Continuing Education
Georgia Southern University

SoTL Commons Conference Keynote Speakers




2015 Keynote Speakers
Delena Bell Gatch

Associate Professor of Physics and Interim Director of Assessment
Georgia Southern University

“Reflections on my SoTL Journey”
“It (The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) means viewing the world of the classroom as a site for inquiry, asking and answering questions about students’ learning in ways that can improve one’s own classroom and also advance the larger profession of teaching” (Huber and Hutchinson, 2005). During my keynote address, I will reflect on my personal journey from good teaching to scholarly teaching and beyond. Initially, I began my journey by seeking to create a “fertile learning environment exemplified by a free exchange of ideas, high academic expectations, and individual responsibility for academic achievement” in my own Introductory Physics classrooms (Georgia Southern University’s Mission Statement). Reflecting on my data from the assessment of student learning and attitudes, I was able to achieve this desired fertile learning environment. As my journey continues, I have transitioned to assisting academic programs across campus in creating fertile learning environments by closing the assessment loop.

sotlBellGatchDr. Gatch is currently the Interim Director of Assessment in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at Georgia Southern University. She assists programs in utilizing the assessment cycle to maximize student learning through continuous improvement of educational programs. Her love of teaching sparked her initial interest in assessment, physics education, and SoTL.

Dr. Gatch was the recipient of the 2014 University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award. During the 2009-2010 academic year, she was a Governor’s Teaching Fellow. She has also received the Georgia Southern University Award for Excellence in Contributions to Instruction and the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Gatch currently serves as the President of the Southern Atlantic Coast Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. This organization provides a forum for both high school and college educator to exchange ideas and learn about effective methods of physics instruction. Dr. Gatch has led multiple professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers to increase their content knowledge of physical science and physics. She has also authored six Test Item Files to accompany both College and University Level Physics Textbooks.

Dr. Gatch has served on the editorial board of the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Recently, she has accepted the position of co-editor for the journal.

T. Dary Erwin

Professor of Leadership and Psychology, School of Strategic Leadership Studies
James Madison University

“The Challenges That Confront Us: What Teaching and Learning Scholarship Can Be Useful in the Big Tent of Higher Education?”
Scholars in teaching and learning serve as models for others on-campus across the globe. Yet our scholarship is needed by off-campus audiences more than ever. Arising issues of public policy about what works and what does not place us in the best possible position to offer findings and insight that has broad implications in postsecondary education. What are these issues and how can we help?

sotlT.-Dary-ErwinDr. Erwin was formerly Associate Provost for Public Policy at James Madison University where he established the Center for Assessment and Research Studies. Under Dr. Erwin’s leadership, the first doctoral program in Assessment and Measurement began fall 1998.

Dr. Erwin has testified before an Education and Workforce subcommittee of the US House of Representatives and US Department of Education committees; presented at over 100 professional conferences; and participated in numerous meetings about collegiate accountability. He has spoken at over 70 college campuses to faculty, student affairs professionals, and administrators about outcome assessment around the world.

Dr. Erwin’s articles on college impact and assessment first appeared in 1980 and his Jossey-Bass book entitled Assessing Student Learning and Development: A Guide To The Principles, Goals, and Methods of Determining College Outcomes was published in 1991. He is also author of the Erwin Identity Scale, the Scale of Intellectual Development, numerous articles and chapters, and a reviewer of critical thinking, problem solving, and writing assessment methods for the National Post-secondary Education Cooperative. He serves on the editorial boards of Quality in Higher Education, Assessment Update, and Active Learning in Higher Education and as a Board of Regent for the Institute of Certified Professional Managers.

Dr. Erwin has previously been affiliated with Texas A & M University and the University of Tennessee. He received his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and his doctorate in student development and measurement from The University of Iowa.

Dr. Erwin is past recipient of the Annuit Coeptis Award of the American College Personnel Association and of the Ralph F. Berdie Memorial Research Award of the American Association for Counseling and Development. He was also past chairperson of the Measurement Services Association.

James Rhem

Executive Editor
The National Teaching and Learning FORUM


Thinking, Writing & Publishing about Teaching

Each of the parts of this trio – thinking, writing, publishing – has an important value to bring to the business of improving teaching and learning and thus making life as a teacher (or student) more rewarding. This is especially so if we bring the most thoughtful level of reflection about what and why we are doing and thinking what we are doing and thinking to each of the three processes. If we do that, there’s not much more to say about thinking, writing and publishing about teaching. Too often these three important activities are seen as unbreakable arc with publishing being the primary goal. Instead in order to build and sustain a lasting culture of continuous, thoughtful improvement in teaching, each part of the trio demands its own focused, contemplative effort. The best publishing, the most useful scholarship, may not have a book or article in a national journal as its final goal.

sotlrhemJames Rhem, PhD, created The National Teaching and Learning FORUM in 1990 and has served as its Executive Editor from the beginning. Previously, he’d created “The Teaching Professor” and a number of other newsletter publications for higher education. For over ten years he served as faculty in the “Bootcamp for Profs.” He’s long had a passion for teaching, but is well-acquainted with research. As an independent scholar in the history of photography, he has published four books on important photographers, most notably two on Ralph Eugene Meatyard and another or Aaron Siskind. His analysis of the teacher archetype as portrayed in American film from 1939 to the present appears as a chapter in the forthcoming “Reel Education” from Routeledge.

Division of Continuing Education • PO Box 8124 • 847 Plant Drive • Statesboro, GA 30458-8124 • (912) 478-5555 •