GRCC Co-sponsors 4th Annual Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Academy - GVSU, Ferris, GRCC to host forum for collaborative engagement in teaching

The 4th annual Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) Academy will take place at the Eberhard Conference Center on Grand Valley State University’s campus, May 20-22.

“This conference’s purpose is to act as a platform for addressing issues and trends in the practice and scholarship of teaching and learning. The primary purpose is to use the information to improve the overall experience for our students,” said Ric Underhile, conference co-organizer and Associate Dean at Grand Rapids Community College. “First a teaching or learning issue is posed, and then we look for ways to enhance teaching and learning in those situations.”

The SoTL conference is a collaboration among Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University and GRCC meant to provide a forum for presenting new SoTL work; for sharing reflections on SoTL and its role within the academy; and networking with others engaged in this discipline. 

The event coordinators hope the collaboration has a lasting effect on those who attend.

“We chose the theme Collaborative Engagement for this year’s event. We are hoping that the collaborations among faculty, students and institutions extend beyond the few days of the conference and have a lasting impact on our community,” said GVSU’s conference coordinator and Director of Faculty Teaching & Learning Center Christine Rener.

Presentations will be given by academics from across the Midwest and Canada. The conference also will host three keynote speakers, Dr. Carmen Werder, who directs the Teaching-Learning Academy and Writing Instruction Support program at Western Washington University, and Dr. Dan Butin, founding dean and associate professor at Merrimack College, will be two of the keynote speakers at the conference. Ms. Blair Kaufer, a student from Western Washington University will be a featured presenter.

Werder is known for her work heading up the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning initiative on working with students as co-inquirers. She also co-edited the book Engaging Student Voices in the Study of Teaching and Learning. Butin is author and editor of more than sixty academic publications.

“Although hearing from teaching experts is a big part of the conference, it is equally important to listen to student voices,” said Underhile.

Blair Kaufer, a third-year undergraduate at Western Washington University in Bellingham, will assist Werder with her keynote address. She first became involved in SoTL with WWU’s Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) in her first year of college as part of an education class on Exploring the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Kaufer recently participated in cultural study on the value and meaning of community in Thailand and India.

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Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.