CTSI around campus and in the news

Over the past few months, CTSI has been involved in a number of events celebrating teaching and learning in higher education. These were opportunities to showcase U of T’s activities and initiatives and to learn from colleagues around the province, and around the world, about new and innovative practices.

In February, delegates from Ultrecht University in the Netherlands visited the University of Toronto. Carol Rolheiser, Director, CTSI was a part of the team (that included Anne-Marie Brousseau, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Academic Programs and Director, First-Year Learning Communities, Glen Jones, Associate Dean, OISE, and members of the Teaching Academy, among others) welcoming the delegation to the St. George campus. The visit was a part of a study tour on educational innovation and leadership for senior faculty at Ultrect. The all-day event featured sessions on Higher Education in Ontario, Small Group Engagement and Peer-to-Peer Learning in the First Year, Supporting Teachings and the Development of Community and more. While members of U of T’s community led these sessions, members of the Utrecht delegation had the opportunity to share experiences and research on teaching matters. According to Carol, “This was a great opportunity to strengthen connections with our international colleagues and to focus our discussion on key educational concepts.  Hearing from experts across our University also strengthens our internal links and opportunities to learn from one another.”

In April, Carol also attended the launch of Beyond the Sage on the Stage: Innovative and Effective Teaching and Learning at Ontario Universities presented by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). The event, held at Queen’s Park, brought members of provincial government, university administrators, educators and media from across the province together. Led by the Teaching and Learning Task Force with the COU and chaired by Maureen Mancuso, Vice-President, Academic at the University of Guelph, the project highlights initiatives and innovations at Ontario universities that promote effective teaching and learning.

As enrollment numbers in higher education continue to rise, Ontario’s higher education institutions are working to meet this need and deliver beyond student expectations. The COU has selected effective practices from universities across the province, including U of T’s Foundational First-Year Program and the President’s Teaching Award. Other institutions are spotlighted for their use of webcams, clickers and professional development courses for faculty. The publication is divided into sections: Learning Technologies, Applied and Practical Learning, First-Year Programs, Professional Development for Faculty Members and Teaching Assistants, Student Learning Support and Assessment of Learning.

Beyond the Sage on the Stage looks at innovations on the institutional level but it also encompasses instructors’ personal stories. COU considers this an on-going conversation and educators are invited to contribute their own stories and experiences online.  If you would like to submit a story that focuses on teaching and learning at an Ontario university, please send it to kdorion@cou.on.ca.

And in June, Carol visited the Centre for Faculty Development, Faculty of Medicine to deliver a workshop in the Best Practices in Education Rounds (BPER). “Building Teaching Capacity: a Multi-Year Professional Learning Partnership” was delivered on June 5th and video conferenced to various hospitals in the University Health Network. The session highlighted the importance of partnering with other educators in building capacity and noting the key challenges and outcomes achieved (using the Initial Teacher Education Program at OISE as a model). The session offered an opportunity for reflection on past experiences and how partnerships can be improved in the future.

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