More than 30 people (see the photo) – program participants, instructors, mentors, administrators, and proud family members – attended a celebration to mark the conclusion of the fall 2012 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (CPUTL) on December 4. The highly popular program, facilitated by educational consultants Erin Aspenlieder and Kathryn Ricketts of the Teaching and Learning Centre along with Russell Day, a senior lecturer in Psychology, is designed to prepare graduate students for post-secondary teaching careers, and the tributes offered by the participants suggest that the program organizers successfully practice what they preach.
Several students spoke of their experiences within the program. Scott Kristjanson, a graduate student in Computing Science, identified the importance of defining learning outcomes and aligning assessments with those outcomes as a key concept. He also singled out the program’s emphasis on participatory learning as an important influence on his thinking. John Birmingham, a PhD student in Communications, expressed appreciation for the program’s emphasis on developing a teaching philosophy. Pat Feindel, a PhD candidate in Anthropology, noted that the course had restored her enthusiasm for teaching “and in fact [had] instilled an excitement that wasn’t there before.” She quoted other colleagues to demonstrate the benefits of the course:
“It’s hugely practical.”
“It helps with first-time teaching nerves.”
“It challenges your basic assumptions about teaching and learning.”
“Exhausting, but well worth the exhaustion.”
“Moved me from a focus on content to student-centred learning.”
“Before this I was just googling ‘how to teach.’ ”
“I’ve come out of the dungeon into the light.”
Jon Driver, Vice-President, Academic, attended the ceremony to congratulate the graduates. He expressed pride in the program, which he had a role in establishing, and was pleased to note the interdisciplinary composition of the group. The program will run again in January.