ISTLD Founding Director Dr. Cheryl Amundsen has Fellowship named in her honour

April 07, 2021

We are very proud to announce that we have re-named our Dewey Fellowship program the Amundsen Fellowship, in honour of our founding director, Dr. Cheryl Amundsen.

Dr. Cheryl Amundsen is a Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Education, as well as the Founder, and Past Director, of the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD), where she developed the Teaching and Learning Development Grants program.

In her time at the ISTLD, Cheryl drew faculty from across SFU together to develop small research projects focused on supporting student learning. Her work in supporting faculty development is well known in higher education circles internationally and has served as a model for other institutions.

Cheryl's research has focused on how university professors develop pedagogical knowledge in relationship to their subject matter, how they come to understand teaching, how they make instructional decisions and the effects of these from the learner's perspective.

View Cheryl’s academic profile here


About Cheryl

Cheryl first moved to a faculty position at SFU in 1998, after holding a faculty position at McGill University for 10 years, a cross-appointment in the Department of Educational Psychology and the Centre for University Teaching and Learning.

At SFU, Cheryl was charged with developing the Educational Technology and Learning Design program. Once that program was in place, she returned to her interest of academic development, particularly the place of faculty-led inquiry in furthering understanding of learning and teaching. The ISTLD and the Teaching and Learning Development grant program grew out of this work.

In retirement, between art classes and choir practice, Cheryl continues her work in faculty development. Through a post-retirement contract, Cheryl has designed the CDOTE program (Collaborative Design of Online Teaching in Education) with Dr. Laura D’Amico. Over a semester, faculty participants in CDOTE design an online or blended course, document the thinking underlying their design and create a skeleton Canvas shell. SFU is fortunate to have her continued assistance in helping faculty with the design of online learning.

A Brief History of the ISTLD

Soon after coming to SFU, Cheryl launched a workshop called “Rethinking Teaching” which encouraged faculty to view teaching as an intellectual practice by engaging in a course design process she developed with colleagues at McGill. The workshop is still being offered at SFU through the Centre for Educational Excellence (CEE) as Rethinking Course Design A feature of the workshop is that faculty participants who are interested return as co-instructors in the workshop to work with their SFU colleagues.

Building on the interest in and success of the Rethinking Teaching workshops, faculty members, led by Cheryl, began to advocate for a teaching institute, one where teaching and learning inquiry grants could be given to recognize teaching development as a scholarly activity and to stimulate faculty-led investigation of new or innovative teaching and learning practices.

This socially-situated model was developed to foster faculty professional development and create a community of practice of teaching and learning at SFU, in part due to the non-competitive nature of the grants.

Championed by then-Vice President, Academic and Provost, Dr. John Waterhouse, the proposal for the ISTLD was presented to the SFU senate and approved in 2007. The next VPA, Dr. Jonathan Driver continued to support the program, and now the office of the AVPLT, headed by Dr. Elizabeth Elle, funds the ISTLD on an ongoing basis.

From the beginning of the ISTLD, Dr. Amundsen and the ISTLD team engaged in collecting evidence of the effectiveness of their work and published their findings in scholarly journals. She believes that this was critical to decisions about continued funding. The ISTLD is acknowledged as one of the main depositories within in the university for long-term data-based evidence of effective teaching and learning practices.

Dr. Sheri Fabian, current director of the ISTLD says, “When Cheryl retired, I wanted to find a way to honour Cheryl’s many contributions to faculty development through ISTLD and beyond. It is only fitting to rename this fellowship for Dr. Amundsen, a committed educator with a long career, whose involvement in teaching and learning at SFU continues to benefit our faculty and students on a daily basis.”

ISTLD Amundsen Fellows

ISTLD Amundsen Fellows are continuing faculty members at SFU who have demonstrated their interest and commitment to the investigation of teaching and learning through the successful conduct of at least one ISTLD-funded project and through other activities within their departments and faculties. They have developed particular expertise in the investigation of innovative course designs and instructional methods that support student learning in their discipline.

Amundsen Fellows are invited to work with the ISTLD during which they contribute to ISTLD programs and also conduct teaching and learning research projects that go beyond their own practice. These projects require the involvement of other faculty members, within or outside their discipline. In addition, projects have the potential to inform the teaching practice of other faculty at SFU and to inform the broader teaching/scholarly literature.
To date, twelve faculty members from across academic disciplines have had Amundsen (formerly Dewey) Fellowships through the ISTLD.

Read more about the ISTLD Amundsen Fellows