The University of Lethbridge is devoting people, time and effort to a new initiative that will help faculty members reaffirm the central importance of teaching and learning to the institution.
Dr. Pamela Adams and Dr. David Townsend (Education) are the first teaching fellows within the newly launched Centre for the Advancement of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CAETL) at the U of L.
They are directing a project that they expect will promote teaching excellence within the institution and provide a clear demonstration of the U of L’s continued commitment to teaching development.
“The last 10 years have seen an exciting period of growth at the University with the number of full-time students growing from about 5,000 to more than 8,000 students,” says Townsend. “This growth has provided opportunities to hire new faculty, but during that same period numerous faculty have retired, leaving fewer veteran educators to assist new faculty members with their teaching challenges. The U of L enjoys an enviable reputation for the high quality of its teaching, and we want to ensure that our reputation is maintained and enhanced.”
Townsend adds that several faculty-wide mentoring opportunities have taken place which were ultimately successful, but they did not formally address the needs of new faculty members, graduate students who work as teaching assistants or faculty members who want to adjust their curriculum to incorporate new technologies.
“Programs such as Teaching in Focus and faculty-wide mentoring have had meaningful impacts on teaching effectiveness, and the introduction of the Curriculum Re-Development Centre (CRDC) in 1997 has given the U of L an outstanding advantage with respect to integrating technology into teaching practice. It is time, however, to integrate these efforts and move to the next level of teaching excellence,” says Townsend.
According to Adams, “moving beyond” means not only helping faculty members with their teaching challenges, but also looking into the research aspects of good teaching, finding and implementing the best practices and reminding all involved that effective teaching can be defined, learned and demonstrated.
“The CAETL will promote and sustain outstanding and inspirational teaching in a vital and engaging learning environment,” Adams says. “We want to aggressively promote the many tools required in the professional development of university-level teachers and lecturers. This commitment to excellence in teaching will ensure that in a rapidly changing educational environment, the U of L continues to provide outstanding learning opportunities and experiences for its students and faculty.”
With the assistance of the CRDC, Adams and Townsend have developed a web site outlining their services, workshop schedules and additional resources. It’s available at www.uleth.ca/caetl.
Townsend and Adams also offer consulting services to new and continuing faculty members and graduate students. They can be contacted through the web site or by phone at 403-317-5026.
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