Help wanted: semester in dialogue seeks co-teachers

June 29, 2006, volume 36, no. 5
By Diane Luckow

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SFU's successful semester in dialogue, now offered three semesters per year due to high student demand, recently hired a second full-time faculty member (Janet Moore) and is seeking more SFU faculty to co-teach.

Professor Mark Winston, who initiated and teaches the program, says he's looking for SFU faculty who would like to spend either one semester or a full year co-teaching in the program on a one-year secondment or during sabbatical.

“That year would include teaching one semester, organizing and conducting some public events and doing research or community work related to their semester-in-dialogue topics,” says Winston, who notes that funding is available to support the secondments.

He's looking for faculty who are able to think beyond their own discipline, who are interested in mixing their teaching with community involvement and who can master the art of teaching without a lectern since faculty do not give lectures.

“In the best sense of the word, it's truly interdisciplinary, with community and academics working together,” says Winston. “The approaches we take cross the town-and-gown divide and give us a chance to think and use what we do in a much more community-based way. It's a way for faculty to learn new teaching techniques and to become re-invigorated and stimulated about teaching.”

The popular program sees more than 50 student applicants each semester vying for just 20 spaces. The students, he says, tend to be extremely diverse with one common trait - a motivation to engage completely in the semester topic.

During the spring 2006 semester's Social Enterprise for Sustainable Community Development theme, Mark Roseland, professor of geography and director of the community economic development centre, co-taught in the program.

Peter Williams, professor in resource and environmental management and director of the centre for tourism policy and research, will co-teach in the spring 2007 semester, which focuses on the 2010 winter Olympics and their projected impact on the Lower Mainland.

The fall 2006 semester will examine First Nations/Metis and Inuit traditional beliefs and contemporary challenges, co-taught by visiting faculty Mary Jane Jim, a leader in the Yukon and Canada's First Nations communities.

Winston is hoping to find co-teachers for the fall 2007 and all three 2008 semesters, which are currently being organized.

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