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Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Narrative Reflection Project

Internal Funding to Support Scholarship of Teaching & Learning at UT

Teaching and Learning Innovation and the Division of Faculty Affairs are initiating a new program supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The practice of reflection lies at the heart of SoTL work and is doubly important as we look ahead to returning to in-person instruction. Others have already begun to observe the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic (Rapanta et al., 2020) and practices begun during that time that may be worth keeping (Cowell, 2021), but ultimately, adapting and reconsidering how we teach and how our students learn will be a task for everyone, individually and collectively. 

To help advance that process, we are offering supplemental support for faculty members who want to engage in a sustained reflection on what they have experienced over the last year, and on the road ahead.   

  • Purpose: Supporting and advancing scholarship on teaching 
  • Eligibility: All full-time UT faculty and staff members who teach for UT, and who are eligible for supplemental income during the award period, are eligible to apply. 
  • Amount: $1,500 per individual participant
  • Application Deadline: Monday, April 26, 2021 by 11:59 PM
  • Project Completion Deadline: Wednesday, June 30, 2021 by 11:59 PM

The Project

Reflection is the cornerstone of SoTL work, and represents not merely a starting point or step in a process, but rather an ongoing practice. Many SoTL projects actively produce and analyze self-reflective documents, in autoethnographic or action-research, and articles on scholarly teaching also have to present accounts of teaching practices and processes. The present project asks participants to engage not only in a mental and practical consideration of teaching, but also to commit that reflection to the page. 

Narrative, as a mode of reflection, turns attention to temporality, the dynamics of people and events in time, allowing us to reflect on when things happened (tense), how long they took to unfold, and also how they coincided (aspect). Narrative also turns attention to subjectivity, to the unique experience of people within a sociocultural environment. Together, these elements of temporality and subjectivity afford access to ideas about the connections between people and events, causality and agency. 

The present process invites participants to compose a narrative reflection, an account of salient experiences over the course of the past year, and possibly into an imagined future. This reflection should involve a critical reconsideration of how participants’ experiences fit together, to establish a foundation for further scholarly work. That further, future work, to be supported by additional workshops and opportunities in the year ahead, might take one of several possible forms, to be discussed later: 

  • Collaborative qualitative analysis of the narrative works by their creators 
  • Further theoretical work applying new frameworks to the salient narrative elements 
  • Preparation for further scholarship on teaching practices in the classroom 
  • Sustained programs of collaborative, possibly interdisciplinary research 
  • New efforts toward innovation in teaching at the departmental or college level 

The writing process itself will be at the discretion of the participants—upon acceptance, no additional meetings are required prior to turning in the completed manuscript—but for those who prefer more dialogue, TLI and Provost’s Office staff will be available to facilitate brainstorming or “accountability” check-ins. Similarly, TLI and the UT Libraries will be available to help participants find ways to take the next steps forward with these projects, upon completion. The final narrative reflection should be: 

  • Length: At least 2,000 words (no upper limit) 
  • Focus: A critical consideration of specific experiences related to teaching and learning (other elements of course merit consideration, but the central focus should relate to teaching and learning—see additional prompts in the application below) 
  • Deadline: Completed and emailed to Dr. Chris Kilgore, TLI Special Programs Coordinator, at ckilgor4@utk.edu, by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 
  • Next Steps: TLI will retain an archive of the manuscripts for use as examples in future programming, and TLI and the UT Libraries will work with participants to help disseminate their work, and/or use it as a foundation for future research.

If you have any questions about the project’s intent or the process, contact Special Programs Coordinator Chris Kilgore (ckilgor4@utk.edu). 


Application Process

Eligibility

All full-time UT faculty members who teach for UT, and are eligible for supplemental income during the award period, are eligible to apply. 

Timeline

Applications for will be accepted through Monday, April 26, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Accepted participants will be notified by Monday, May 3, 2021 at 5:00 PM. 

Application Requirements 

To apply for the Narrative Reflection Project, please complete the form below, and upload the required documents. With regard to the brief summaries, please keep in mind that we will be working to balance the group of writers, to create an even mix of academic areas (applied sciences, sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities), teaching contexts (small vs. large classrooms, undergraduate vs. graduate education), and teaching methods under discussion (e.g. experiential learning, enhanced lecture methods, digital technologies, etc.). 

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