The International Institute for SoTL Scholars and Mentors is a collaborative faculty development initiative, developed over the past decade.* The institutions currently partnering in this ongoing initiative to develop and mentor scholars of teaching and learning include: Canisius College, Columbia College Chicago, Creighton University, Loyola Marymount University, Truman State University, and University of Houston-Clear Lake.
In 2003, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching introduced a new program to encourage and develop research on teaching and learning. The new program, known as the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), called for the formation of “cluster” groups of colleges and universities to promote the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at their institutions, within university systems, and nationally; these groups were followed in 2006 by the CASTL Leadership Program. As one of the original cluster groups, the CASTL Institute: Developing Scholars of Teaching and Learning became part of the leadership program, with a commitment to provide mentoring and support for emerging SoTL scholars through 2011 (with an extension of the CASTL affiliation beyond 2009).
As the founding institution of this “mentoring cluster,” Rockhurst University had already hosted a SoTL conference in 2002, emphasizing disciplinary approaches to the work. Anita Salem, the guiding spirit of Rockhurst’s SoTL endeavors, wanted to replicate for others her intense SoTL experience as a Carnegie Scholar, albeit on a smaller scale. Under Salem’s leadership, the “mentoring cluster” was joined by Columbia College Chicago, Creighton University, Morehead State University, Truman State University, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
The first CASTL Institute was held at Rockhurst in June 2003, followed by extensive long term planning by the cluster members at the AAHE/Carnegie Summer Academy in Utah in July 2003. Although the Institute evolved as it grew and changed locations and institutional partners, the basic original format remained. Each Institute lasted two and a half days and mentored 20-30 developing SoTL projects in sessions facilitated by National Carnegie Scholars. In addition, Carnegie Scholars and contributors from cluster universities offered workshop sessions on basic and advanced SoTL topics. Keynote and plenary presentations by noteworthy SoTL researchers and movement leaders were main features of each Institute.
In 2005, the Institute moved form Rockhust to Columbia College Chicago for three years. In 2006, a day-long pre-Institute leadership workshop for administrators and faculty developers were added. The Institute moved to Creighton University in 2008 for the final years of the CASTL Leadership Program (2008-2011). In 2012, Loyola Marymount University will host the “newly” reincarnated CASTL institute, known as the International Institute for SoTL Scholars and Mentors (IISSAM). Although CASTL no longer formerly exists, excellence in developing and mentoring faculty in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning continues to thrive at the International Institute for SoTL Scholars and Mentors.
* For a complete report on the National CASTL Institute Model, see Michael, R., Case, K.A., Danielson, M.A., Hill, L., Lochbaum, J., Perkins, K. (2010), "Mentoring New Scholars of Teaching and Learning: The National CASTL Institute Model", Transformative Dialogues: teaching and learning eJournal, 3/3.
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