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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice

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TAGSA [clear filter]
Tuesday, June 16
 

9:00am

9:30am

Colleagues, collaborators, friends – Assessing the certificate program in university teaching and learning in action
In 2013, the three facilitators participated in the Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (CPUTL) where they were tasked with developing a workshop on teaching assessment. Individual motivations for attending the CPUTL and expectations for the program differed significantly between the three facilitators. Learning to navigate and appreciate these differences helped to develop relationships that evolved from collegial, to collaborative, to friends. After successfully graduating from the CPUTL, the facilitators have continued to work together and to offer their workshop on assessment for a number of different audiences. In this interactive presentation, participants have the opportunity to experience a “meta-workshop” that provides insight into how the facilitators learned to work together and balance each other’s strengths. Facilitators will lead the learner-focused workshop designed to encourage participants to take control of assessment practices, and frame it with reflections on how the workshop has been fine-tuned through an on-going practice of assessment, reflection, and collaboration. Offering a behind-the-scenes look at how the workshop was developed will encourage participants to appreciate how different approaches and expectations between colleagues can lead to successful collaboration. Facilitators are keen to share how their positive experience in the CPUTL has influenced their teaching and learning both within and outside of academia. In doing so, the facilitators also seek to engage participants in a discussion of how they have put the skills learned in programs focused on scholarly teaching and learning, like the CPUTL, into practice to take advantage of personal, professional, and scholarly opportunities.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 9:30am - 10:30am
Cypress 2 Room

9:30am

Engaging the gifts of graduate students
Student engagement refers to the resources, effort and time invested by learners and their educational institutions towards enhancing student experience and development and academic outcomes (Trowler, 2010). According to research in higher education contexts (Kuh, Crurce, Shoup &, Kinzie, 2008) engaged students are more likely to persist and achieve greater academic success. The Centre for Academic and Professional Engagement (CAPE), the engagement arm of Simon Fraser University’s Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows has developed a unique model of student engagement by applying principles embedded within an asset-based approach, such as the framework popularized by Kretzmann &, McKnight (2006).The CAPE team includes communications and engagement officers, a professional development planner, an International Student coordinator and an Indigenous Student coordinator. These five individuals work closely together to offer graduate students a combination of professional development training, individual advising, community building, academic enrichment events, and social media spaces which support students to discover their own strengths, connect with each other, and ultimately foster a high-performing community of graduate students. In this session the five members of CAPE will present on the synthesis between an asset-based approach and an Indigenous approach (Lee Brown’s definition of indigenous leadership which situates finding one’s gift as central to developing community) and its connection to the success of graduate students. Participants will then explore this approach in a World Cafe format in order to gain a deeper understanding of how it can apply to their own contexts.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 9:30am - 10:30am
Cypress 1 Room

10:45am

Teaching assistant (TA) competencies: Testing theory through practice
The development of a national set of teaching assistant (TA) competencies for use by Canadian higher education institutions was initiated in the fall of 2012 by Teaching Assistant and Graduate Student Advancement (TAGSA), a special interest group (SIG) of the Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). This work built off limited literature that delved into TA and graduate student competencies (Schonwetter & Ellis, 2007, Simpson & Smith, 1993). Since the initial meeting at the Educational Developers Caucus (EDC) conference in February, 2013, a group of professionals have come together at subsequent working group sessions at the annual EDC conference and STLHE conference to develop the competencies. Throughout the process, members of TAGSA believed in the importance of an iterative consultative process to inform the creation of the competencies (Korpan, Le-May Sheffield, & Verwoord, 2015). At the STLHE 2014 session, members decided it was time to put theory into practice and test the competencies.

Since STLHE 2014, several institutions have used the TA competencies to support graduate student development. This workshop invites participants from these institutions to share their challenges and successes in using the competencies in order to encourage small group discussion about further development and implementation at more institutions. The intended audience for this workshop is anyone involved with or interested in teaching assistant and/or graduate student development, including graduate students, educational developers, administrators, as well as participants who are interested in considering how TA competencies might be used to support graduate student development at their own institution.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 10:45am - 11:20am
Cypress 1 Room

11:25am

World Café
Small table discussion about topics defined during the opening welcome.

Drawing on seven integrated design principles, the World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue.

World Café is composed of five components:

1) Setting: Create a "special" environment, most often modelled after a café, i.e. small round tables covered with a checkered tablecloth, butcher block paper, colored pens, a vase of flowers, and optional "talking stick" item. There should be four chairs at each table.

2) Welcome and Introduction: The host begins with a warm welcome and an introduction to the World Café process, setting the context, sharing the Cafe Etiquette, and putting participants at ease.

3) Small Group Rounds: The process begins with the first of three or more twenty minute rounds of conversation for the small group seated around a table. At the end of the twenty minutes, each member of the group moves to a different new table. They may or may not choose to leave one person as the "table host" for the next round, who welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.

4) Questions: each round is prefaced with a question designed for the specific context and desired purpose of the session. The same questions can be used for more than one round, or they can be built upon each other to focus the conversation or guide its direction.

5) Harvest: After the small groups (and/or in between rounds, as desired) individuals are invited to share insights or other results from their conversations with the rest of the large group. These results are reflected visually in a variety of ways, most often using graphic recorders in the front of the room.

 


Tuesday June 16, 2015 11:25am - 12:00pm
Cypress 2 Room

1:30pm

Standing to preach, moving to teach
There is an art to moving in the classroom which graduate students may not consider when planning their lessons yet in doing so can help reduce many problems in teaching. This session provides participants with ample opportunity to reflect, consider how movement can differ depending on classroom configurations, how this can affect teaching strategies(see refs), and practice fine tuning their movement in the classroom. Participants will be given two diagrams, a traditional classroom and an Active Learning Classroom (ALC), and sketch out how they would move around the room to attend to all students and what teaching strategies they could use in each room. Participants will then discuss their drawings with other participants in small groups. Next a case study will be presented on four Teaching Assistants from one course who taught the same session twice in one day in a traditional classroom and ALC. The findings from the study will be compared with the participants’ drawings and participants will plan out the most efficient route in attending to students in two classrooms. The furniture in the room will be reorganized, half reflecting a traditional room, and half in groups. Half the participants will be in the role of the instructor attending to the other half of the participants seated in the two configurations, and then switch roles. Debriefing period will conclude the session with discussions on what was learned and what they will take away, and then exit tickets.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Cypress 1 Room

1:30pm

Tuning into GTAs: Querying perceived expectations and challenges in acting as educational leaders in their departments
Teaching and learning centers (TLCs) at Canadian universities face the challenge of providing contextually relevant educational development (ED) support to the campus from a typically central location (Taylor & Bédard, 2010). Often, they provide training to graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), and some centers have begun to go further, taking a distributed leadership (DL) approach through a network of discipline-specific GTAs acting as mentors to their peers. This allows for local and discipline-specific peer support, increases the reach of a TLC, and may foster a culture of teaching and learning in departments with such lead GTAs. For the lead GTAs themselves, there is the opportunity to develop leadership and pedagogical competencies, and to leverage the experience towards their CV. The value of GTA peer support has long been acknowledged (see Puccio, 1986), and the importance of DL for ED is gaining attention (see Christensen-Hughes & Mighty, 2010). While the idea is theoretically sound, how harmonious it will be in practice is not covered in the literature. The purpose of this 60 minute interactive session is to query participant interest in, and perspectives on, the idea of a lead GTA-type program for educational development in the disciplines. General themes to be developed through group activities are: (1) expectations of such a position (support, benefits, etc.), and (2) perceived challenges in taking a leadership role (e.g. departmental culture, existing GTA roles, etc.).
While the main audience for this session is GTAs, opinions from faculty members, administration, and TLC staff would also be valuable.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Cypress 2 Room

3:00pm

Assessing TA training: Teaching assistant, student and faculty perspectives
With increasing course enrollments and many graduate students holding research assistantship positions, the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia employs both graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants to support students enrolled in undergraduate courses. Undergraduate TAs have expectations, concerns, levels of experience, pay rates, and relationships with students and the department that differ from graduate TAs (Hogan et al., 2007). Faculty must balance needs of TAs with their own needs for assistance as well as provide mentorship and professional development opportunities to their TAs. Undergraduate students have their own learning goals that may be impacted by the TA’s knowledge and ability (Bland & Sleightholme, 2012; Shannon, Twale & Moore, 1998). Thus, an investigation into TA training is paramount. Drawing upon anonymous survey data from teaching assistants, faculty and undergraduate students as well as focus group data with TAs, this session will discuss the current UBC Sociology TA training program and present strategies for strengthening TA training. By the end of this session, participants will be able to identify: 1) training needs of both undergraduate and graduate TAs and note the implications of these differences; 2) TA training needs of faculty; 3) TA training needs of undergraduate students; and 4) strategies for best meeting the needs of these four groups. The session will conclude with participant driven discussion of best practices for TA training. Our presentation may help establish best practices for the structure of TA training programs in post-secondary institutions.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Cypress 2 Room

3:00pm

Tuning into teaching as craft: Conceptual change and emerging identities in a peer-based TA training program
An ongoing struggle in graduate student teaching development is not only to increase effectiveness in the classroom, but to instil an engagement in teaching as part of holistic scholarly practice (Pentecoste, Langdon, Asirvatham, Robus &, Parson, 2012, Sandi-Urena, Cooper &, Gatlin, 2011). This session will explore a model for a peer-based teaching assistant training program at a large, research-intensive university that seems to enable such a conceptual shift and encourage peer trainers and the students with whom they work to view themselves as teaching scholars and creative practitioners. Through a preliminary analysis of qualitative data from graduate student reflections and evaluations, a recent mixed-methods study, a collaborative auto-ethnography by graduate student peer trainers, and reflections from program administrators, this session will examine the question: what conditions in such a program foster an expanded view of teaching and an emerging identity as a critically reflective educator? Early analysis points to some key themes that have also emerged in graduate student professional development literature (Brower, Carlson-Dakes &, Shu Barger, 2007, Sweitzer, 2009): the ability to set defined teaching goals, shared ownership and commitment, the ability to connect practice to theory, the willingness and ability to experiment and take risks, the sense of belonging to a community, mentorship and feedback. Through experiencing discussion activities intended to move thinking around graduate student teaching support beyond “tips & tricks, participants will be invited to fine-tune their own conceptualization of graduate student teaching development, and to consider how and where graduate student teachers in their own institutions are enabled to shift pedagogical stances, take risks, share goals in short, tune into their practice.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Cypress 1 Room

3:35pm

Roundtable 1: Debating the value of interdisciplinarity to graduate student professional development
The extent to which interdisciplinary interactions invigorate teaching methodologies has been debated throughout educational literature. Some argue, for example, that “the traditional notion of academic disciplines . . . fails to reflect the changing context of higher education (Davies and Devlin, 2007). Others, such as Anna Jones, have suggested that “a de-decisciplined approach to generic skills has led to problems in the areas of educational policy and practice (2009). This session, led by three graduate students with experience in various interdisciplinary professional development programs at a Canadian university, will challenge participants to address these perspectives from within their own academic experience and disciplinary and/or educational development lens.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 3:35pm - 4:00pm
Cypress 1 Room

3:35pm

Roundtable 2: The development and implementation of one-hour teaching assistant workshops

Graduate student teaching assistants require training to develop from “reluctant teaching assistants into mature, capable teachers” (Siebring, 1972).  Workshops are an excellent way to foster this development, but the length of these workshops has been debated (Garet, 2001; Goodlad, 1997).  The objective of this session will be to support shorter, more frequent workshops as opposed to fewer, longer workshops as presented by a department appointed lead graduate student teaching assistant (Teaching Assistant Consultant) from September 2014 to April 2015.  These workshops were presented over lunch, for one hour, twice a month and were of two flavours: half were professional development and half were visits from faculty and lab staff that came to share their teaching stories.  A handout will be provided to participants detailing the nature of each workshop, the reception and attendance of each by graduate students, and the successes of the program (as well as suggestions for improvement).

Garet, M., Porter, A., Desimone, L., Birman, B., & Yoon, K. (2001). What makes professional development effective: Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915-945.

Goodlad, S. (1997). Responding to the perceived training needs of graduate teaching assistants. Studies in Higher Education, 22(1), 83-92.

Siebring, B. R. (1972). A training program for teaching assistants. Improving College and University Teaching, 20(2), 98-99.



Tuesday June 16, 2015 3:35pm - 4:00pm
Cypress 1 Room

3:35pm

Roundtable 3: Using established standards to develop teaching competencies in graduate student teaching assistants
Graduate student teaching assistants (GTA) are integral members of the teaching community in higher education. It is important that GTAs are well prepared for their significant role in undergraduate education and that their approach to teaching and learning is in harmony with the goals and practice of the teaching community in their unit or institution. The training of GTAs and opportunities for professional development tend to be ad hoc and tailored to the discipline, teaching context and level of institutional support. Recent developments by a NSF-funded initiative have articulated competencies of a model GTA and aligned GTA training program standards (http://www.bio.utk.edu/biotap/). These competencies and standards can be useful in the design or revision of training programs. The purpose of this workshop is for participants to use a rubric of these standards to compare the elements of a GTA training program developed at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Participants will then consider the alignment of their current or future GTA training programs to these standards. The effectiveness of TA training and professional development experiences can be documented using a variety of assessment tools. One TA training program developed at UBC was assessed using a self-report survey of GTAs. The results aligned well with the established standards revealing standards that were met as well deficiencies of programs which can now be addressed by the developers.

Speakers
AS

Adriana Suarez-Gonzalez (University of British Columbia)

FLEXIBLE LEARNING EVALUATION COORDINATOR, University of British Columbia
Adriana coordinates the evaluation initiatives of the different flexible learning projects that are currently underway across UBC’s faculties and departments, as well of those flexible learning projects in various planning stages. She provides consultation and assists in the development... Read More →


Tuesday June 16, 2015 3:35pm - 4:00pm
Cypress 1 Room

4:05pm

Mentee and mentor skill enhancement in a student-led peer mentorship program
Student peers are uniquely positioned to mentor one another in a way they often perceive to be less evaluative and hierarchical than faculty-student mentoring relationships (Girard & Musielak, 2012). This session will discuss the Sociology student-led peer mentorship program where graduate student mentors and undergraduate student mentees are matched based on mentees’ desired skill development and mutual areas of interest. By the end of this session, participants will be able to identify: 1) unique mentorship needs of senior undergraduate students working toward post-baccalaureate education, 2) how a peer-led mentorship program can address some of these needs, and 3) strategies for structuring a mentorship program that successfully meets undergraduate student needs and provides opportunities for graduate students to develop leadership skills. Our research is based on pre- and post-program surveys and focus groups of mentee and mentor participants. Analysis of this data reveals changes in respondents’ self-described capabilities to take on research, teaching, and interpersonal tasks. In discussing the findings, we stress the mentorship needs of senior undergraduate students completing Honours theses, applying to post-baccalaureate programs, and/or working as teaching assistants for the first time. This group of students is often overlooked within the mentorship literature focused on first year undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty (Countryman & Zinck, 2013, Goff, 2011, Le Cornu, 2005). The session will conclude with a participant-driven discussion of best practices for structuring mentorship programs. Overall, our presentation can help establish best practices for the structure of academic peer mentorship programs in post-secondary institutions.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 4:05pm - 5:00pm
Cypress 1 Room

4:05pm

TA Training – Thinking like a TA after being a student: A change in perspective

This session will focus on training techniques to help bridge the gap between undergraduate students becoming a teacher for the first time, and will be of particular interest to those running Teaching Assistant (TA) training programs, and for faculty wishing to better support first-time TA’s.

During this session, attendees will develop techniques to incorporate into TA Training programs designed to transition the perspective of new TA’s from students to first time teachers. Attendees will also develop an appreciation for some of the challenges and hurdles facing first-time TA’s, and how to better support them in their student-teacher transition.

Attendees will take part in a brief activity as if they were first time TA’s: Good TA/Bad TA.   The activity involves sharing both positive and negative experiences while had during undergrad, i.e. from the perspective of a student.  The perspective is then switched to that of a teacher, and these experiences are evaluated and commented on. The comments will be briefly discussed afterwards, with a focus on how many of the ‘good’ experiences are no longer good from the TA perspective and how the bad experiences really can happen. As a group, participants will take a step back from the activity and discuss how it was useful, how it can be adapted to different situations, and what could be added or removed depending on application. The activity also reveals to the instructor what are some of the most common perspectives of their new TA’s.



Tuesday June 16, 2015 4:05pm - 5:00pm
Cypress 2 Room