“Building new scholars’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) capacity in a community of practice: Our perspectives and voices on innovative practice”

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The Australian government is employing policy strategies to improve the teaching quality in higher education institutions. One aspect of this agenda, the Higher Education Standards Framework, calls for academics to ensure currency of their discipline and pedagogical knowledge through engagement in scholarship. While TEQSA views scholarship as including an array of scholarly activities, for academics the reality of engaging in scholarship is for career progression, and recognition, and directly linked to SoTL (Vardi & Quin, 2011; Register & King, 2018). For academics recruited from the professions; responding to this requirement presents challenges and creates anxiety. As these new scholars complete doctoral studies, or undertake discipline research, their minimal understanding of the different voice and investigative approach to SoTL impacts their confidence, identity and their SoTL engagement.
In a rural NSW University that employs a significant percentage of experienced mid- to late-career academics from high-profile industry positions, the need to build capacity in scholarship has become a significant professional learning priority (University X, 2020). This study’s sample comprised four academics (the researchers) in the Faculty of Arts and Education: a senior academic with expertise
in SoTL and three new scholars. The experienced scholar facilitated weekly online meetings using an innovative resource: HERDSA SoTL Modules.
Informed by autoethnography, the academics drew on their reflective journals, meeting recordings and module activity responses to describe their experiences of engaging with the SoTL initiative and identify the enabling characteristics of the professional learning opportunity. Data were analysed using document analysis (Bowen, 2009) and triangulated with Lave and Wenger’s (1991) three tenets of communities of practice (CoPs).
This presentation showcases the nature and efficacy of this facilitated online initiative as a relational and pedagogical space for building new scholars’ SoTL capacity, and evidences the importance of sustained, facilitated engagement in a safe, learning context informed by the concepts of a community of practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2022
EventHERDSA 2022 - Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 27 Jun 202230 Jun 2022
Conference number: 41
https://conference.herdsa.org.au/2023/program/ (Program and abstract books)


ConferenceHERDSA 2022
Abbreviated titleProfessional learning for changing academic practices
OtherThe HERDSA Executive and Victorian Branch are delighted to invite you to join us at HERDSA 2022, the annual conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), to be held in Melbourne Australia, 27-30 June 2022.

HERDSA 2022 will inspire: drawing together experience, analysis and insight in a rapidly changing environment. The disruption of the global pandemic has challenged our assumptions and prompted deep reflection and creative solutions. We are changing the way we work, learn and interact, but we are building from strength.
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