SoTL and the Humanities

Navigating Tensions, Realizing Possibilities


  • Deandra Little, Ph.D. Elon University
  • Emily Donelli-Sallee, Ph.D. Park University
  • Renee Michael, Ph.D. Rockhurst University



SoTL, Humanities, course portfolios, student learning


In this article, we share themes and tensions experienced by humanities faculty undertaking a scholarship of teaching & learning (SoTL) project as part of a multi-campus, grant-funded initiative. Faculty participants in the project iteratively transformed a course to improve one or more aspects of their students’ learning over a three-year period and documented the process and results in a course portfolio. To support their individual and collaborative work, each of the four campuses had a local leader, and participants met regularly with campus teams, convening with the full group annually for cross-campus knowledge exchange and peer review. At the project conclusion campus leaders gathered participant reflections and discovered a pattern of tensions that included: disciplinary ways of knowing, ways to represent knowing, and ways of writing and sharing. These tensions are similar to those identified elsewhere and can be potential impediments to this work for some in the humanities. Explicitly addressing those potential tensions while helping faculty see how their own disciplinary approaches can help them investigate their course practices is a useful first step toward more contributions from humanities scholars.


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Author Biographies

Deandra Little, Ph.D., Elon University

Deandra Little is assistant provost and Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning and professor of English at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina (USA). Her research focuses on university teaching and learning and educational development.

Emily Donelli-Sallee, Ph.D., Park University

Emily Donnelli-Sallee is associate provost and professor of English at Park University in Parkville, Missouri (USA). Her research areas include educational development, teaching and learning online, and contingent faculty support.

Renee Michael, Ph.D., Rockhurst University

Renee Michael is a professor of psychology at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri (USA). Her work has focused on examining how student learning can be integrated across different contexts.


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How to Cite

Little, Deandra, Emily Donelli-Sallee, and Renee Michael. 2021. “SoTL and the Humanities: Navigating Tensions, Realizing Possibilities”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2).