national and international leaders in this work. Developing both individual members’ and the organization’s capacity as advocates should be a central strand of ISSOTL’s activities.
  3. Cultivating a diverse membership. One of the Society’s strengths (and challenges) is the variety of its members, who come from many countries and who hold such varied roles as academic staff/faculty, students, educational developers, and administrators. ISSOTL must continue to meet the needs of its diverse members, and we should work diligently to reach out to others who can bring valuable expertise and perspectives into the Society.
  4. Developing the structures, processes, and resources needed for the Society to carry out its mission into the future. Since ISSOTL as an organization relies on volunteer leadership and has limited financial resources, the Board must take great care to ensure that the Society operates in ways that are sustainable, ethical, inclusive, and transparent.

I believe that my deep and varied experience with the Society has prepared me to serve as president-elect. I attended my first ISSOTL conference a decade ago, and have participated in all but two since then. In 2008, I became part of the Membership and Communication Committee. In 2011, Keith Trigwell and I co-presented a plenary at the Milwaukee conference. In 2012, I facilitated one of the international collaborative writing groups, and the following year, I co-hosted the conference in Raleigh. I also am on the editorial board of Teaching and Learning Inquiry, and in 2014, I joined the Board as a Vice President from the U.S.

I have leadership experience in other professional organizations, including serving as 2009-2010 President of the POD Network, a U.S-based society for academic developers that, like ISSOTL, is led by an all-volunteer board. Additionally, I am one of four co-editors of the International Journal for Academic Development, the scholarly journal of the International Consortium for Educational Development. And I have held positions on a number of editorial boards, including College Teaching and the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

My own SoTL scholarship has evolved throughout my career. As a historian, I first became a scholarly teacher with the support of grants focused on using emerging technologies and visual sources to teach introductory history courses. Those projects not only radically changed my teaching practices and (I believe) enhanced my students’ learning, but also brought me into SoTL. I have a number of discipline-based SoTL publications, including a co-authored article in the Journal of American History. As I have taken on roles in academic development, I also have explored transdisciplinary questions about “Principles of Good Practice in SoTL” (the title of my 2013 article in Teaching and Learning Inquiry, 1.1) and student-faculty partnerships in this work (the topic of a co-authored article in TLI, 1.2, and of one of my books). My SoTL projects now routinely involve students as co-researchers and co-authors.

Indeed, nearly all of my professional activity has been collaborative, reflecting my belief in the power of partnerships. As president-elect, I would continue ISSOTL’s collegial practice of drawing on the many talents of its members to achieve the goals we share for the Society, for the scholarship of teaching and learning, and for higher education.


Candidates for United States Regional Vice President


Sarah Bunnell, Candidate for United States Regional Vice President

Sarah Bunnell
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Pedagogy Scholar
Ohio Wesleyan University, Ohio, United States

Candidate statement:

I am standing for election for the position of United States Regional Vice President on the ISSoTL Board. In my position at Ohio Wesleyan, I serve as a Teagle Pedagogical Scholar for the Great Lakes Colleges Association; in this role, I support faculty in the design, implementation, and evaluation of teaching and learning inquiries while also increasing the profile of teaching and learning on our campus. I am also partnering with Pedagogy Scholars from the other schools in the GLCA to establish a digital teaching center that will serve the entire GLCA consortia. My current contributions to ISSoTL include serving on the Budget and Finance Committee and the 2016 Conference Planning Committee; I am excited to expand my contributions to the organization going forward.  In particular, I hope to contribute ideas and my energies towards a number of priorities, including 1) Increasing organizational membership, particularly by individuals earlier in their faculty careers. To this end, I collaborated with Sherry Linkon and Susannah McGowan to offer the very well-attended and received “Welcome to ISSoTL” orientation workshop to kick off the Quebec City conference last year; 2) Increasing the profile and value of SoTL work on our individual campuses; and 3) Facilitating opportunities for across-campus collaborations, inquiry projects, and mentoring to further “widen the tent” of ISSoTL.

My own pedagogical research has a number of threads, including how best to support the development of metacognitive reasoning, how to help students view their peers as important contributors to their own learning, and how best to help faculty in their own pedagogical pursuits. I have written about this work in several venues, including Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, The Journal of Faculty Development, and the Improving with Metacognition Blog (, I have presented my individual research, as well as collaborations with colleagues at the University of Kansas and the University of Indiana, at each of the last eight ISSoTL meetings, and I look forward to many more. Thank you for your consideration.


La Vonne Cornell-Swanson​, Candidate for United States Regional Vice President

Candidate: La Vonne Cornell-Swanson
Education Developer
Director of the Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID)
University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin, United States

Candidate statement:

Rationale for Candidacy:

I began my career in higher education as an academic instructor and went on to pursue my PhD. During graduate school I began researching student learning through the lens of a Cultural and Linguistic Anthropologist. I spent two years conducting a ethnographic research study in a bilingual bicultural boarding school for deaf and hard of hearing children exploring the transmission of culture in an American Sign Language (ASL) immersion classroom environment. That experience introduced me to the value of assessing the cultural context of student learning.  When I completed my dissertation and secured a tenure track faculty positon, I participated in the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program and was introduced to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). With a group of other Wisconsin Scholars I presented at the inaugural ISSoTL conference in 2004. These experiences coupled with my dissertation experience were transformational because of how the results of assessing student learning advanced my knowledge about teaching and cultural practice in education. The continued growth of knowledge, experiences, and relationships that I have developed since then have been positively influenced by my membership in ISSoTL. Serving on the ISSoTL Board of Directors representing the United States region is an opportunity for me to contribute back.

Evidence of individual scholarly work on teaching and learning:

In addition to disciplinary research, I began my SoTL research focused on the impact of teaching diversity topics such as racism and white privilege on student learning environments. I continued with work preparing students for ethnographic research and practice in cultural environments other than their own. My research interests have expanded to include signature pedagogies and the scholarship of leading. I have a robust resume of SoTL white papers, workshops, and presentations. I serve as a reviewer for Transformative Dialogue: Teaching and Learning Journal, disciplinary journals and books.

Recent SoTL publications include:

  • Chick, Nancy L.; Cornell-Swanson, La Vonne; Lazarides, Katina; and Meyers, Renee (2014) “Reconciling Apples & Oranges: A Constructivist SoTL Writing Program,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 8: No. 2, Article 13.
  • Cornell-Swanson, L. (2012). Toward a complete signature pedagogy in Social Work education. In
  • N. Chick, R. Gurung & A. Haynie, (Eds). Exploring more signature pedagogies. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Past experience in organizational leadership and related professional organizations in Higher Education:

Organizing and connecting people and serving them is central to what I enjoy about my current role within the University of Wisconsin System as the Director of the University of Wisconsin System’s statewide Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID). This role involves coordinating a statewide educational development planning council and providing executive oversight for the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program through partnership with program co-directors Dr. David Voelker and Dr. Cyndi Kernahan. Through my experience as an active participant in ISSoTL since 2004 I have developed relationships across the United States and internationally with partners and colleagues that I believe hold respect and recognition for my commitment. I consider the organizational work of ISSoTL fundamental in fostering, supporting, and disseminating SoTL knowledge and experience. My current goals and commitments for ISSoTL have recently focused on the development and sustainability of the Special Interest Group on the Scholarship of Leading. I am one of the initiators and co- leaders of that interest group. Our goals for this group are to engage the network of members in a SoTL research agenda on the leadership involved in embedding SoTL in higher education. Between my work in Wisconsin, my membership in ISSoTL, and memberships in the national Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) and the national Professional Organizational Development (POD) Network I have developed strong organizational leadership skills and networks. In my current role I continue to grow my team building skills through mindful engagement and effective communication.

Response to the question: what would you see as your priorities within the society over the next three years?

I intend to continue my commitment to the Scholarship of Leading interest group. If elected, I would encourage both growing our membership and strengthening our relationships and research agendas with our international colleagues. I believe exploring how we can sustain a robust organization and conference is going to be critical work given the financial difficulties affecting higher education. Finally, I think that work on the leadership of embedding SoTL culture at an institutional level is an ongoing goal. 

La Vonne Cornell-Swanson is the Director of the Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID) for the University of Wisconsin System.  Dr. Cornell-Swanson has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma, a PhD in Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Dr. Cornell-Swanson has been actively engaged in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) since 2004, with a research emphasis on creating safe classroom environments, addressing sensitive topic areas such as racism and white privilege, preparing students for ethnographic research and practice and the scholarship of leading.  Within her discipline Dr. Cornell-Swanson presents frequently on creating classroom and community dialogues on diversity, cross cultural practice, and ethics and boundaries in social work practice.  Prior to assuming her director position  Dr. Cornell-Swanson was an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she taught Ethnic Sensitive Social Work Practice, Advanced Social Work Practice with Families and Groups and Women’s Studies.  During her tenure at UW-Eau Claire Dr. Cornell-Swanson served as the Social Work Faculty Clinical Supervisor for UW- Eau Claire’s Human Development Center.  In 2002 Dr. Cornell-Swanson was the recipient of the I. DeQuincey Newman Social and Economic Justice Scholarship Award granted by the I. DeQuincey Institute for Peace and Social Change. In 2004/2005 she was selected as one of the UW System – Wisconsin Teaching Scholars and in 2005/2006 as one of UW- Eau Claire’s Diversity Scholars.  Dr. La Vonne Cornell-Swanson is the recipient of UW- Eau Claire’s 2007 Ron Satz Teacher/Scholar Award, and the UW- Eau Claire Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Distinguished Service Award. 

Leave A Reply