Communities of Practice

We are happy to announce that the CTL will support the launch of the following Faculty Communities of Practice (CoP) in the upcoming academic year. To join a community of practice, please email Janine.hirtz@ubc.ca and you will be added as a member to the community and to the Teams collaboration space.

Introduction

Teaching, research and leadership is at the core of all we do at UBC. This CoP aims to facilitate the growth, success, and innovation in all our teaching and EL initiatives, and to provide a collaborative, supportive, and social environment to do so.  Striving to be an institution that leads, inspires and enables students through excellence in transformative teaching is our daily challenge, and better to tackle it enthusiastically together.  This CoP will be beneficial for, and we welcome, both new and experienced faculty/lecturers/sessional instructors. Teaching excellence is at the heart of it, and often where our EL inspirations come from.

Objectives

The objectives of this CoP are to:

  • Bring faculty together to help create, innovate, focus (eg. find your focus/niche/strengths), share and collaborate on teaching/SoTL and EL initiatives
  • Identify needs and challenges of teaching and EL work and provide support; whether a new teaching or seasoned professor
  • Provide opportunities for learning the breadth and opportunities (including grants etc.) for teaching, EL work, and the leadership skills required and resources to help
  • Further the understanding of teaching excellence, EL, what it is, and its value
  • Sharing effective strategies to promote teaching excellence
  • Identify and work synergistically with related institutional units, CoPs and the Educational Leadership Network (ELNET)

Faculty Coordinators/Facilitators

Bowen Hui – Associate Professor of Teaching, Computer Science – bowen.hui@ubc.ca

Sally Stewart – Associate Professor of Teaching, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, FHSD – sally.willis-stewart@ubc.ca

CTL Coordinator

Janine Hirtz, Assistant Director of the Centre for Teaching & Learning – janine.hirtz@ubc.ca

Meeting Dates and Format

Meetings will be held during the third week of the month. Times and days will vary between each term to allow for more people to attend the CoP.  Meetings will be held in SCI 331. Please join us when you can.

  • Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023 (2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, SCI 331)
  • Friday, Jan. 19, 2024 (11:30 am-12:30 pm, SCI 331)
  • Friday, Mar.22, 2024 (11:30 am-12:30 pm, SCI 331)
  • Friday, May 17, 2024 (11:30 am-12:30 pm, SCI 331)

Email Janine.hirtz@ubc.ca to gain access to the Teams Channel for this Faculty Learning Community of Practice.

Introduction 

Welcome to one of our new Community of Practice group for the upcoming academic year.  We are excited to offer this valuable and needed opportunity to support your teaching excellence, and of course, your students. 

Why Focus on Wellbeing in Teaching and Learning:  

There is strong evidence that student wellbeing is critically linked to learning, engagement, resiliency and academic success.  Wellbeing is a factor contributing to academic tenacity and helps students weather the challenges and demands of the transition into, and while attending university. In addition, the classroom environment and professor approaches to teaching can greatly and positively influence student wellbeing. Student, faculty and staff wellbeing is an institutional priority as documented in our most recent strategic plans and is strongly linked to the mandates expressed in other institutional initiatives around EDI, ARIE, IAP, and Climate Action. 

Objectives 

The objective of this CoP is to bring teaching and support faculty together for the opportunity to share, discuss and gain ideas, resources, challenges and successes for teaching wellbeing, and furthermore, to offer support and mentorship for doing so. We will also invite different faculty members to some meetings to highlight some of their successful practices. 

Faculty Coordinators/Facilitators 

  • Dr. Sally Stewart, Associate Professor of Teaching, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, FHSD. sally.willis-stewart@ubc.ca  
  • [Please let us know if you are interested in co-facilitating!] 

CTL Coordinator 

Electra Eleftheriadou, PhD, Educational Consultant for Inclusion. Electra.eleftheriadou@ubc.ca  

Meeting Dates and Format 

Meetings will be held during the third week of the month and alternating months with our partner C of P on Educational Leadership.  Times and days will vary from term 1 and 2 to allow for more people to attend the CoP.  Meetings will be held in SCI 331. Please join us when you can. 

  • Thursdays, Oct. 19, Dec. TBA, 2023 (2:30 – 3:30 pm, SCI 331) 
  • Fridays, Feb. 16, 2023 (11:30am-12:30 pm, SCI 331) 

 

Introduction 

Inclusive excellence is a core area in UBC’s Strategic Plan, and the forthcoming accessibility plan asserts the importance of access in teaching and learning. Place-based teaching and learning can take many forms and stems from a commitment to the specificities-of and obligations-to place, which includes an imperative to decolonize our classrooms and teaching approaches. These priorities are important to many of us, yet we lack open, shared spaces to dig into the specificities of our practices and reflect on new possibilities in a supportive environment.  

In teaching, one of the best ways to learn from each other, and also one of the most rarely used, is to invite others into our classrooms so that we can see one another in action. Thus, part of this community of practice’s approach will be to open our teaching spaces up to each other in a non-evaluative mode, so that we can observe and learn from each other. 

Objective 

In this community of practice, we seek to explore and share our teaching and learning strategies and practices with a focus on how we can better centre access and inclusion in active, experiential, and place-based pedagogies. This will be achieved through building relationships within our membership and creating shared spaces to observe and support each other as we learn. We will encourage discussions on how we position ourselves and connect with place to guide our practices towards equity, diversity and inclusion.

Facilitators 

  • Dr Natalie Forssman, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Community, Culture and Global Studies, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (natalie.forssman@ubc.ca) 
  • Dr Robin Young, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Biology, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science (robin.young@ubc.ca) 
  • Dr Electra Eleftheriadou, Educational Consultant for Inclusion, Centre for Teaching and Learning (electra.eleftheriadou@ubc.ca) 

Meeting Format 

Learning by doing, learning by observing, and learning in dialogue are the professional development pedagogies we hope to enact and make space for through this community of practice.  

While creating an open space to discuss ideas, challenges, successes, and scholarly literature on access, inclusion, and place-based teaching and learning is the broader goal of this community of practice, we propose to reach this goal by piloting a Teaching Squares approach to facilitate a space to reflect on our teaching through non-evaluative observation of the teaching of our peers. Teaching Squares, sometimes re-purposed as Teaching Triangles is an approach where instructors are clustered in small groups of 3-4 that emphasize diversity of discipline and diversity of social connectivity within each group, as well as non-conflicting teaching schedules. Each member of the group observes the teaching of at least two other members of the group, and then the group meets for conversations that focus less on what the instructors did (feedback), and more on what the observers learned about their own teaching, by reflecting on the practices of their peers and the effects of those practices on students (self-reflection). We explicitly invite all educators and interested Postdoctoral Fellows to join this community of practice, even if some may not have teaching assignments in the upcoming term. 

Each Teaching Square will be facilitated by the Faculty and CTL facilitators and, depending on the level of interest in this community of practice, several Teaching Squares will run simultaneously, with whole-group meetings to complement the learning happening in those smaller clusters.  

Meeting Dates 

The commitment to join this community of practice and participate in one cycle of the Teaching Squares engagement will be approximately 10 hours over the course of two terms. More information about the format of the time commitment is as follows: 

  • We will hold a (1.5 hr) initial meeting and information-sharing session on Thursday, October 12th at 2pm in the Central Courtyard by the Science Building (or in SCI 331, if it’s cold outside) where we will explore and co-articulate group priorities and approaches. After this meeting, the groupings for Teaching Squares or Triangles will be formalized by the facilitators, integrating relevant preferences and constraints from the participants. 
  • Each group of 3-4 will meet once (1 hr) to describe the specifics of their course, including exchanging syllabi, understanding the context of the course within their teaching trajectory and goals, and understanding why each participant has chosen to join the group. This meeting is also devoted to creating a robust agreement of expectations and confidentiality between the participants such that, for example, participants agree to confine specific details of an observation to the ensuing discussion, while using the ideas generated in the discussion beyond the boundaries of the group without identifying names. The date of these smaller meetings will be determined once the groups are formed. 
  • Each participant will be expected to observe two classes (2 x 1.5 hr), meet for two post-observation brief chats (2 x 0.5 hr), engage in a reflection discussion with their group of 3-4 (1 hr) and attend a whole-group end of Teaching Squares cycle wrap-up and get-together in Term 2 (1.5 hr). 
  • A winter whole-group optional check-in meeting (1.5 hr) will provide participants with an opportunity to exchange learnings and refine goals and process. The date of the whole-group check-in meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 13th at 1:00pm in SCI 331. 

If you have any questions or would like to participate and the initial meeting time/place doesn’t work for you, please reach out to Natalie, Robin or Electra over email.