There was clear support for the idea that a national system could elevate the value of training and certification and bring more professional recognition to our practice. There was repeated mention of the need for a flexible framework of expectations that can be adapted to the context of institutions, programmes, and faculty needs.
How to go about developing the structure of a national system is an extremely challenging proposition. Our comments clearly indicated that we need to consult broadly with wide-ranging stakeholders. Perhaps a survey or series of surveys could meet this requirement. There was mention that the organizational effort could begin at the national level through the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. There was also the suggestion that we need to start at the provincial level, either at the political level of Ministers of Education or provincial teaching and learning organizations. Perhaps working concurrently at both the national and provincial levels would be appropriate.
Perhaps we can use this last discussion topic to answer the question--What exactly do you think should be done next and how do you suggest we go about doing it?
Myself and a group of others (Teresa Dawson, Arshad Ahmad, Alan Wright, Kathy Schwarcz, Nicola Simmons, and Julie Weible) are hosting an STLHE roundtable discussion at UNB this spring,
"Recognition of Formal Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Faculty Programmes - A Good Idea?"
This session will explore the value, challenges and benefits of developing national recognition of formal faculty development scholarship of teaching and learning programmes at individual institutions for higher learning. We will look at various models of programmes in operation or in development to inform our discussion and develop frameworks that might be useful in recognizing and promoting programmes that meet the needs of their local institutions as well as the national context.
I think the connection to the seminar topic connects directly to this one. I would imagine that the framework you we are talking about here would greatly inform any national recogntion of faculty SOTL programmes offered through teaching centres across the country.
(Edited by Sylvia Currie - original submission Friday, 20 March 2009, 05:46 AM. Removed Microsoft Word html code)
Thanks for sharing this Peter.
This conference does sound like an important step for keeping the information and ideas circulating. I think the survey and input from diverse subject/content teaching areas will help too. I like the idea of incentives to improve teacher efforts and some rewards for going beyond -- excellence, being very innovative, mentoring others in teaching standards, and sharing with new teachers about teaching at the post-secondary level.
A framework - as in, a provincial framework - might be the step farther down the path. I would think the local and the provincial union would be involved, since presumably such a framework would have implications for getting and keeping positions. I'm not a big fan of getting the provincial ministry of advanced education involved, because that's a might big foot.
As my institution tussles with rank and tenure and resulting issues to to with promotion and job security, and as we affirm that teaching is our central activity - a statement of "what means" good teaching is essential. So we're at a good place to have these conversations. As long as the conversation doesn't become a top-down, autocratic imposition of conventions, evaluation, grading, etc. Like our students, we like to know what an A+ means and what the criteria is for achieving such a level. Most faculty really care about the quality of our teaching, and think and talk about it endlessly, so framing the conversation (no pun intended) would be ... interesting.
I have found this discussion useful and provocative. I hope to be able to join further discussions on this topic. And if we're developing a working group - count me in!