Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE)

CAFE Summer Institute

Summer Institute 2023: Discovering the Stories: Scholarship of Teaching & Learning in Your Discipline

SoTL, or the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, focuses on our classrooms as spaces worthy of serious, systematic, publishable study (Boyer, 1990). Like all scholarship, SoTL projects have clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation, and reflective critique.

CAFE Summer Institute 2023 invites faculty to create “micro-SoTL projects” that can be carried out within one semester and written up the next semester, with special emphasis on projects that contribute to increasing pass rates and improving equity outcomes and/or build on our previous work in anti-racist teaching & learning. We’ll work together from identifying a question to pursue to articulating a feasible project plan for a one-semester study. The goal is to write a protocol that can be submitted for IRB review in early July, in time to gather data beginning in Week 1 of Fall Semester!

Faculty of any discipline and at any career stage are welcomed and encouraged to participate. We have capacity for a maximum of 20 CPP faculty participants so that everyone can get individual feedback on their research plans.

Here are just a few examples of micro-SoTL projects. Don’t let this list stifle your imagination! There are other kinds of SoTL work such as fully experimental projects, but they are too big to be considered “micro-SoTL.” The key to micro-SoTL projects is focus and manageability.

  • Observational:
    • Use a decibel analysis algorithm to gather data on active learning -- track how much talking you are doing vs how much students are doing
    • Keep a detailed, regular teaching journal for yourself for one course and analyze it along with selected student learning data and/or student surveys
    • Survey students about a particular learning activity or tool and match their responses to your observations about their learning
    • Use attendance, assignment, and exam data to identify possible patterns for further investigation
  • Quasi-experimental:
    • Use a new teaching tool, strategy, or redesigned assignment and compare student learning to previous terms or to a different section with the original method
    • Compare student engagement and learning outcomes in two different course formats or between two sections with significant “environmental” factors (e.g. 8am vs 6pm class)
  • Review:
    • Critical literature review on a topic of interest for improving student learning


Summer Institute Results

  • We’ll write “researcher positionality” statements
  • We’ll demystify the IRB process and draft IRB protocols
  • We’ll investigate different data dashboards and identify various kinds of classroom data that can be used in SoTL
  • We’ll propose SoTL micro-studies, which involves:
    • Formulating a question and or proposing a hypothesis
    • Identifying data sources, both quantitative and qualitative
    • Planning steps to gather and analyze data
    • Thinking about where to publish or share results
  • Most of all, we’ll reflect on how our teaching impacts student learning and success.

Format and Schedule

This is a 5-week fully remote Institute with both synchronous sessions on Zoom and asynchronous work to do on your own. Synchronous Zoom sessions will take place on the following dates, 10am-12pm Pacific time: Tuesday May 30, Tuesday June 6, Tuesday June 13, Tuesday June 20, and Tuesday June 27. Summer Institute 2023 will end on June 30 with submission of a draft IRB protocol. Feedback on your draft will be provided by July 9, with emphasis on feasibility as a micro-SoTL project and ideas for passing IRB review.

If you wish to continue on to submitting your protocol to the IRB and carrying out data collection in Fall 2023, join the follow-on faculty learning community for 2023-2024. Ideally, we will have an opportunity to publicly share results in Spring 2024!

Register for CAFE's Summer Institute 2023