VIU Faculty Leading the Way in Exploring Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning

VIU faculty member Alison Taplay feels inspired after attending a recent symposium on Scholarly Inquiry into Teaching Learning.

January 15, 2015 - 2:00pm

“It kind of fills you up.”

This was the reflection of VIU faculty member Alison Taplay, Disability Studies Coordinator and University instructor, on a sold out symposium she attended recently on Scholarly Inquiry into Teaching and Learning.

Organized through BCcampus, the symposium brought together faculty members from institutions across BC for in-depth discussions on how they could improve their teaching practices to enrich the learning experience of students.

“I found the collaborative spirit of the symposium particularly inspiring – all of us who attended were there to share ideas and experiences and discuss best practices that could benefit everyone,” says Taplay.

VIU was well represented at the symposium, with the largest delegation from BC’s post-secondary institutions: 35 out of 125 attendees were from VIU’s campuses. As well, four of the 20 presenters were VIU faculty.

Liesel Knaack, Director of VIU’s Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, played a key role in making the symposium happen and was thrilled with the result and also by how well VIU was represented.

“We talk a lot about how VIU is a teaching-focused university and how this sets us apart,” says Knaack. “I think the participation rates of VIU’s faculty both as participants and as presenters, demonstrates how true this is. Our faculty is extremely committed, always challenging themselves to improve their practice to benefit their students. It’s incredibly inspiring.”

Micki McCartney, Acting Principal of Powell River Campus, also attended the symposium. She said a lot of the delegates are keen to continue to meet and foster continued learning for faculty.

“Events such as these allow us to develop professionally, to test things we are involved in, to get feedback, and add to the dialogue in our disciplines,” says McCartney. “In truth they allow us to become better instructors because ultimately we want to serve our students in the best ways we can—and that only happens when we continue to develop and learn ourselves and then take that learning back into our classrooms.”

Taplay was also one of the presenters at the symposium and appreciated the opportunity to get feedback on her work from colleagues.

“I felt very supported at the symposium,” she says. “Sometimes, our work can be lonely. It’s easy to slip into working in silos within our own disciplines or encounter resistance when we try to change our approach.

“Events like this are a great reminder that there are many people working across disciplines and doing exactly what I’m doing - challenging myself to become a better teacher by exploring new ways of approaching teaching and learning. Isn’t that what it’s all about after all – becoming better teachers in order to provide our students with the most enriching educational experience possible?”

For more information on upcoming Teaching & Learning events please contact the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning at 740.6167.

To view opening and closing keynote presentations from 2014 symposium:

To view 2014 Symposium Schedule of Sessions:

Note: The 2015 Symposium on Scholarly Inquiry into Teaching and Learning Practice will take place Friday, November 13, 2015 in downtown Vancouver. Proposals and more details will be coming out in early April. 

Tags: Teaching and Learning

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