January 2020 | View the web version of this newsletter

Bridges and booster rockets: CEE's new senior director talks about teaching support


Nanda Dimitrov spent her holiday break moving from Ontario to B.C. for her new role as inaugural senior director of the Centre for Educational Excellence (CEE). Although she has been in the position for less than two weeks, she has found the time to meet "wonderful teaching champions" and attend the opening of the SFU Library's Media and Maker Commons, where she was impressed by "how different groups collaborated on bringing students together to learn in very interesting ways." In an introductory Q & A interview for CEE's Learning & Teaching News blog, she spoke about what brought her to SFU, her dream for the learning and teaching community, and the role—this is where the bridges and booster rockets come in—that she envisions for CEE. Read the full interview.

A biology instructor rethought her students' role—and her own


"We throw a lot of content at students in universities, but until they have the opportunity to integrate and apply it, they really don’t own any of it." That conviction prompted biology lecturer Megan Barker to build hands-on, team-based, student-led research into her Fall 2019 BPK 408W course on gene expression. Barker acknowledges that granting greater agency to students required her to rethink her own place in the classroom: "I had to be really careful that I stayed in a consultant role and not in a management one. As soon as I take over their experiment, I take their agency away, and then the team loses its purpose." Student feedback suggests that her approach deepened the learning experience—one fourth-year student said, "This was one of my top three courses of all time." Read more about Barker's course experience.

Lead a discussion at the Building Connections: UBC & SFU Well-being in Learning Environments Symposium


On May 7, 2020, SFU and UBC faculty, educators and staff will gather at Harbour Centre for Building Connections, a day of dialogue and sharing about best practices in teaching, learning and well-being. To reserve your spot at this free, full-day event, register on Eventbrite now. SFU and UBC educators and faculty interested in presenting a five-minute talk and facilitating a follow-up round-table discussion are invited to submit a proposal by Friday, February 21. For general information about the event, visit the Building Connections web page.


Monday, January 20: Come and hear A Panel Discussion on Instructor-led Online Courses, rescheduled from January 13 because of snow. This is the first session of the Spring 2020 Teaching Matters Seminar Series.

Monday, January 27: Learn how undergrad math students use online resources at Every Mathematics Class is Online: Students' Use of Internet Resources for Self-directed Learning—part of the Spring 2020 Teaching Matters Seminar Series.

Monday, February 10
: Join faculty members and teaching assistants to discuss better ways to equip students for their teaching roles at the Formal Teacher Training for Graduate Students World Cafe—part of the Spring 2020 Teaching Matters Seminar Series.



24th Annual Spring TA/TM Day: The weather was frightful but the sessions were delightful at the Spring 2020 orientation day for teaching assistants and tutor-markers on January 10. Check out the photos. >>

Win a $10 coffee card!

On January 8, the university announced that Joy Johnson will become president and vice-chancellor on September 1, 2020. Which of the following is NOT true of Dr. Johnson?

a. She has a PhD in nursing.    b. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.    c. She invented the internet.    d. She is currently SFU's vice-president, research and international.

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY JANUARY 22 for a chance to win a $10 coffee card.

The correct answer to last month's question was (b) Wednesday to Wednesday.


FRI, FEB 21 | Application deadline | Rethinking Course Design: A Four-day Workshop for Faculty (Thu–Fri, Apr 30–May 1, Mon–Tue, May 4–5)

| Application deadline | Instructional Skills Workshop (Wed–Fri, Apr 22–24)


FULL. Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning | Fridays, Jan 10–Apr 3 | For grad students and postdocs. Gain skills, confidence and a teaching credential

Teaching Matters Seminar Series | A discussion forum for faculty members and instructional staff. Up next:
RESCHEDULED. A Panel Discussion on Instructor-led Online Courses | Mon, Jan 20 | Faculty members will describe their experiences with SFU's new instructor-led online course model
Every Mathematics Class is Online: Students' Use of Internet Resources for Self-directed Learning | Mon, Jan 27 | Ander Erickson (University of Washington Tacoma) will discuss how undergrad students use online math resources
Formal Teacher Training for Graduate Students World Cafe | Mon, Feb 10 | Join a conversation about how to better equip students for their TA roles

Teaching & Learning Development Grants (TLDG) Proposal Development Workshop | Mondays, Feb 10 & 24 | For faculty members interested in investigating new or innovative teaching and learning practices

Instructional Skills Workshop | An internationally recognized lesson-planning framework. Up next:
FULL. February ISW | Wed–Fri, Feb 19–21
NEW DATE. April ISW | Wed–Fri, Apr 22–24

Rethinking Course Design: A Four-day Workshop for Faculty | Thu–Fri, Apr 30–May 1 & Mon–Tue, May 4–5 | Design or redesign your course in a supportive environment

Visit the Centre for Educational Excellence website to see how we can support your learning and teaching activities.