2018 Symposium on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Keynote Information

Mills Kelly, Ph.D.

Mills Kelly is Professor of History at George Mason University, where he has taught since 2001. From 2001-2010 he was an Associate Director of the award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media ( In 2009 Mills served as the Associate Dean for Enrollment Development in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason, from 2010-13 he was the Director of the Global Affairs Program, Mason’s largest interdisciplinary undergraduate program, and in 2014-2015 was the university’s Presidential Fellow. Mills is currently the President-elect of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) and will begin his term as President of the Society in July, 2018.

Mills Kelly is the author or co-author of three books, more than 25 articles, and numerous book reviews in Central European history, digital humanities, and the scholarship of teaching and learning in history. His most recent book is Teaching History in the Digital Age (University of Michigan Press, 2013, paperback 2016). His current project, Appalachian Trail Histories, brings together his interests in environmental history, students as research partners, public history, and digital humanities.

His work in the scholarship of teaching and learning in history has resulted in numerous awards, including the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award, the highest honor the state bestows for faculty excellence. He is also a winner of George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award. In 1999 he was a Pew National Fellow with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and learning and is a founding member of ISSOTL. He is the co-author of four successful grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities ($920,000 in total funding) and projects resulting from two of these grants won the American Historical Association’s James Harvey Robinson Award in 2008. He consults regularly with colleges and universities in the United States and internationally on the digital humanities, pedagogy, and ways to improve student learning outcomes.

Since 2011, Kelly has been a trustee of the Romanian-American Foundation, that country’s largest private philanthropy ($4 million in annual giving), and was a director of the Romania-American Investment Fund, at a time when it had more than $65 million under management. From 1996-2006, Professor Kelly helped to direct the Civic Education Project, an international educational NGO working to bring about democratic reform and the improvement of higher education in the countries emerging from dictatorship. At its height, the project had an annual budget of $4.5 million and supported programs in 22 countries. From 1998-2002, he was the Chair of the Board of Directors of the organization.

Keynote Presentation: Stay Out of the Silo!

Mentoring has been at the heart of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning since the very beginning of the movement. In the 1990s, Lee Shulman charged the very first members of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) with mentoring new SoTL scholars, and ever since, the SoTL community has been one of the most open and supportive groups of scholars in any discipline. Because SoTL is so cross-disciplinary, this mentoring often takes surprising forms and opens pathways for new collaborations that would not otherwise be possible in an academic culture so deeply rooted in disciplinary expertise. Mills Kelly’s keynote address will focus on how the mentoring-intensive nature of SoTL work has led us to where we are today, how some recent developments in SoTL are working against the collaborative nature of our work, and what the future holds for all of us who care about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

In particular, participants will be challenged to consider how the growing professionalization of SoTL scholarship might work at cross-purposes with our deeply held values around collaboration, mentoring, and transdisciplinarity. Are we in danger of retreating into SoTL silos? Kelly will also focus on how we as SoTL scholars can extend our roles as SoTL mentors all the way down to undergraduate students, a population too often left out of our conversations about inclusion and collaboration.