David Voelker is an Associate Professor of Humanistic Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He arrived at UWGB after completing a Ph.D. in U.S. history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. He teaches primarily early American history, including introductory, upper-level, and online courses. Since 2005, he has engaged in UWGB’s First Nations Studies Fusion program, which focuses on the integration of American Indian history, culture, and pedagogy into courses across the curriculum. He was a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow (WTF) in 2006-2007 and twice participated in UWGB's Teaching Scholar program, which he currently co-directs.  He documented his WTF project in an August 2008 article in The History Teacher. As a participant in the OPID-sponsored Signature Pedagogies project, he co-authored with Joel Sipress (UW-Superior) an essay on the impact of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) on history pedagogy. He and Sipress went on to publish an essay in the March 2011 Journal of American History that combined historical analysis with SoTL research to suggest an alternative to the dominant coverage model of teaching introductory history.  (This article won the 2012 Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award.)  His current SoTL project is an assessment of how effectively his argument-based introductory American course improves students’ understanding of historical thinking and the work that historians do.  He shares SoTL resources at www.thegraybox.net.

Workshop Title: An Introduction to Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher educators to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars conduct research into student learning using the tools of their own disciplines and other accessible methods. Scholarly teachers may stop short of publication, but they also apply pedagogical research to course design and systematically inquire into their students’ learning. Participants in this interactive workshop will engage in an open discussion of the goals, challenges, and basic steps of pedagogical research. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodology.

Workshop facilitator David Voelker will guide participants through a step-by-step exploration of the process of doing SoTL research, with emphasis on the importance of developing a meaningful research question that focuses on a student learning problem and is informed by existing pedagogical literature.  Working with small groups from various campuses and disciplines, workshop participants will consider examples of learning problems that they might want to study in their own courses, including problems posed by students’ prior knowledge and challenges associated with teaching disciplinary “moves” or threshold concepts. The workshop will conclude with a consideration of how SoTL scholars collect and analyze evidence of student learning in an effort to improve their own teaching practice, as well as contribute to pedagogical knowledge more generally.