Here at George Mason University we are in the process of splitting our College of Arts and Sciences in two, thereby creating a College of Mathematics and Science and a College of Liberal Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CLAHS). The reasons for this are long and not so interesting. What is interesting is that for each of these colleges the faculty have been charged with developing a new set of academic goals for their college. I sit on the CLAHS academic goals committee.
At a moment like this when all bets are off and everything is on the table, I’m hoping it is the moment to get my colleagues to take seriously the idea that the scholarship of teaching and learning has a place at the core of the new college’s mission.
As the meetings of our committee unfold, it will be interesting to see how they respond to the idea that this domain of scholarship should be valued alongside the scholarship of discovery and the scholarship of integration. No one, I think, will disagree with the fact that our colleagues take their teaching responsibilities very seriously–most of the departments in the new college are known for excellent teaching and the rest must be considered very good. So, if we take teaching seriously, why not take the scholarship of teaching seriously?
Several units within the new college already are deeply immersed in SoTL work. Our Higher Education program places the SoTL at the center of their graduate course sequences and the entire approach of New Century College (a college within the college) is grounded in the SoTL. Many of the projects of the Center for History and New Media also grow from the results of SoTL research.
The direction this discussion takes will say a lot about the future of the scholarship of teaching and learning here. Stay tuned…