Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek – Barack Obama.
In his seminal work, “Scholarship reconsidered: priorities of the professoriate” (1990), Ernest Boyer attempted to broaden the understanding of scholarship beyond that of research as it had been understood in higher education for many decades. In the years following the publication of this study, there have been extensive debate and deliberation on the topic of teaching as scholarship rather than only as practice. In a sense, Boyer’s expanded understanding of scholarship might be read as a legitimisation of the full spectrum of academic work. We are challenged to consider teaching as essentially a scholarly endeavour and one that requires the same application and habits as any other form of scholarship. SoTL is understood differently in the global North and South. “Slow scholarship” is proposed as a way to improve the conceptualisation of SoTL in the South. “Slow scholarship” indicates “attentiveness, deliberation, thoughtfulness, open-ended inquiry, a receptive attitude, care-fullness, creativity, intensity, discernment, cultivating pleasure, and creating dialogues between the natural and social sciences” (Leibowitz & Bozalek, 2018 in Berg and Seeber 2016; Boulous Walker 2016; Stengers 2011, Slow-Science). In the global South, SoTL should therefore focus on transformation through collaboration. This approach warrants a deep, open and care-full disposition towards thinking, listening and paying due attention to the complexity and ambiguities of educational research possibilities in the transformation era in Africa, and in South Africa, through slow scholarship advocacy.
The SoTL CLC is conscious that SoTL practices are relatively new in South African universities. The focus of academic practices often remain researcher-centred rather than providing impetus for deep transformation of teaching and learning. The work of this CLC is directed at the broader higher education community including educational leaders, academic development communities and support staff, academics, students, those tasked with organising in-house teaching and learning conferences across higher education institutions, professional bodies and the DHET.
The main aims are to:
- stimulate debate so to construct ways for responsive scholarship in a higher
- education context that demands urgent systemic and cultural change
- promote the professionalisation of the teaching role in higher education through a
- scholarly approach and the production of rich scholarship
- encourage and participate in SoTL for and from Africa
An annual SoTL CLC event will be hosted on a rotational basis across our membership universities with the purpose of exploring the work of the SoTL CLC, conceptualising collaborative activities on a national scale and strengthening regional networks.
Berg, M., and Seeber, B. K. 2016, ‘The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy’. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Boulous Walker, M. 2016, ‘Slow Philosophy: Reading against the Institution’. London: Bloomsbury.
Boyer, E. L. 1990, Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.
Leibowitz, B and Bozalek, V. 2018, ‘Towards aSlow Scholarship of teaching and learning in the South, Teaching in Higher Education, col. 23, no. 8, pp 981-994.
Mahn, L. 2019 ‘African and Development Studies: Scholarship in need of its own replication crisis ‘ LSE, 6th March, Available at : https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/afr icaatlse/2019/03/ 06/ replication-crises-in-african-and-development-studies/ (accessed: 11 March 2020)
Stengers, I. 2011, ‘”Another Science is Possible!’ A Plea for Slow Science.” Faculte de Philosophie et Lettres, ULB, Inaugural lecture; Chair Willy Calewaert 2011-2012 (VUB).
For further information or to add to the conversation, please reach out to Nomfundo at firstname.lastname@example.org.