The University as an institution serves as a catalyst and context for learning and scholarship. It brings together learners and other members of the educational community in an environment conducive to learning and discovery. The institution plays a critical role in ensuring the quality and quantity of learning opportunities available to students, and in providing the teaching and learning resources that will optimize the student learning experience. To fulfil its institutional role, the University of Saskatchewan (including its academic, administrative, and support units, as well as its governance bodies) needs to make the following commitments. These can be summarized as Provide Opportunities, Ensure Quality, Build Environment, and Support Learning.
Institutional Commitment 1: Provide Opportunities.
Offer high quality programs for learning and discovery.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University develop and ground programs and curricula in ways that are socially relevant, adaptive, and responsive, and that will facilitate engagement with the relevant community. It requires that the University provides resources and activities to allow students to develop their interests beyond the experiences provided by their courses. It requires that programs and curricula be evaluated against the Learning Vision and Learning Goals identified in this Learning Charter, and be reviewed and adapted on an ongoing basis. It requires that every program be provided with the critical mass of teaching resources (particularly faculty resources) necessary to assure quality of program execution.
Foster learning partnerships.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University recognize that the student learning experience can be enhanced by appropriate interactions with various learning partners outside the university, and that the University strive to both facilitate these interactions and ensure that they occur in a way beneficial to all parties.
Institutional Commitment 2: Ensure Quality.
Ensure qualified instructors and effective instruction.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University ensure that all instructors possess both content and pedagogical competence for any course they are assigned to teach, and that instructors understand and accept their commitments and responsibilities as identified in this Learning Charter. It requires that the University provide opportunities for instructors to enhance their teaching skills, and considers teaching performance an important factor within all hiring and review processes. Where graduate teaching assistants and other university staff participate in instruction, the University will ensure that guidance and supervision is provided such that they can effectively perform their roles. The institution will ensure that staff providing learning support are well qualified, and will ensure the quality of services provided by support staff.
Promote research-enhanced learning.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University encourage fruitful and synergistic interaction between the research, scholarly and artistic work being conducted at this institution and the learning experience of the student. It requires that the University embrace the teacher-scholar model, under which most university instructors engage in both dissemination of knowledge and creation of new knowledge. It requires that students be given opportunities-appropriate to the nature of their programs-to learn (and to create new knowledge) through research and discovery.
Institutional Commitment 3: Build Environment.
Provide a safe, secure, and inclusive environment.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University provide a safe, secure and inclusive environment for all members of the university community. It requires that all members feel welcome and valued, and that administrative systems are designed and operated to minimize stress and avoid frustration.
Provide appropriate learning resources, facilities, and technology.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University provide appropriate classroom, research, and study environments for students; access to informational resources; and appropriate teaching and research technology to support teaching, learning, and student discovery within a context that supports both on-campus and distributed learning. This also requires that class sizes be set commensurately with the pedagogy that best fits their course content and learning objectives.
Institutional Commitment 4: Support Learning.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University help students to select programs appropriate to their particular abilities and preparation. Where better preparation is required, the University will counsel students on how they might obtain this preparation. The University will ensure that students understand their commitments and responsibilities-as identified in this Learning Charter-as a guide to how they can best achieve success in their learning pursuits. Honouring this commitment also requires that the University provide appropriate academic and other supports to students who experience various challenges to their learning, including challenges of a cultural, social, psychological, or physical nature.
Honouring this commitment requires that the University provide opportunities to instructors to maintain and improve the quality of their teaching. Course assignments need to be commensurate with the content and pedagogical needs of each teaching assignment and consideration of the full spectrum of responsibilities of each instructor. Instructors need to be supported with teaching and laboratory assistants and other support staff as appropriate to their teaching assignments.