There is a new centre in EECS for supporting staff in their Scholarship activities!
The initiative started in January 2022 when Marie-Luce launched a survey of all Teaching and Scholarship (T&S) staff about what the Scholarship part of their role is and whether they understood that aspect of the role. Although Scholarship is a contractual requirement for T&S Staff, they often felt unsupported in this aspect of their role.
A discussion group was then set up to provide a space for staff on T&S contracts to get together and discuss, share, get informed, and engage in “Scholarship”.
So what is Scholarship? Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (or SOTL) has been defined as: “the evidence-based study of teaching and learning, which is focused on student learning, grounded in context, methodologically sound, conducted in partnership with students, and publicly disseminated”. Engaging in Scholarship requires from staff to transition from discipline-based research to SOTL, a difficult transition if not adequately supported
Staff on T&S contracts, predominantly women, often find it hard to progress their careers, as the Scholarship aspect has often been poorly recognised and promoted and is not well understood. The higher teaching load often leaves them little time for engaging in Scholarship, which impinges on their career prospects.
In the last 6 months, a mailing list (email@example.com) has been created and regular discussion meetings have been held about what is meant by scholarship and for sharing what staff have been doing or would like to collaborate on in the future. For example, talks on compassionate pedagogy, learning analytics and techniques for teaching such as creating hybrid online/in person lab sessions have been held. Early July, an away day for sharing experience and encouraging engagement in Scholarship took place.
The group is becoming an official centre within EECS with approval of senior management. Staff on T&S contracts will be automatically enrolled on the mailing list but other people interested can contact Marie-Luce (firstname.lastname@example.org). A website is being created to give visibility to the centre. The new centre should really increase the promotion prospects and clarity about the nature of scholarship and be a genuine boon for anyone on a T&S contract.
The mission statement for the Centre (resulting from many discussions and brainstorming over the last 6 months) is to: create a space for discussion of Scholarship; provide peer support and mentoring; increase the visibility and recognition of T&S staff; create opportunities for collaborations; impact quality of education in EECS and at QMUL; align Scholarship activities with EECS and QMUL education strategies.
The Scholarship Centre will “give a home” to T&S staff and support their career development. It will improve the visibility and impact of their Scholarship within EECS, at QM, and beyond.