ISSOTL Fellows: Frequently Asked Questions

Dossier Due Date: March 6, 2020 4:30 pm Eastern Time (extended deadline)

Fellowship Roles & Responsibilities

Q. Who is eligible?

Any current ISSOTL Members, including students, educational developers, faculty, academic staff, administrative leaders, etc.

Q. Is this program more like a teaching fellowship or as a professional grade?

This is a fellowship rather than an award. The distinction is important: an award recognizes past work while a fellowship invites future collaborations. While the former is laudatory, the latter is generative and legacy-building.

Q. How do you define “fellow”?

In our usage, fellows are equal members of an organization with a shared vision, mission, and values. In this case, ISSOTL Fellows embody the highest ideals of teaching and learning and scholarship with a commitment to support established and emerging learners and scholars in the pursuit of knowledge creation and sharing.

Q. Are there fees associated with the application process?

There is no fee to apply.

Q. Does the ISSOTL Fellows Program provide a post-nominal designation?

We encourage ISSOTL Fellows to include the post-nominal title “ISSOTL Fellow” in professional signatures in email and letter forms. As one of the benefits of membership, we will provide new fellows with a certificate for their portfolio and email signature logo to designate membership in the ISSOTL fellowship.

Q. If you become an ISSOTL Fellow, what benefits do you receive?

You will be a lifetime member of the ISSOTL Fellowship.

Q. What responsibilities do ISSOTL Fellows have?

Fellows are recognized for their impact on the field of SoTL at the local, regional, national, or international levels, but they also demonstrate commitment to mentoring emerging and junior scholars, have the capacity to support developing and emerging regions, and express a willingness to engage in generative spaces in their new role as ISSOTL Fellows. Expectations for fellows include collaborating within and across cohorts in service, leadership, mentorship, and scholarship in the advancement of SoTL in its many forms.  Commitment to mentorship might include attending the “new to ISSOTL” panel, mentoring a graduate student at the conference, working with others regionally or in disciplinary areas to enhance SoTL, etc. Commitment to engagement with emerging scholars might include:

  • Identifying and amplifying emerging scholars (e.g. scholars new to SoTL, students as partners and collaborators, junior faculty, academic staff or educational developers),
  • Co-presenting or co-publishing, helping with research design or methodology, helping to edit or comment on projects at various stages, etc.

  • Service might include sitting on a panel/round table at ISSOTL with other ISSOTL Fellows, serving on the ISSOTL Fellows Review Committee, sitting on the ISSOTL Board, participating in writing groups with other ISSOTL Fellows, work with other ISSOTL Fellows to build communities of practice or transdisciplinary research groups, etc.

  • Engagement can take many forms, but at the heart of the fellowship is a sense of reciprocity, generativity, and capacity building.

Dossier Components

Q. Is the dossier designed to be celebratory or reflective?

We encourage applicants to reflect critically and carefully about their engagement and impact in the field of SoTL, and to share their journey as practitioners of SoTL. The dossier should not merely list things the applicant has accomplished as a curriculum vitae; instead, critical reflection might take various forms – descriptive, analytical, integrative – and is designed to add depth and breadth to your experience as a learner, leader and scholar in SoTL. Applicants are encouraged to identify future projects/initiatives as part of their leadership in SoTL.

Q. Why is there a 25 page limit rather than a word count?

In our efforts to be inclusive, the page count provides more flexibility for demonstrating impact than a word limit, which focuses on the written word as the primary vehicle for expression. Depending on your disciplinary field, institutional role, cultural context, and positionality, you are encouraged to express your engagement with SoTL in various forms within these 25 pages by including images, pictures, diagrams, drawings, charts, screen captures of websites or blogs, cartoons, excerpts of testimonials or snippets of student work (with permission), etc. However, hyperlinks and external pages will not be considered in order to respect the time constraints of our dedicated volunteer adjudicators and reviewers. Therefore, applications that exceed the 25 page limit will not be assessed.

Q. Why do dossiers have to be submitted in English?

English is the working language of ISSOTL. Due to the diversity of adjudicators and reviewers and for logistical purposes, we use one common language. However, if your preferred language is not English, you are encouraged to include that information in your contextual statement.

Q. What is the purpose of the contextual SoTL statement?

As an international society, we are committed to ensuring that cultural differences are recognized and valued. The level of SoTL engagement and impact might be shaped in part by the geographical region, institutional culture, disciplinary field, or individual intersectionality of the applicant. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to include a contextual statement that provides adjudicators with any pertinent information about the context within which applicants are working and learning and leading. Adjudicators will take into account the contextual statement and make efforts to create equitable spaces for assessment.  

Attribution: “Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.”;

Assessment & Review

Q. How are the dossiers assessed?

Criteria are designed to ensure adjudicators assess the impact of the applicant’s work in the field of SoTL — sustained engagement, leadership, and impact — rather than the quality of presentation of the dossier.  

Q. Who reviews the dossiers?

We have built in quality assurance mechanisms into the assessment process: three adjudicators will read each dossier and provide qualitative and quantitative feedback using the assessment rubric. One reviewer will review the three submitted assessment rubrics for each dossier in order to identify themes, commonalities, and any anomalies. The reviewer will provide an additional assessment if necessary. The reviewers will rank the dossiers and meet together to finalize the 10 fellows and present their recommendations to the Board. In the event of a lack of consensus, the board will have the final decision.

Q. How are adjudicators and reviewers chosen?

An open call for adjudicators drawn from across the ISSOTL membership is disseminated in December. Adjudicators will be chosen from the pool of volunteers with all efforts to ensure regional representation, as well as a diversity of roles (e.g. students, faculty, academic staff, educational developers, instructional designers, administrative leaders, etc.), institutional cultures (e.g undergraduate, research-intensive, comprehensive, colleges, polytechnics, etc), seniority levels (senior scholars, emerging and junior scholars, etc), and positionality/intersectionality. Reviewers are selected with attention to regional representation, experience in SIGs and other organizational initiatives, knowledge of various (and diverse) fellowship programs nationally and regionally, and for their commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and equity in the field of SoTL.

Q. What training is provided for adjudicators and reviewers?

A training manual for adjudicators and reviewers has been designed, with rubrics, the FAQs, and other visioning documents. Adjudicators will also participate in a webinar to align assessment practices. All documentation for adjudicators and reviewers will be publically available.

Q. What are the confidentiality and privacy safe measures?

We do not ask that dossiers are anonymized. However, adjudicators sign a confidentiality agreement, and the dossiers will not be published or disseminated — excerpted or in its entirety — without the express permission of the authors. The dossiers will be hosted in a central repository with restricted password access limited to the adjudicators and reviewers.

Q. What is the conflict of interest policy for adjudicators/reviewers?

There is a conflict of interest policy for both applicants and adjudicators/reviewers.

Q. What is the conflict of interest policy for applicants?

If applicants are using student letters of reference or testimonials, these students must have graduated from any program within which the applicant is currently working. Students who write letters for applicants cannot be under the direct supervision of the applicant and cannot be currently enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate program or currently employed by the applicant as a research assistant, teaching assistant, grader.

Q. What are the evaluation criteria?

Please see “Preparing a Dossier for Submission” Document


Q. Why is the annual fellows cohort limited to 10 fellows?

The cohort of 10 fellows per year is informed by scholarship on learning communities, where the ideal size is 8 – 10 people. The annual cohorts form SoTL Learning Communities that encourages Fellows to work together on various initiatives, writing projects, or mentorship activities to foster transformative and deep learning for all. This model is drawn from the Lily Institute’s Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs), whose research “confirms that FLCs provide the most effective way to implement and sustain teaching and learning innovations for faculty and staff.”

Q. What role do the Co-Coordinators play in the ISSOTL Fellows program?

The ISSOTL Fellows Coordinator or Co-Coordinators are elected members of the ISSOTL Board. They are appointed by the ISSOTL Board for a two-year term (renewable once). The ISSOTL Fellows Coordinator or Co-Coordinators are responsible for leading the design and on-going community consultation processes, liaising between the ISSOTL Board and the ISSOTL Fellows Program with regular reporting, selecting and training the reviewers and adjudicators, communicating with ISSOTL members, chairing the Review Committee and the ISSOTL Fellows Advisory Committee, and leading an annual review and revision process of the ISSOTL Fellows Program.

Q. Why is the fellowship limited to current ISSOTL members? Why isn’t it open to all active SoTL researchers?

ISSOTL is a growing organization that is international in scope and aspiration. The ISSOTL Fellows program is designed to recognize and amplify the work of ISSOTL members, as well as design intentional networks for mentorship and capacity-building within our membership and beyond.

Q. Why is there only one level of the fellowship?  

The ISSOTL Fellows program is in the early stages of implementation. We will listen carefully to ISSOTL members and undertake an annual review and revision process of the ISSOTL Fellows Program. If there is a demonstrated need/wish, the ISSOTL Program can expand and adapt to changing needs. Longer term strategies and visioning include exploring other designations, like a Newcomer Fellows Program.

Q. What if you are awarded the ISSOTL Fellowship but cannot attend the awards ceremony?

New ISSOTL Fellows are recognized in a ceremony at the annual conference the year they have been invited to join the Fellowship. They will also be invited to participate in a panel or other form of community engagement. ISSOTL Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend the ISSOTL conference the year they join the Fellowship. If there are extreme and extenuating circumstances whereby the newly minted Fellow cannot attend the conference, accommodations will be made (e.g. using videoconferencing software, etc).


Q. How much feedback is provided for ISSOTL submissions (both successful and unsuccessful)?

Each dossier will receive 1-2 paragraphs from each of the three adjudicators, as well as an explanatory statement from the reviewer. Additional feedback can be requested.

Q. Is there a mentorship network in place to help people consider applying?

Applicants are encouraged to use their networks of support both within the ISSOTL membership within their various communities. Once the Fellowship has been established, ISSOTL Fellows can provide mentorship and support. Applicants are also encouraged to reach out to the VPs in their region, if applicable.

Q. What happens if you aren’t successful in your application?

If applicants are not successful in a given year, we encourage you to use the feedback provided and resubmit the following year.

Approved by ISSOTL Board December 12, 2018

Last Updated December 16, 2018