Re-positioning SoTL toward the T-shaped Community

Keywords: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), student connections, learner centeredness, T-shaped graduate


Amongst a range of changes that have taken place within tertiary education, perhaps the most revolutionary has been a shift to student-centred approaches focused on life-long learning. Accompanying this approach to holistic higher education (HE) has been a growing interest in, and understanding of, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). SoTL has, at its core, a deep concern with student learning and is therefore well-aligned with higher education’s renewed focus on its students. In this conceptual paper, we examine the impact of the T-shaped person which many tertiary institutions are operationalizing to inform and connect the development of students’ deep disciplinary knowledge with non-academic and employment readiness skills (such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking). Importantly, we argue for a re-positioning of SoTL to complement and support this model, with SoTL as both the fulcrum and the fluid, multiple threads of discourse that are intricately entwined around the structure of the T-shaped model. We encourage our colleagues to strive to be T-shaped practitioners and we cast a vision of a T-shaped community. Here, all stakeholders within HE connect both their academic knowledge and holistic skills in collaborative ways to produce learners who flourish in modern society. The SoTL community plays a pivotal role in achieving this vision and is well-positioned to expand the current notion of SoTL toward a more holistic, interconnected, central role in HE.

Author Biographies

Michelle J. Eady, University of Wollongong

Michelle J. Eady is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Wollongong (AUS). She is an ISSOTL fellow, a HERDSA fellow, and a Senior Fellow of Advanced HE.

Earle Abrahamson, University of East London

Earle Abrahamson is a Principal Fellow and National Teaching Fellow of Advanced HE, inaugural ISSOTL Fellow and course leader in Sports Therapy at the University of East London (GBR).

Corinne A. Green, University of Wollongong

Corinne A. Green is an aspiring academic and PhD student in the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of Wollongong (AUS).

Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio, University of Calgary

Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary (CAN).

Lisa Hatfield, Oregon Health & Science University

Lisa J. Hatfield is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Oregon Health & Science University Portland, Oregon (USA).

Nina Namaste, Elon University

Nina Namaste is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Elon University, North Carolina (USA).


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How to Cite
Eady, Michelle J., Earle Abrahamson, Corinne A. Green, Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio, Lisa Hatfield, and Nina Namaste. 2021. “Re-Positioning SoTL Toward the T-Shaped Community”. Teaching & Learning Inquiry 9 (1), 262-78.
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