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Academic development through the networked approach: A case study of capacity building in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Wednesday 3 July: 5:30pm – 7:00pm, poster session



Associate Professor Siew Mei Wu
National University of Singapore, Singapore



The context of academic development at the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) is influenced by the recent emplacement of the university’s Educator Track (ET) scheme (2015). The ET guides the appointment and promotion of faculty staff who approach teaching as a scholarly practice and whose main role is to develop excellence in teaching as a means of supporting student learning.

The ET encourages SoTL as a pathway for professional development. At CELC, we adopt Fanghanel’s (2013) description of SoTL as encouraging faculty “ … to reflect on, and transform, teaching and learning practices …. focuses on teaching and learning strategies underpinning the curriculum, and promotes research-informed teaching. … SoTL is a research-led form of professional development, and has the potential to inform policy and practice at institutional level, for example, in career development and in the promotion and recognition of teaching excellence”. 


Research/evaluation method

This poster presents a case study into the academic development of staff at the Centre on its SoTL capacity building effort. Using the network approach (Torgny, Martensson and Alvertag, 2011) as a framework, the paper describes and evaluates the effectiveness of professional development strategies and initiatives adopted at the Centre. It discusses the challenges of effecting cultural change in norms, values and shared assumptions amongst faculty and its related communication pathways within significant networks established at the centre. More specifically, the notion of leveraging on leadership at the local level (Martensson and Roxa, 2016) is examined for its effectiveness in the light of the projects that the Centre embarked on to build SoTL capacity.



Preliminary investigation shows that significant networks established within the centre through the organic formation of special interest groups were effective communication platforms for shaping norms, values and shared assumptions. Significant networks established between Centre staff and faculty members beyond the Centre but within the institution through the Education chat series presented useful platforms for the shaping of aspects of the academic culture and subculture. The building of academic credibility amongst local level leaders presented a major challenge to effective leadership at the project collaboration portal.



Fanghanel, J. (2013). Going public with pedagogical inquiries: SoTL as a methodology for faculty professional development. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 1(1), 59-70.
Martensson, K. and Roxa, T. (2016). Leadership at a local level – Enhancing educational development. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 1–16.
Roxa, T., Martensson, K. and Alvertag, M. (2011).  Understanding and influencing teaching and learning cultures at university: A network approach. Higher Education, 62 (1), pp. 99 – 111.
Shulman, L. (2000). From Minsk to Pinsk: Why a scholarship of teaching and learning? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning1(1), 43-53.


Presentation topic

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