I am currently conducting SoTL research based on data I collected in my Culture & Society courses during AY 2018-2019. This IRB-approved study focuses on the mechanisms through which students come to challenge their ethnocentrism and internalize cultural relativism, and the extent to which these processes happen through the duration of one course.
Cultural relativism is critical to the approach of cultural anthropology and a basic objective of most courses in the field, but there is little formal discussion of how this objective is achieved. This research bring attention to the practical aspects of the objective, and I hope it will contribute to kicking off more explicit discussion of how we help students expand their perspectives in this way. I presented this work at the 20th Annual Midwest SoTL Conference in April 2019, and am working to complete data analysis and to submit the research for publication.
Areas I would like to explore in future research include the effects of colleague networks on faculty performance, engagement, and retention. Based on my own experiences and conversations with other faculty in teaching and learning spaces, I have come to recognize explicit expressions of gratitude as highly valuable and motivating. Peer communities where faculty, including graduate student instructors and early career professors, can share concerns and frustrations are also of particular interest for my next SoTL projects. I am currently discussing a collaborative project with other members of a learning community peer group I facilitated in AY 2018-2019.