Enhancing student learning and success at the University of Guelph is the goal of two new campus-wide initiatives to be announced this fall and implemented in 2023.
Led by the Office of the Provost, the projects will create an inaugural cohort of faculty members named University Teaching Leadership Fellows (UTLF) and will establish a new cross-campus Teaching and Learning Network (TLN).
Together, these two initiatives will promote teaching and learning, spark cross-campus collaboration and further enhance U of G’s reputation among Ontario and Canadian post-secondary institutions in the field, said Dr. Martin Williams, director of U of G’s Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL).
“Both initiatives are linked to one singular goal, and that is enhancing student learning and success,” said Williams. Noting that this fall has brought U of G’s largest-ever incoming class of first-year students to campus, he added, “It is absolutely crucial that we continue being a leader in teaching and learning.”
Up to 10 Fellows will be appointed for a three-year term beginning in July 2023. They will come from each of the University’s seven colleges and from all three campuses (Guelph, Ridgetown and Guelph-Humber).
Teaching Leadership Fellows, network to spark cross-campus discussion of teaching and learning topics
Each faculty member will receive $30,000 to research an aspect of teaching and learning. Topics may range from anti-racism pedagogies and interdisciplinary learning to decolonizing and Indigenizing curriculum, said Dr. Christie Stewart, educational developer with the OTL.
Fellows might look at inclusion, equity and diversity issues in U of G courses and programs or student assessment, she said.
“What’s the best way to assess what students have learned?” said Stewart, referring to new processes and tools introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is an opportunity to rethink assessments and to maintain and sustain innovation.”
Fellows will also promote discussions about academic topics within their colleges and across campus.
Cross-campus exchange of ideas and resources is also the focus of the new Teaching and Learning Network. The TLN will include members from the OTL and OpenEd, faculty members from all U of G colleges and campuses, and graduate and undergraduate students.
Members will serve for at least two years. They will gather and share information with the network about teaching and learning events, resources and needs.
Teaching and Learning Network will include faculty, students from all colleges, campuses
“Knowledge mobilization and dissemination are really key,” said Stewart, adding that information-sharing will help instructors and units avoid duplication and use resources more effectively and efficiently. “This network enhances and enables communication across U of G.”
Additional TLN members may come from such units as Student Accessibility Services, Indigenous Initiatives, the Office of Diversity and Human Rights, the Experiential Learning Hub or the McLaughlin Library.
The network will receive $5,000 annually from the provost’s office for professional development of its members in teaching, learning and educational leadership.
Both initiatives are a response to recommendations from the 2021 Provost’s Task Force on Pedagogical Innovation and the 2019 U of G Teaching and Learning Strategic Plan.
Williams said the earlier task force involved dozens of U of G faculty and staff members. “These initiatives are bottom-up, not top-down,” he said.
The new initiatives will complement other teaching and learning projects programs on campus, such as the U of G Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund and the AVPA Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants.
“The University of Guelph has always played a leadership role in recognizing the importance of teaching and learning,” said Dr. Gwen Chapman, provost and vice-president (academic). “These new initiatives will further strengthen our leadership and enhance teaching and learning across our colleges and campuses.”
Applications for the UTLF program from full-time faculty members will be accepted until Jan. 15, 2023. Following review of applications by a selection committee, the inaugural cohort will begin working on July l.
Invitations for representatives to serve on the Teaching and Learning Network will be circulated early this fall.
Dr. Christie Stewart
Dr. Martin Williams