Now it’s a tradition. The second annual Teaching and Learning Social took place last Monday (January 30) in the Diamond Alumni Centre, and the event seems to have established a place for itself in the datebooks of SFU faculty members and staff with a special interest in teaching and learning.
Some 110 instructors, administrators, and staff members preregistered for the reception, which was organized by the Teaching and Learning Centre and featured food, speeches, and lots of time for conversation at themed tables (for example, English as an additional language (EAL) and Experiential learning). Each table was equipped with a flip chart to capture the most exciting ideas to emerge from the lively discussions.
Participants were welcomed by TLC director Stephanie Chu, who spoke of her desire to use the event to recognize and strengthen SFU’s teaching and learning community.
President Andrew Petter also addressed the attendees, speaking of the complementary roles of teaching and research and underlining the importance of providing both graduate and undergraduate students with relevant and innovative learning opportunities, including experiential learning activities and the chance to participate in meaningful research.
He was followed by Jon Driver, vice-president, academic, who highlighted the teaching and learning emphasis in the 2010–2013 Academic Plan and surveyed eight current and upcoming initiatives:
• Accreditation process and learning outcomes initiative
• Teaching and Course Evaluation Project
• WebCT Replacement Project
• English as an Additional Language Initiative
• Experiential Education Project
• Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue program
• Classroom upgrades and virtual campus pilot projects
• Teaching and Learning Centre programs
Driver made a number of thought-provoking points: for example, he suggested that the growing percentage of EAL students at SFU should be seen as a strength and an opportunity within a multicultural and globalized world. He also noted the broad involvement of the university community in teaching and learning initiatives, pointing out that his own office often played a supporting role in projects spearheaded by other SFU groups or individuals. See the PowerPoint version of his presentation here.