For educators, it’s often the stories of growth and transformation that matter the most. Instead of cycling through social media apps this morning, grab a coffee and take a few minutes to read about the experiences, moments and lessons that have shaped teaching and learning at UCalgary.
The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (TI) has released its 2023 Community Report. The report outlines the Institute's impact and progress over the past 18 months.
The changes felt by educators over the last few years have been ever-present, arriving with no shortage of opportunities to reflect on the ways post-secondary learning practices are conceived and delivered. Teaching and learning are important pillars of the University of Calgary's Ahead of Tomorrow strategy, and it’s the creativity of educators in the classroom and support for new approaches to teaching that will move us forward.
“With demand for post-secondary education expected to rise dramatically by 2030, educators have an opportunity to shape the changing landscape of education and introduce innovative programs and approaches to teaching that equip students with the skills to navigate change in their lives,” says Dr. Leslie Reid, MSc'97, PhD'03, vice-provost of Teaching and Learning. “Taking a future-focused approach means understanding that the most meaningful outcomes are the products of amazing students who enhance the communities around them.”
This past spring, the Conference for Postsecondary Learning and Teaching brought educators from across the continent together under the theme of Collective Transformation. The theme was reflected in the lessons and learnings gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, both in keynote presentations about the importance of storytelling, reflection, equity and care, and in the 126 sessions presented by educators at UCalgary and beyond.
“By sharing expertise and experiences, we support each other and this incredible community,” says Dr. Natasha Kenny, PhD, senior director of the TI. “At the Taylor Institute, the work with faculties, units and individual educators is guided by care, courage and connection — values that allow us to continue to offer professional-learning opportunities and programming that contribute to our work.”
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As indicated in the Community Report, support for teaching and learning at UCalgary over the last 18 months was reflected in the delivery of 102 workshops, 115 certificates and 612 badges, as well as more than $850,000 awarded to projects through UCalgary's Teaching and Learning Grants Program in 2022 and 2023. As part of the University of Calgary Teaching Awards, 31 educators were recognized across 14 categories, including the inaugural Award for Indigenous Ways of Knowing. A new Award for Inclusive Excellence was developed in partnership with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and launched in 2023.
The last 18 months have seen the expansion of experiential-learning opportunities for undergraduate students. Milestones include a generous $3.75-million donation from the Sinneave Family Foundation that laid the groundwork for developing tools to help employers support neurodiverse students in work-integrated learning.
Additionally, 390 undergraduate students participated in courses designed to introduce the research process through unique lessons and targeted mentorship. One notable opportunity for field learning saw a cohort of urban studies students present their city planning projects to administration at The City of Calgary and elected officials in the council chambers.
UCalgary’s teaching and learning community thrives on the expertise and curiosity that its educators and students bring to the table each year. For more information about Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning programming, events and initiatives, please visit the TI's website.