Maggie Castor (’12) was involved with CATL’s first Elon Research Seminar from 2009-2011. This three-year seminar on Teaching Democratic Thinking brought together faculty, staff, and students from across the nation to develop interdisciplinary research projects on the selected theme. One project that Maggie was involved with was a reading group on radical research methods. The term radical research was used by the group to indicate research practices that stray from traditional academic methods, such as having non-academic co-investigators and publishing for non-academic audiences.
Over the course of a year, Elon faculty, a UNC-G graduate student, and Maggie met to share resources on alternative researching methods with democratic goals in mind. Each time the group would meet a different member would select the materials and facilitate a conversation regarding how these methods could be taken up in their respective contexts. Maggie then proposed the group expand their conversations by having a roundtable conversation at the 2011 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference in Milwaukee from October 20-23. She was able to attend the conference thanks to funding through a CATL Travel Reimbursement Grant.
At the conference additional radical research resources were shared and participants fleshed out potential research projects. Despite the rising role of student voices in the scholarship of teaching and learning, an undergraduate student proposing a roundtable was unique. Maggie found she was unable to submit a proposal as an undergraduate, and she started conversations that have led to changes in the proposal process for future ISSoTL conferences.
CATL’s Faculty Travel Reimbursement Grant program supports faculty involvement with the scholarship of teaching and learning and connects faculty with highly innovative programs in teaching and learning. This program is intended to supplement faculty travel support from other parts of the University, making it possible for more faculty members to participate in national and international initiatives on teaching and learning. Grants are typically awarded in amounts of $1000 or less. More information can be found on the CATL website.