Academic Director’s June Update – Professional Development Events

After the end of classes in April, May brings a time of renewal, community, and reflection for instructors, and the ability to participate in numerous events hosted by CTL. Celebrate Learning Week, a collaboration between CTL and CTLT at UBCV, consisted of over 30 events and workshops with hundreds of participants. I had the privilege in participating in many of those events including the Leadership Panel on AI, the AI Tech Panel, and the Closing Plenary Panel – Reflections on the Future of Teaching and Learning, Scholarship, and Practice of the Thompson-Okanagan Teaching and Learning Conference. It is motivating and inspiring to engage with so many passionate instructors and participants. Although we are all trying to figure out exactly the impacts of AI and other technologies on university education, it is comforting to be part of a community striving to improve education and putting students at the centre of our collective mission. If you missed these sessions, videos and resources are available. 

The Thompson-Okanagan Teaching and Learning Conference was a major success with over 75 participants in various sessions over the two days. Highlights included Jessica Riddell’s opening keynote challenging us to embrace hope and “living in the questions” as we seek out change and improvement in university education. There were many interesting sessions including lightning talks, presentations, and longer workshops. The community was incredibly positive and supportive of the re-launch of this conference, and we look forward to next year at TRU. Thank you to the entire CTL/CTLT team for organizing Celebrate Learning Week and conference events with special thanks to Riley Petillion as conference chair, Michelle Slade for the event planning, and Barbara Komlos and Abir Cosyn for delivering sessions. Thank you to all presenters and participants of Celebrate Learning Week 2024. 

The first recipients of the Teaching Fellow Award will complete their terms on July 1st. I want to personally thank the ten 2023 Teaching Fellows: Peter Arthur, Myron Campbell, Greg duManoir, Tamara Ebl, Alon Eisenstein, Natalie Forssman, Sajni Lacey, Firas Moosvi, Sally Stewart, and Robin Young. Through their collective efforts and collaboration with the CTL, major initiatives were advanced including new Communities of Practice, workshops on AI, assessment, and badging, development of new certificate programs including the Learning Design Certificate and the Teaching in Higher Education Certificate, and helping direct CTL priorities as members of the CTL Advisory Group. The Teaching Fellow Awards for 2024 will be announced by the end of June. 

Planning for the fall during the summer months is a great strategy to avoid the stress of last-minute preparations before the fall semester. CTL continues to offer workshops and individual consultations during the summer months, including the Course Design Intensive to help with redesigning your courses. As we adapt and embrace AI technology, critical evaluation of our course content and delivery is especially important. 

Enjoy the summer months! 

Ramon Lawrence 

CTL Academic Director