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Grand Challenges for SoTL

SoTL’s Grand Challenges were determined following five years of global outreach, including three anonymous international surveys with thematic analyses, a Delphi process that provided feedback from twelve global SoTL experts on a group of eleven possible grand challenges, and a final round of anonymous global inputs on wording of the five final challenges. Many thanks to those who were on the team, served as experts, or otherwise helped support this grand endeavor!

About the Grand Challenges for SoTL

Grand challenges are complex, global problems that have no simple solution across all contexts and that require inputs from diverse areas of expertise to provide solutions for given contexts at specific points in time. They are worth investigating because, although specific to a local environment, solutions can be adapted for other contexts. In 2008, engineering led the identification of grand challenges for their field. Since then, a variety of other fields have also identified their grand challenges (e.g. assessmentsocial workpublic administration).  

Like grand challenges in these other realms, teaching and learning are inherently complex. Within this overarching complexity are even greater challenges that emerge from the diversity of learners and teachers, the influence of many dynamic contextual factors, and the gaps in the existing research that addresses these challenges. Evolving pedagogical tools and approaches offer possible opportunities to enhance teaching and life-long learning, but awareness, access, and implementation are not uniform across institutions and global settings. 

Members of ISSOTL) worked since 2018 with iterative input and feedback from people around the world to identify five Grand Challenges for SoTL, now being shared in 2023. Although these challenges are interdependent, they are described individually in this site to better support research efforts.  Additionally, while aspects of the challenges have been studied for years, the inherent complexity and ever-changing contexts for teaching and learning will require ongoing investigations of all kinds. 

To learn more about the Grand Challenges, the history, contributors and milestones, please visit the Grand Challenges for SoTL page on the ISSOTL website.

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