Newsletter Spring 2014

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Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History.  Below you will find information about what is happening globally in higher education history teaching.  We encourage you to let us know about events and activities in your area that we can share in future newsletter.

Special thanks to the contributors: Alan Booth, Sean Brawley, Andrew M. Koke, David Ludvigsson, David Pace, and Emilios Solomou.


The Annual Meeting of ISSOTL in History in Quebec City, Canada in October 2014

Linköping Conference on History Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Linköping, Sweden, 20–21 May 2014, Announcement and Program

“Historians on Teaching” website

Panel Proposal: The Challenge of Teaching National Histories

Report on “The Role of Education in a Multicultural Cyprus” conference

Minutes of the 2013 Annual Meeting of ISSOTL in History


The annual meeting of ISSOTL in History in Quebec City, Canada in October 2014

The annual meeting of ISSOTL in History will occur in conjunction with the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference in Quebec City, Canada, 22-25 October.  It will provide an opportunity for members to meet face-to-face and to see presentations on efforts to increase learning in history and in other academic fields.  We are encouraging our members to consider proposing sessions to share what they are doing in the classroom.  The deadline for submissions is April 21.    If you are considering proposing a session, please let us know, and we will try to arrange a special history track at the conference.  More information about the ISSOTL conference can be obtained here.


Linköping Conference on History Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Linköping, Sweden, 20–21 May 2014, Announcement and Program

Linköping University and the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History will host a conference on history teaching and learning in higher education in Linköping, Sweden, on 20–21 May 2014. A meeting place for Scandinavian and international scholars, the conference offers a good opportunity to discuss recent developments in history teaching and learning as well as national or regional variations of “signature pedagogies” in history teaching. Among confirmed participants are Alan Booth, Nottingham University, Alison Twells, Sheffield Hallam University, and Peter D’Sena, The Higher Education Academy.

Conference site: Campus Valla, Linköping University.  Travel: Linköping City Airport has flight connections with Amsterdam (KLM) and Copenhagen (NextJet). There are good train connections with the big international airports of Stockholm.  Program.


“Historians on Teaching” website

Alan Booth, University of Nottingham

‘Historians on Teaching’ ( is an online resource for everyone interested in teaching history. The website, curated by Alan Booth and Jeanne Booth, features around 200 short film clips of academic historians from Europe, Australia and North America talking about their teaching and their lives as teachers. Their reflections include perspectives on motivations and satisfactions; hopes and outcomes for students; the role of the teacher; examples of what works in the history classroom (and doesn’t); changes and challenges in teaching today; connections between teaching and research; who or what has most influenced their development as teachers; and advice they would like to pass on to those starting out.

The site will assist individuals, history departments and the discipline community to reflect on, talk about and enhance the practice of teaching. It will be of particular value to those starting out on, or wishing to enter, an academic career, but also to anyone who wants to refresh their practice or join in the growing conversation about teaching and learning history in higher education. ‘Historians on Teaching’ will also be a useful point of reference for those teaching (and studying) history at the higher levels in secondary schools and in colleges who want to find out more about perspectives on teaching and learning from the world of history teaching in higher education; teachers in other humanities disciplines who wish to think through their own pedagogic traditions and practices; educators on institutional professional development programmes; and institutional senior managers and administrators who want to make and implement effective policy on teaching.

A book, History Teaching at Its Best: Historians Talk about What Matters, What Works and What Makes a Difference, discussing issues raised in the films and using material from a UK-wide survey of historians is available from the site (March 2014). For more information and updates you can sign up to the mailing list and follow on Twitter @historiansteach.


Panel Proposal: The Challenge of Teaching National Histories

Teaching the history of one’s own nation presents unique problems of both pedagogy and politics.  Both the conceptions that students bring to the classroom and the pressures of outside interests often presents special challenges in such courses.  To spark cross cultural discussions of such courses, we are proposing both an on-line discussion of these issues on our website and a panel on the topic at the ISSOTL meetings in October. (See above.) If you are interested in taking part in such a panel, please email us.  To add your thoughts to our on-line discussion, please login to HistorySOTL and post comments under the Panel Proposal post on the main page.

To spark discussions on this topic, we are providing a link to Laura Westhoff’s “A Perfect Storm and the U.S. History Survey,” an article on the pedagogical and political controversies that have surrounded the teaching of the history the United States in recent decades.  We are also providing a link to Johann Neem’s “American History in a Global Age,” which takes a strong stance in favor of national histories despite globalism.  We hope that you will read the articles and add your thoughts on the issues involved in teaching such courses, by posting on our website and proposing panels for 2014 ISSOTL.  We are interested in the similarities and differences across national boundaries and in ways members have responded to these challenges.  Our society is uniquely positioned to discuss variations and meaningfulness of national histories across the globe.


Report on “The Role of Education in a Multicultural Cyprus” conference

The conference, 25th November to 1st December 2013, was organised by the Cyprus Centre for Intercultural Studies which is affiliated with the University of Nicosia, where Emilios Solomou is Vice President and faculty member. Some other NGOs also supported the event amongst which was the UNESCO CHAIR of the University (Dr. Solomou is director).

Some of the topics covered were: Intercultural Education in Cyprus: Policy and practice; Co-existence and Education: General principles and some lessons from Northern Ireland by Tony Gallagher; The Role of History Teaching – Lessons from the UK 1988-2013.  Dr. Solomou presented a paper on “Education and peaceful co-existence: Reminiscences from the Past” and moderated a session where the keynote speaker was Matthew Lange who delivered a paper on ” Education and Ethnic Violence: A view from Comparative History.”

The conference attracted scholars from Cyprus as well as from a number of other countries.  It was quite well attended and raised issues of concern to many involved in the field of education. Cyprus has become  increasingly a multicultural country in the last fifteen years or so and a lot of useful information was exchanged between scholars and participants many of whom were practising professionals in schools.


Minutes of the 2013 Annual Meeting of ISSOTL in History

At the last annual meeting of ISSOTL in history (Raleigh, North Carolina, October 2013) there was discussion of ways to make the scholarship of teaching and learning an integral part of the training of Ph.D. students in history.  It was agreed that one step towards normalizing such preparation would be to make materials on teaching and learning history available to Ph.D.s and to departments interested in making courses in this a part of their offerings.  Possibilities were discussed ranging from materials on our society’s web site to full on-line courses and a short film on history learning.  It was decided to continue this exploration by email over the next year and to reach out to national organizations of historians to find allies in this effort.  Members also described conferences and other developments in the teaching of history in their home countries, and there was discussion of producing short descriptions of history related sessions at future ISSOTL conferences for our newsletter.

Minutes of a General Meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History, held at the Raleigh Convention Centre, North Carolina, USA on 4 October 2013.

In attendance: Miles Blizard (Indiana); Sean Brawley (UNSW); Lendol Calder (Augustana College); Jennifer Clark (UNE); James Cronin (UC Cork); Arlene Diaz (Indiana); Adrian Jones (La Trobe); Susannah McGowan (UC Santa Barbara); Dasa Mortensen (UNC Chapel Hill), Adele Nye (UNE); David Pace (Indiana); Leah Shopkow (Indiana); David Voelker (UW, Green Bay)

Meeting opened 6.04pm Delegates introduced themselves DP introduced the Society to new members. DP discussed the newsletter DP raised the issue of a HISTSOTL MOOC A meeting of the British/Irish regional board in September was noted DP suggested issues for discussion as how we move forward and opportunities and issues. LS raised possibility of a collective project being seen as a way to challenge colleagues DV raised the issue of “assessment.” The different cultural baggage, or lack their of, of the term AJ raised the opportunities being explored for the Australia Regional Board SSB raised the issue of an Australia conference associated with the American Historical Association LS noted possibilities of remote conferencing AJ noted developments in Australia DP noted write-up of conference reports for the next newsletter LC wondered whether we could create a transformational moment. Noted Science education and “Private Universe” movie from Harvard was transformative moment LS suggested impact not as great but changed the conversation SSB raised the issue of MOOCS SSB noted Alan Booth’s Passion Project could be utilized SSB noted credentialing issue LS raised issue of more open forms of further study JC reported on HEA discussions around workshops DP raised issue of funding Discussion of regional committees designing MOOC modules DP suggested polling membership for what sorts of modules are needed DV suggested using Wikis for discussing this issue Further discussion LS discussed the importance of modeling any approach adopted JC suggested the MOOC model would counter resistance with departments DV raised the issue of SOTL vs tips and tricks SSB noted he would examine Macquarie hosting DP asked graduate students about their needs DM discussed her thoughts as a graduate student Meeting ended at 7.05


Please feel free to add your thoughts to anything in the newsletter via the website and inform us of events involving the teaching and learning of history that we might help publicize.  We want to make this information available to historians throughout the world who are interested in teaching and learning, so we would greatly appreciate your forwarding this message to colleagues and others who share this concern.  Also let us know if you would like to be more involved in the future development of our organization and in the development and spread of new ideas about how to increase learning in college history courses.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if:

  1. you are not a member and would like to join;
  2. you are considering submitting a paper for the meetings of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Quebec City 22-25, 2014;
  3. you have ideas about items or announcements that might be included in future newsletters or  on the web site;
  4. you have thoughts about directions that the organization might take;
  5. you would like to be more actively involved in organization.  We would love to have your input and involvement.

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