Call for 2009 Research Proposals
The PTLC is publishing a call for proposed projects that will deepen student learning in higher education. Faculty from all colleges, schools, disciplines, and professional programs are eligible to apply. The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, October 1, 2008. You can expect to be notified by November 1, 2008.
Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) Leadership Program
“The University of Colorado System is now in the second year of its participation in CASTL, a program sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. The goals of CASTL include fostering inquiry and leadership for the improvement of student learning, developing and synthesizing knowledge about learning and teaching, and promoting institutional change in support of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Colleges and universities document and assess their efforts, and provide ongoing evidence of impact. CASTL staff also assesses the work in an effort to better understand and document the development of leadership capacity, knowledge building, and institutional change.” (From Carnegie Foundation News, May 2006).
In 2006, the Carnegie Foundation funded CU’s proposal to join CASTL. In making its award to CU, the Foundation asked for a three-year commitment of funding the President’s Teaching and Learning Collaborative 2006-2009, a project in which all faculty of the University of Colorado System are invited to participate.
The PTLC seeks to promote the practice of inquiry in teaching and of measuring student learning. In particular, the Collaborative assists University faculty in developing scholarly projects on teaching and learning intended for publication. (This program is modeled on the Carnegie Foundation national work on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.)
Who is eligible?
All faculty members and teaching professors on any campus of the University of Colorado are encouraged to apply.
We seek faculty with a record of innovation in teaching and/or assessment of learning as well as those just beginning to examine their teaching and their students’ learning. Experience in educational research is not a requirement. The aim of the program is to broaden participation of faculty in effective inquiry in learning and teaching. Familiarity with the literature on learning and teaching in one's discipline is an on going necessity, and the goal of the program is that PTLC participants publish their research.
What kind of research does PTLC support?
Anne Becher inquires: "Does error classification in short Spanish compositions help students avoid common errors on subsequent papers?"
Kenneth Bettenhausen wants to know "whether participation in freshman seminars increases student engagement, retention rates, and academic success."
Alan Mickelson is developing "an assessment methodology that can provide a running assessment of student development during an electrical and computer engineering course."
Central to the PTLC is creating and disseminating scholarly work in teaching and learning to contribute to scholarship and practice in and across fields. To this end, each scholar designs and undertakes an investigation aimed at deepening her or his understanding of, and practice related to an important issue in innovative learning. Several features for projects should be kept in mind:
- Proposed work should center on definitions, experiences, problems, and values related to effective teaching and learning as well as investigations of one’s own students and classroom practices.
- The focus of this work should be teaching and learning for understanding, exploring primarily the character and depth of student learning that results (or does not) from particular teacher practices.
- We look for attention to enduring, widely recognized issues and questions that have broad relevance or implications for student learning. Scholarship that advances understanding of such ques tions is more likely to find audiences. We also are interested in work that demonstrates a commitment to the personal and social development of students.
- Of further interest is work explicitly linked to established lines of research. Like other forms of scholarship, the scholarship of teaching and learning builds on work done by others. All proposals should review research related to the specific problem to be investigated.
What are the benefits?
Investigators will receive $800 to support a graduate or undergraduate research assistant. Travel support to present project results at a conference will be available by application (funds will support about 10 of the 20 participants this year.) Investigators accepted into the PTLC should expect to meet regularly with coaches and mentors to define, clarify, or revise their research project as it evolves into a focused research project be completed during the fellowship year.
The coach understands the Carnegie Foundation approach to enabling the scholarship of teaching and learning and offers aid as needed (e.g., shaping workable research questions, practical methods for exploratory research, and possible venues for presentation and publication.) The mentor understands the investigator’s discipline and has teaching experience in that field. The mentor helps the investigator develop and maintain the relevance of her or his work to the discipline. The researcher, coach, and mentor will meet as a team at least twice each semester to advance the researcher’s project.
What commitments are expected of participants?
Progress Report meetings will take place monthly and allow investigators, coaches, and mentors time to discuss scholarly work on teaching and learning in small groups, and to open their research questions and research methodologies to peer review.
The launch meeting of the 2009 cohort will take place on Friday, December 12, 2008, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Lunch will be served after the meeting.
Publication, or notification of acceptance for publication, is expected by December 2009. Faculty Fellows will receive recognition at the campus and departmental levels upon completion of their research in December 2009. Because the growth of the PTLC depends on investigators’ willingness to coach and mentor future PTLC investigators following their term in the program, each researcher is expected to participate as a coach or mentor in the following year.
The Institutional Review Board/Human Research Committee process should be completed early in the program. This review may take up to six weeks depending on the proposed project. PTLC coaches, mentors, the director, and the coordinator may be consulted to assist in this process. Data collection should take place by the summer of 2009 to ensure time to analyze the data and write up the results.
We thank the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching CASTL program for permission to adapt application materials.
Faculty Growth in Research on Teaching and Learning
The Collaborative seeks to facilitate the movement of faculty researchers along a continuum of growth in their research on teaching and learning. We anticipate that faculty researchers will be found in one of the three phases Weston and McAlpine identified in “Making Explicit the Development of the Scholarship of Teaching: A Continuum of Growth” (New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 86, Summer 2001):
- Phase One is about researchers’ growth in their own teaching and is for researchers who have extended their knowledge about their teaching and about their students’ learning.
- Phase Two is defined by researchers’ ongoing dialogue with colleagues about the topics teaching and learning. Here researchers are engaged in conversations with others and have become involved in collaborative work about teaching and learning.
- In Phase Three researchers have increased their scholarly know edge about teaching and learning. They have moved beyond dialogue and have made their work public through publications and presentations. They are also applying their knowledge about teaching and learning to their own classrooms.
Weston, Cynthia B., McAlpine, Lynn, “Making Explicit the Development of the Scholarship of Teaching: A Continuum of Growth.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 86, Summer 2001.
We hope that all researchers reach at least Phase Two by the end of their year with the PTLC. We anticipate that they will move toward Phase Three with the expected publication of their research sponsored by the Collaborative.
Applicants can find examples of past proposals at:
How to Apply
Please send the following all in a single Word document:
Cover sheet with the following information:
Job Title and/or Academic Rank
Discipline and/or Professional Field
City, State, Zip Code
Letter of proposal (no more than four pages double-spaced and paginated, with your name in the header of each page) answering these questions:
- What is the central question, issue, or problem you plan to explore in your proposed work?
- Why is your central question, issue, or problem important, to you and to others who might benefit from or build on your findings?
- How do you plan to conduct your investigation? What sources of evidence do you plan to examine? What methods might you employ to gather and make sense of this evidence?
- How might you make your work available to others in ways that facilitate scholarly critique and review, and that contribute to thought and practice beyond the local? (Keep in mind that coaching will be available to help you develop these aspects of your proposal, so you need not feel you must present a finished project design at this time.)
Include a literature review of the theory and effective teaching practice of the subject of your inquiry in order to locate your research in the literature preceding it. (The website, http://www.colorado.edu/ptsp/ptlc.html, offers expert advice on how to conduct a modest literature review.)
What is your record of innovation in teaching and/or the assessment of learning?
Are you able to attend the required meetings as specified in Section 2, Benefits and Expectations?
Provide the name and contact information for someone who can serve as a mentor to you within the PTLC program. A mentor is a colleague in your discipline, broadly considered, who will help you develop your project.
Can you suggest an appropriate coach for your project? A coach is a faculty member who has experience with educational research and can thus guide you in your research on teaching and learning. This is NOT a requirement but may increase your likelihood of acceptance.
If your project is selected, are you willing to serve as a coach in PTLC in a future year?
You also will need a letter of nomination from department chair or unit head (form is included below).
All application materials must be submitted electronically as attached Word documents to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday, October 1, 2008.
Department chair nomination (Adapted from the CU-Denver School of Medicine)
Name of faculty member:
Current academic rank:
Describe the role that the faculty member currently plays in the department, including current teaching load and service.
Please indicate ways in which the candidate’s PTLC participation might benefit the department, including opportunities to share research results with peers and students.
For 2009, the PTLC will focus on projects emphasizing student learning at any educational level, undergraduate and above. Projects should be such that meaningful results can be obtained during the 2009 academic year and accepted in a peer-reviewed journal.