History of the 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. The infographic below illustrates key steps in the timeline, followed by a more detailed summary of the events and who was involved. Many thanks to those who were on the team, served as experts, or otherwise helped support this grand endeavor!
The Grand Challenges Milestones Teams
Many thanks to all contributors for their time and valuable contributions to this project, including all those around the globe who anonymously responded to the surveys or provided inputs during the conference sessions!!
SoTL’s Grand Challenges Outreach began in Bergen, Norway at the 2018 annual conference for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). Lauren Scharff (USA), John Draeger (USA), Arshad Ahmad (Pakistan), and Jennifer Friberg (USA) presented a poster and collected anonymous post-it-note inputs from session attendees. These inputs were thematically coded by Lauren Scharff and Drew Scott (USA) in early 2019.
The second major step during mid-2019 was the creation and implementation of an online survey (English only) that requested respondees to share up to five suggestions for grand challenges for SoTL. Survey creation and ethics review approval was overseen by John Draeger and Lauren Scharff, and members of the ISSOTL Committee sent survey links to several international listservs (e.g. POD, ISSOTL, STP) and informally shared with colleagues. Respondees were primarily from the United States of America (59%), Canada (13%), Europe (13%), Australia (9%), and Asia (5%). South America, the Middle East, and Africa each had 1% or fewer respondents. These inputs were thematically coded with interrater reliability checks by Lauren Scharff and Regan Keener (USA) in early 2019.
Results summarizing responses from the Bergen poster and the online survey were shared as part of a panel for the ISSOTL Advocacy & Outreach Committee at the 2019 ISSOTL conference in Atlanta, USA. As part of the panel, audience feedback was gathered as part of an open discussion. Panelists were Lauren Scharff, John Draeger, Arshad Ahmad, Jen Friberg, Claire Hamshire (UK), Trent Maurer (USA), and Diana Gregory (USA).
A final survey was disseminated in 2020 in order to increase the number and global representation of the responses. This survey was disseminated in English, Chinese, and Spanish. In addition to the individuals listed below as translators and thematic coders, the following individuals helped disseminate the survey: Mills Kelly (USA), Kelly Mathews (Australia), Nicola Simmons (USA), Mick Healey (UK). Survey creation and ethics review approval was again overseen by John Draeger and Lauren Scharff; Kara Loy (CAN) provided the Spanish translations of the survey questions and responses, and Qi Gao (China) provided the Chinese translations of the survey questions and responses. Respondees were from Asia (44%), the United States of America (22%), Europe (13%), Canada (12%), and Australia (6%). South America, the Middle East, and Africa each had 1% or fewer respondents, and 1% didn’t specify. Several members of the ISSOTL Advocacy Committee provided thematic coding with interrater reliability checks: Holly Capocchiano (Australia), Michelle Eady (Australia), Diana Gregory (USA), Claire Hamshire, Jennifer Friberg, Kara Loy, and Lauren Scharff.
During 2020, Lauren Scharff and Claire Hamshire wrote a book chapter, “Determining SoTL’s Grand Challenges: Advocating for the Broader Endeavor of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,” that overviewed the need and summarized the Grand Challenges for SoTL project up to that point. It was published in Going Public Reconsidered: Engaging with the World Beyond Academe Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning with Nancy L. Chick and Jennifer Friberg as the editors in 2022.
Results from all three data collections were shared in a workshop presentation at the 2022 ISSOTL conference in Kelowna, Canada. These results included 11 themes that were strongly apparent in the responses. As part of the workshop, participants discussed and shared ideas for how ISSOTL and SoTL practitioners might use the Grand Challenges and how they might be used for public outreach. These inputs have informed our current suggestions for SoTL’s Grand Challenges in Action. Workshop presenters were Lauren Scharff, Holly Capocchiano, Michelle Eady, Jen Friberg, Diana Gregory, Claire Hamshire, Kara Loy, and Trent Maurer.
In the latter part of 2022 and early part of 2023, a final outreach step was initiated to bring expert SoTL perspectives to the finalization of SoTL’s Grand Challenges. Twelve global SoTL experts agreed to participate in two rounds of a Delphi process. They were each given an overview of the project and the list of 11 themes shared at ISSOTL 2022. They were asked rate each possible them with respect to how strongly they believed it should be a Grand Challenge for SoTL and provide a rationale. These were shared anonymously with the other experts, and in round two, they were asked to review the inputs from the other experts and then again rate the possible grand challenges and provide rationales. Many thanks to the following experts for their participation in this step: Kasturi Behari-Leak (South Africa), Nancy Chick (USA), Mick Healey (UK), Pat Hutchings (USA), Qi Gao (China), Zhao Juming (China), Katarina Martensson (Sweden), Kelly Matthews (Australia), Jessica Riddell (Canada), John Willison (Australia), Hugo Burgos Yanez (Ecuador), and Michelle Yeo (Canada).
While the Delphi process resulted in some clearly agreed-upon perspectives regarding the possible Grand Challenges for SoTL, there were also some areas where there were clear differences of opinion. The following individuals provided inputs, met several times to discuss, collected an additional feedback from anonymous global SoTL practitioners, and ultimately finalized the five Grand Challenges for SoTL: Lauren Scharff, Holly Capocchiano, Nancy Chick, John Draeger, Michelle Eady, Jen Friberg, Diana Gregory, Claire Hamshire, Kara Loy, and Trent Maurer. This group then drafted the ISSOTL webpage content, with Lauren Scharff and Nancy Chick serving as the final editors.
The final Grand Challenges for SoTL were officially published on the ISSOTL website and shared at ISSOTL 2023 in Utrecht, Netherlands. As a first step in engaging SoTL practitioners with the SoTL’s Grand Challenges, participants at the conference workshop shared ideas for additional SoTL practitioners might study the Grand Challenges and identified projects with possible collaborators they would like to work on. Workshop leaders were Lauren Scharff, Nancy Chick, Michelle Eady, Jen Friberg, and Diana Gregory.
Scharff, Lauren, Holly Capocchiano, Nancy Chick, Michelle Eady, Jen Friberg, Diana Gregory, Kara Loy, and Trent Maurer. “History of the Grand Challenges for SoTL.” International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, November 2023. https://issotl.com/grand-challenges-for-sotl/gc-history/