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Canadian, eh?

This blog post is intended as a regional update to let you know what’s happening in Canada. Even as I write that, I have to acknowledge that there are so many pockets of SoTL innovation across the country these days that anything I could write would be an incomplete overview; I will focus therefore on a national level initiative.

About a year ago we launched SoTL Canada – a special interest group of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. This SIG represents our interests in pulling together some of the regional innovations, in coming together to share good work and build on it. Growing from a grass roots meeting of interested members, and a list of what might be helpful supports to SoTL work, the SIG now comprises over 100 members and several working groups, including SoTL Institutes, SoTL Publication, SoTL Writing Retreat, SoTL Workshop/Pre-conference, Peer mentoring on SoTL, and Student engagement in SoTL (see what these groups are doing at

The SoTL workshop group will be offering a preconference workshop at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) conference this June in Kingston, Ontario. The student engagement group is thinking of ways to more strongly integrate students into SoTL work. They contributed strongly to an upcoming survey of the SIG membership. The SoTL publication group, as indicated on the website, has had a proposal for a special journal issue accepted on The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Canada: Institutional Impact:

This issue will provide examples of the ways post-secondary institutions in Canada develop and sustain Scholarship of Teaching and Learning programs that have had a positive impact on the institutional pedagogical climate. Proposed chapters will outline exemplary practices and include evidence of their impact. Chapters will include an overview, case studies from institutions across Canada, and a final chapter comprising a synthesis of the case studies, drawing parallels and exploring distinctions, and ultimately mapping recommendations for synthesized models. This has been accepted for publication in 2015 with New Directions in Teaching and Learning – Catherine Wehlburg, Series Editor (

Together, the working groups hope to contribute to sharing SoTL practices across institutional and provincial boundaries; while Canadian education is under the purview of the provincial rather than national government, SoTL colleagues across the country have much in common in terms of the challenges they face in the current postsecondary climate. They also have much to offer each other regarding possible solutions. In the best of SoTL traditions, we’re hoping the SIG will strengthen our opportunities to learn from each other.

We also look forward to extending that across international boundaries as we meet you in Quebec for this year’s ISSoTL conference. Hope to see you there!

Nicola Simmons

Regional VP, Canada