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Draft teaching and learning report issued

September 10, 2009

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A new emphasis on learning expectations for students is just one of the recommendations in the draft report from SFU’s Task-force on Teaching and Learning (TFTL).

The report addresses issues and solutions at the institutional, policy, teaching and curriculum levels but, most importantly, it heralds a cultural change that highlights the value of teaching.

Bill Krane, associate VP-academic and task force chair, says the university has done a good job of emphasizing its research mission. But it needs to equally emphasize the university’s other mission: teaching and learning.

"The entire university is engaged in some way in teaching and learning," he says, "yet this hasn’t reached the same level of consciousness within our community."

The report stresses the need for a new structure to improve communication and collaboration among faculty and instructors and the myriad teaching and learning support units on campus.

It recommends establishing a university council on teaching and learning that would include members from both camps who can together identify and assess priorities and identify resources.

The report’s main recommendations are:
  • A vision statement and principles around teaching and learning, learning expectations for students, and more varied learning experiences with clear learning outcomes.
  • Improving recognition, evaluation and rewarding of teaching.
  • Establishing a stronger teaching and learning support system.
  • Improving community and communication.

"The draft recommendations are exciting," says special projects advisor Stephanie Chu, who helped manage the task-force initiative.

"There’s a lot more potential for people to meet, collaborate and draw on each other’s experiences, try new ideas and recognize and celebrate our teaching and learning. Change will take time, but the possibilities of a more enthusiastic community are exciting to envision."

Students, instructors and staff can discuss the draft recommendations at a Burnaby campus public forum Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 2:30-4 pm in ASB 10900 (IRMACS theatre).

Participants can also watch and ask questions via a live webcast at www.lidc.sfu.ca/webcasts/ or read the report at www.sfu.ca/tftl.

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