2018 Symposium on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Keynote Information

Mills Kelly, PhD

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.

Brett McCollum, PhD

Brett McCollum is a Professor of Chemistry at Mount Royal University, a Nexen Scholar of Teaching and Learning, an Apple Distinguished Educator, and an educational software developer. He writes a column about innovations in educational practices for ACCN (L'Actualité chimique canadienne / the Canadian Chemical News) to connect chemists in government, industry, and academia to evidence and practices emerging from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. In 2016-2017, McCollum served as the Acting Academic Director of the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Mount Royal University, and co-Chair of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2017 conference. McCollum is currently the Chair of SoTL Canada and a Board member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Recipient of the prestigious Gordon M. Shrum Scholarship, Simon Fraser University (1999), McCollum developed a passion for students as partners as a first-year undergraduate student engaged in research at Canada’s National Facility for Particle and Nuclear Physics. In his current role as a faculty member, he has participated in student as partner structures with his classes, and has partnered with undergraduate Peer Leaders to support team-based learning in his classrooms. He has engaged in research with more than 25 undergraduate student partners, his SoTL team members twice winning awards at the Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (2014 and 2018).

Brett McCollum has contributed to three books and 24 articles on ylidene chemistry, muon spin spectroscopy, chemistry education research, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He is an Associate Editor of LibreTexts, the highest ranked and most visited online OER textbook project. McCollum’s SoTL focuses on effective uses of technology for teaching and learning, chemistry language learning, open education resources, and research partnerships with students. In collaboration with Layne Morsch (University of Illinois – Springfield) and Michael Wentzel (Augsburg University), McCollum co-founded INCLD, the International Network for Chemistry Language Development, which engages in SoTL to enhance student communication in chemistry using oral, written, symbolic, and manipulable representation modalities.

McCollum’s efforts to connect SoTL and scholarly teaching practices have been recognized through the ACIFA Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award (2012), a Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award (2015), the MRFA Teaching Award (2016), and a MRU Distinguished Faculty Award (2017). He continues to advocate for national funding in Canada for STEM educational research, and increased collaboration between discipline-based educational researchers and scholars of teaching and learning.

Keynote Presentation: Saturday, November 10, 2018

Anthems and Pledges of Allegiance: Redirecting Our Trajectories to Connect SoTL, DBER, and Disciplinary Research Communities

Communities for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning have moved along parallel trajectories with communities of Discipline-Based Educational Research (DBER) in higher education. Both communities care deeply about student learning; both communities strive to advance institutional teaching practices; both communities employ theoretical frameworks and systemic inquiry to meet our goals. However, despite our aligned goals, SoTL and DBER have often behaved like two independent armies, rather than overlapping collaborative communities. The separation of SoTL and DBER communities has become a point of tension in academic publishing. Furthermore, both of these communities can experience similar barriers when advocating for the adoption of evidence-based teaching practices by disciplinary research colleagues. Brett McCollum’s keynote address will explore the anthems of SoTL and DBER, the pledges of allegiance we require of inductees, and how these community characteristics determine our paths.

Participants will be invited to examine the biases they bring to their scholarship, and how those biases impact the journals they read, the reviews they write, and the scholarly practices they adopt. McCollum will share the actions that SoTL Canada is taking to achieve strategic points of intersection with our DBER colleagues and our disciplinary-research peers. We will explore the harmony between our community anthems. Through cooperative discussions, we will identify the values and visions that we share with other communities, redesign our pledges, and propose personal and collective actions that we can take back to our institutions to realize new trajectories.