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Teaching and Learning Recognized

by Wenona Partridge

The opportunities for University of Saskatchewan graduate students and faculty to develop professionally as teachers and to be recognized for their teaching abilities have been expanded in the second planning cycle through the development of new courses, programs and events, increased curriculum consultation and the development of new teaching awards.

Instructional Skills for Graduate Students introduces basic pedagogical theories and instructional skills to students with no prior teaching experience and is delivered by the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (GMCTE). Other courses on teaching for graduate students include GSR 989: Foundations of University Teaching, for graduate students with some prior teaching experience, and GSR 982: Mentored Teaching, for PhD students who are teaching a course in partnership with a faculty mentor.

Faculty are offered many opportunities to improve their teaching skills through workshops, events and consultation services. Workshops are led by faculty from across campus and beyond, as well as GMCTE staff, on topics such as teaching strategies, pedagogical theory and assessment. Participation in workshops and individual consultations with specialists in course design and curriculum development in the GMCTE increased exponentially in the second planning cycle. In 2011, the GMCTE mandate has been expanded to offer instructional design and curriculum development support.

In June 2011, the university hosted the annual international Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) conference The conference theme was From Here to the Horizon: Diversity and Inclusive Practice in Higher Education. The event featured internationally known speakers and topics like student experience, diversity and engagement, all of which aligned with the institutional commitments in the Second Integrated Plan.

The conference celebrated the recipients of several awards, including a 12-member team from the U of S, U of R and SIAST which received the Alan Blizzard Award for their Saskatchewan Interprofessional Problem-Based Learning project. Fred Phillips from the Edwards School of Business received his 3M National Teaching Award at this event.

Twenty-one new provost’s teaching awards were created, including:  16 college teaching awards plus the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Education, The Provost’s Award for Excellence in International Teaching, The Provost’s Award for Outstanding Innovation in Learning, the Outstanding New Teacher Award, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award. These awards compliment the USSU teaching awards and the U of S Master Teacher career award. Recipients can be found at http://www.usask.ca/gmcte/awards/collegeawards/archive.