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Vice-Presidents' Council supports educator teaching and learning resources

(L-R) Dr. Sandra MacDonald and Prof. Lynn Morrissey, the 2011 President's Award for Distinguished Teaching winners, with Dr. Gary Kachanoski.


By Heidi Wicks

The Vice-Presidents' Council (VPC) has approved several initiatives dedicated to an improved Teaching and Learning Community (TLC) at Memorial throughout the Teaching and Learning Framework process, which began in May 2010 and was unanimously endorsed through Senate in May 2011.

Since completion of the framework document, Memorial's Teaching and Learning Community continues to evolve. A blog at has been chronicling written and video stories of inspirational, memorable teaching and learning experiences for both educators and learners. A new website will be launched this spring, which will be a reference point for all educator and learner supports and services at the university.

Classroom Teaching Infrastructure Development Fund
The VPC has confirmed final allocations for the replacement of aging teaching equipment and modernization and upgrading of existing classroom space. The upgrades will promote innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, and allow for more efficient program delivery throughout Memorial's campuses.

Just over $3.67 million in funding was requested. In addition to the $1 million provided through the Classroom Teaching Infrastructure Development Fund (CTIDF), further funding totalling $385,000 has been allocated from the grant in lieu of tuition and $41,500 from one-time funding assigned for implementation of the Teaching and Learning Framework in support of the recommendation on informal gathering/learning spaces.

This significant additional investment will allow units to refurbish and enhance several of Memorial's aging classrooms on all campuses.

For the next five years, the grant in lieu of tuition will also contribute $621,000 per year to continue with classroom upgrades and modernization.

For information on proposal evaluation, please contact Roxanne Millan in the Office of the Provost.

Ongoing educator orientation
Over the past number of years, Memorial has developed a one-day orientation program that provides a comprehensive introduction to teaching and learning and research resources and services available at the university.

"Orientation for new faculty and per-course instructors is currently held twice a year and receives great feedback from our participants," said Tracey Pittman, manager, Academic Recruitment and Support (Office of Faculty Relations).

Ms. Pittman added that the office has recently begun viewing orientation as more than a one-day event.

"It's a process that begins when the new educators are hired and continue throughout the first few years of their appointment," she said. "One of the projects we're working on is to move all of the orientation materials within a Desire2Learn shell so that a new educator can access information about the institution without having to step on campus."

The goal is to make them feel supported each step of the way, she says.

"This is especially important for per-course instructors who may be engaged in full-time studies or work, and find out about their teaching assignments shortly before classes begin."

Teaching Skills Enhancement Program
Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) will create a new program that will be available to all educators, at any stage of their career, that participate in the learning and teaching community at the university.

Albert Johnson, associate director, Instructional Development Office, DELTS, who co-led the Teaching and Learning Framework process, said that during the consultation phase of the initiative, educators consistently requested access to resources that describe innovative teaching and help faculty design courses for their students.

The idea is to have resources available to all educators, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for those who would like more flexibility with their schedules when planning coursework. Learners can earn a certificate of completion while participating in these professional development activities if they complete specific tasks such as a teaching dossier or participate in dialogue sessions and workshops.

"These new resources – which may include video tutorials, documents, and webinars, as well as face-to-face sessions – will provide faculty with a number of approaches to access this type of professional development," he said. "It will be accessible as part of the ongoing enhanced faculty orientation.

"Teaching staff and graduate students will also be able to take advantage of the database at all times," Mr. Johnson continued. "So whether it's 3 p.m. in the afternoon or 3 a.m. in the morning, they can access help and advice without having to make an appointment with an instructional designer at DELTS."

The Teaching Skills Enhancement Program will be offered as part of the enhanced new educator orientation. Housed on DELTS' website, the program will begin with preliminary resources in the fall semester of 2012.

For further background information on the Teaching and Learning Framework process and consultations, please visit