International Collaborative Writing Groups (ICWGs)

ISSOTL’s International Collaborative Writing Groups (ICWG) Initiative provides participants with an unforgettable experience that is international, collaborative, focused on a SoTL-relevant topic, and organized around the development and completion of a single project. There are two tracks within this initiative:

Groups focus on academic writing for the SoTL community to produce scholarly articles that are submitted to Teaching & Learning Inquiry.Groups focus on writing for audiences beyond the academy to produce public SoTL, or works of public scholarship informed by SoTL.

A Signature ISSOTL Initiative

ISSOTL’s ICWGs originated in October 2011, when ISSOTL members Mick Healey, Beth Marquis, and Sue Vajoczki proposed an ICWG initiative for the Society, a process to develop it, and a structure for enacting that process. ISSOTL embraced the initiative because it facilitates the “I” in ISSOTL, invites broad engagement across the membership, and advances the field of SoTL.  Since then, three iterations (2012-13, 2014-17, 2018-21) have successfully implemented that original vision and process, culminating in publication in special sections in ISSOTL’s journal, Teaching & Learning Inquiry. (See all of the articles on the ICWG-Academic web page.)

In 2019, ISSOTL’s Board of Directors was inspired by the Society’s Strategic Plan (specifically its vision “to diversify our publications and promote alternative ways of thinking about SoTL publication to reach new audiences”), the mission‘s encouragement of “the integration of discovery, learning, and public engagement,” and the ISSOTL19 conference theme of “SoTL Without Borders: Engaged Practices for Social Change” to call for a second track for the ICWG initiative focused on public scholarship. This track was in development when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The Basic Structure of an ICWG cohort. Click to enlarge. (The number of groups and of participants in each group is approximate.)

How ICWGs Work

Each cohort is led by two or three Co-Leaders who guide the overarching process from the selection of Group Facilitators and Participants to the final step of going public (publishing in Teaching & Learning Inquiry for ICWGs-Academic, sharing the works of public SoTL with relevant audiences for ICWGs-Public). Group Facilitators guide their groups to develop and complete their specific project. (See the image to the right, or click here for a PDF of image.)

Most of the work of the ICWGs occurs at a distance, but the entire cohort gathers for a two-day in-person workshop right before the ISSOTL conference.

Each cohort is formed through an open call for applications — for Co-Leaders, for Group Facilitators, and for Group Participants. All members of a cohort must be current members of ISSOTL.

Each of the ICWG tracks is supported by an ISSOTL standing committee that calls for, selects, and orients cohort Co-Leaders and serves as consultants to Co-Leaders as needed. Because the ICWG-Academic track develops traditional academic publications (and specifically articles for Teaching & Learning Inquiry), they are supported by the ISSOTL Publications Committee. The ICWG-Public track develops works of public SoTL that are a form of advocacy, so they are supported by the ISSOTL Advocacy Committee.

Frequency & Schedule

Starting in 2022, the ICWG Initiative will operate on a three-year cycle that staggers the tracks and leaves one year open for emergent ICWG opportunities such as collaborations across cohorts, meta-level scholarship on the ICWG Initiative, mentorship of new leaders and facilitators, program assessment, and others. See below:

ISSOTL23 ICWG-AcademicISSOTL26 ICWG-AcademicISSOTL29 ICWG-Academic
ISSOTL24 Emergent ICWG OpportunitiesISSOTL27 Emergent ICWG OpportunitiesISSOTL30 Emergent ICWG Opportunities