More Hawk, Less Seagull: The Importance of Community-Led SoTL Research




community-led scholarship, SoTL research, community engagement, ethics of reciprocity, autoethnography


This systematic reflection essay blends research and community engagement with Margaret Kovach’s keynote address at the 2022 conference of the International Society of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) and with the coauthors’ autoethnographic accounts reflecting on their challenges across Australia and the US in conducting ethically responsible SoTL scholarship. The essay is a call for engagement with community-led projects drawing on Neil Drew’s (2006) metaphor of a seagull, who flies in, takes what it wants, and leaves a mess behind. Two stories provided by the co-authors invite further discussion into the hopeful challenges of conducting community-led SoTL research.

Click here to read the corresponding ISSOTL blog post. 


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Author Biographies

Michelle J. Eady, University of Wollongong

Michelle J. Eady is an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the University of Wollongong (AUS). She is the incoming president of ISSOTL (2023–2024), an ISSOTL fellow, SFHEA, HERDSA fellow, ACEN director and sits on the International Research Group of WACE. She looks forward to meeting and collaborating with other hawks!

J. Michael Rifenburg, University of North Georgia

Michael Rifenburg is a professor of English at the University of North Georgia (USA). He serves as senior faculty fellow for scholarly writing with UNG’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership and on the ISSOTL Convenings Committee. Like Michelle, he looks forward to soaring with other hawks.


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Kovach, Margaret. 2022. “How We Hear Story Depends Upon Who We Are in Our Listening: Creating Spaces of Transformational Testimony in Indigenous Research, Teaching, and Learning.” Keynote address presented at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Kelowna, British Columbia.

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Rifenburg, J. Michael, and Brian G. Forester. 2018. “First-Year Cadets’ Conceptions of General Education Writing at a Senior Military College.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 6 (1): 52–66.

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An illustration of a brown hawk with outstretched black-tipped wings. The background is various dots of yellow and orange.




How to Cite

Eady, Michelle J., and J. Michael Rifenburg. 2023. “More Hawk, Less Seagull: The Importance of Community-Led SoTL Research”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 11 (July).



SoTL in Process