By David Sorensen
Memorial will be well represented at an important and innovative
gathering of university teachers next month. When the American
Association of Higher Education meets in San Diego, it will
bring together for the first time a group of award-winning
teachers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The American Carnegie Fellows will host a session with United
Kingdom’s Teaching Fellows and Canada’s 3M Teaching
Fellows. And of the dozen 3M Teaching Fellows attending the
meeting, two are from Memorial: Shane O’Dea, English,
and Dr. Michael Collins, acting vice-president (academic)
– the highest number from any Canadian university.
“This will be an international collaboration on teaching
and learning issues,” said Mr. O’Dea, “and
it will likely develop a long-term level of contact that we
haven’t had before.”
The issues up for discussion include the impact of high-level
teaching awards on policy and change at the campus and national
levels; commitment indicators: mapping the progress towards
institutional commitment to teaching and learning; external
reviews of teaching and the scholarship of teaching when important
decisions are pending; identifying projects that would benefit
most from international dialogue and effort; and strategies
whereby seasoned award-winning teacher-scholars could share
their legacy at the international level.
Mr. O’Dea said while the meeting is a good start, it
is crucial that it leads to further collaboration among university
teachers. He said there’s a real need to promote good
teaching on campuses across the country. “How do we
re-assert the importance of teaching in increasingly research-intensive
institutions?” he said. “How should we fund and
staff instructional development offices? How should we measure
“These are among some of the questions we might discuss
in San Diego.”
3M Teaching Fellowships recognize excellence in teaching over
an extended period of time, principally but not exclusively
at the undergraduate level, and also acknowledges educational
leadership in commitment to the improvement of university
teaching within the candidate’s own institution. Mr.
O’Dea received the award in 2002 and Dr. Collins was
honoured in 1998 while teaching in the Department of Biology.