Kelly named president of International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Like their counterparts at all research universities, George Mason’s faculty members engage in rich and varied programs of discovery, expanding knowledge for the benefit of society. Of equal importance, Mason prides itself on its faculty engagement in teaching and learning at the highest levels. On May 10, history professor Mills Kelly was elected president of the most important international association of scholars who are devoted to both research in their disciplines and research on teaching and learning. 

The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) was founded in 2004 with a mission of advancing the practice of teaching by utilizing research and cross-disciplinary collaboration to identify effective strategies for engaging students. In other words, explains Kelly, it is a scholarly organization that is devoted to the ideas and practices that drive teaching and learning within and across the academic disciplines. 

The ISSoTL is an international organization, holding its annual conferences in sites around the world, including Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. Participants representing sixteen countries have taken part in recent meetings.

More than the international diversity, notes Kelly, it is the disciplinary diversity that underlies the power of the society’s ideas. “It is a truly transdisciplinary society,” he notes, “with members representing the range of disciplines from chemistry to cultural studies, from physics to history. The common thread is that we are all trying to understand how teaching works from a disciplinary perspective: how do students learn a particular discipline? What works in physics and what doesn’t? And we are all learning from each other.”

Kelly will begin a one-year term as president-elect of the ISSoTL on July 1, 2017. He will serve for a year as president beginning on July 1, 2018, and then serve a year as past president, beginning in 2019. During his term as president, he will preside over the society’s annual conference in Bergen, Norway.