Scholarship Group Event: Developing Scholarship

This blog is written by Rebecca Broadbent from Aston University. The event took place on Monday 16th January at Aston University Main Campus

A multi-institutional scholarship group of 12 met on campus at Aston University and another 13 joined online for the hybrid session delivered by Professor Julie Hulme from Nottingham Trent University on the morning of Monday 16th January 2023.  As the inaugural Scholarship group event, Professor Hulme set the tone for the group with her presentation titled Developing Scholarship: practical steps to make a difference.  The compassion and experience that permeated Julie’s practical interactive session provided the group with much food for thought and many actions to take away.

Initial discussions focused on what scholarship is and a thought that resonated is that scholarship is an expert focus on Learning and Teaching. Professor Hulme was able to draw on many years of scholarly experience and was generous in sharing, not only the times that she had had success, but also those times when mistakes were made. The concept of scholarship is obviously more nuanced than this and discussion was much wider ranging, encompassing evidence, reach, outcomes and purpose.  The supporting literature that Julie presented can be found in her slides (access via the scholarship group Teams area).

Thoughts moved from what scholarship is to how we can ensure we are working within the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) quadrant on the DART framework[i].  A framework that really helped those present to map our current activities and plan for our future activities.  This is where reflection was required, to identify not only the projects we want to work on or contribute to but also the skills and knowledge that we can bring to those projects, and the areas where we either need development or collaboration. A key philosophy that Professor Hulme promoted was the idea that scholarly and educational activities should “positively disrupt” and transform higher education.

The afternoon was spent in reflection and discussion, so here are a few key questions to ask yourself no matter what stage of your scholarship journey you are at:

  • What is your golden thread? (i.e. what is the underlying value that drives your scholarship)
  • What are you already doing related to your golden thread that could become scholarship activities? Professor Hulme referred to activities that you are already doing as part of your teaching as BOGOF opportunities. How to move business as usual activities into scholarly activities.
  • What actions can you take to increase your success in doing impactful scholarship?
  • Where are my areas of weakness? Do these need development or collaboration to overcome?

The scholarship journey can be difficult to navigate, especially at the start.  The aim of this group is for us to be and have critical friends, offering a safe space for everyone to voice ideas and form solutions to the inevitable challenges that we will face in our scholarship endeavours.  Our next step as a group builds on this, with the creation of a “library of people” where you can look to find someone to approach if you need advice or support. This may include needing someone to proofread an article, presentation, etc. before you submit it or you need to talk through an idea about a specific methodology.  In addition, we want to strengthen projects by enabling collaboration and knowledge sharing between our diverse group.  Our next group activity is based around this focus, look out for details and the scholarship project proposal form which will be circulated via email and the group Teams area.

Thank you very much to Professor Hulme for her time and insight, and for also being our critical friend during this session and beyond.

Upcoming Activities

Scholarship Proposal Launch (online async launch with synchronous meeting to follow) – TBC

FYNAC 23 Scholarship Workshop – TBC

Join the group

Everyone is welcome to join the group, to do so please email Simon Rimmington or Rebecca Broadbent

Kern, B., Mettetal, G., Dixson, M., & Morgan, R. K. (2015). The role of SoTL in the academy: Upon the 25th anniversary of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning15(3), 1–14.

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