Pre-conference workshop #6

International perspectives on engaging students in SoTL

Presented by: Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, Chris Ostrowski, Paul Taylor, Sophia Abbot and Rachel Guitman

Room: Bekken – Level 3

Time: Wednesday, 13.00-15.45


Abstract: Peter Felten’s ‘Principles of Good Practice in SoTL’ (2013) argues that good practice in SoTL means that SoTL is “conducted in partnership with students” (p. 122) and “requires engaging students in the inquiry process” (p. 123). Taking up this gauntlet, this workshop will focus on international perspectives on the what, where, how, why, and who of engaging students in SoTL. Facilitators will focus on extending the inclusion of students beyond that of collecting the student voice to explore how students are actively engaged as partners in the co-inquiry process. The workshop will include:

  • Case studies as key focus points for discussions on SoTL as co-inquiry including challenges, benefits, and necessary support mechanisms and resources
  • The integration of participants’ own knowledge and experiences as sources for mutual learning among all workshop attendees
  • Activities to engage participants to reflect on engaging with students in their own SoTL practice
  • Collaborative networking opportunities for participants to build a community of connected, like-minded practitioners
  • A focus on praxis such that participants leave with tangible steps to implement workshop learning in their own contexts

The workshop will be coordinated by ISSoTL’s Special Interest Group on Student Engagement Co-Chairs, and will include student and staff/faculty facilitators with experience in student engagement, student-staff partnership, and SoTL from diverse international and institutional contexts.


Lucy Mercer-Mapstone is an Endeavour Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Lucy has a passion for student engagement in higher education with a particular focus on student-staff partnership, a topic on which she has facilitated workshops internationally. Lucy brings experience in a range of fields including the student engagement through partnership, higher education research and development, student engagement program design, scholarship of teaching and learning, science education, science communication, and development of graduate attributes. She has been involved an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship focused on Students as Partners and was an inaugural co-editor of the International Journal for Students as Partners. Lucy was a member of an ISSoTL International Collaborative Writing Group, has numerous papers published top-tier higher education journals, and was the recipient of three PhD scholarships.

Chris Ostrowski is a PhD student in Educational Research (Learning Sciences), and since 2016 he has been a SoTL research assistant at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. In this role, he has engaged in several SoTL projects including leading research on local learning spaces, creating the ISSOTL 2017 digital program, initiating a improv-theatre workshop series about sharing SoTL work, developing a SoTL specific writing-group model, and leading a student professional development program. He is also the Student Engagement Advisor for SoTL Canada and a co-chair of the ISSOTL Student Engagement Interest Group.

Paul Taylor is the Pro Dean for Student Education in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Faculty at the University of Leeds. Paul’s main pedagogic activities concern undergraduate research, in particular opportunities for undergraduates to disseminate their findings through undergraduate journals and conferences. Paul is proud to be part of the team that will host the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) in Leeds in 2020.

Paul is also exploring ways of bringing research to a wide audience through on-line digital learning and has a long-standing interest in student engagement and partnership working. Paul’s scientific research interests are in cancer research, including new therapies and new models of cancer stem cells.

Sophia Abbot has been a practitioner and researcher in the area of student-staff partnership for the past six years. For the past three years, she was a fellow at Trinity University’s Collaborative for Learning and Teaching, where she founded and lead Tigers as Partners — a student-staff pedagogic partnership initiative. Her work as an undergraduate in the Students as Learners and Teachers program has deeply informed this practice and research. She has presented extensively on partnership work, including co-facilitating in the first two International Summer Institutes for Students as Partners. She currently serves on the International Advisory Board for the International Journal for Students as Partners and is completing a masters degree in higher education at Elon University.

Rachel Guitman is an undergraduate student in her fourth year of the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. She has been working at McMaster’s MacPherson Institute on various Students as Partners projects and support since 2016. Rachel is passionate about student partnership and has been involved in researching and participating in the International Students as Partners Institute (ISAPI). She co-created ISAPI’s ‘Connect’ feature with colleagues at the MacPherson Institute, consisting largely of bimonthly #SaPChat partnership discussions on Twitter. Rachel is also a co-editor for the International Journal for Students as Partners (IJSaP) and has presented at several conferences about her research thus far.

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