16th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Voices of Diversity and Inclusion: Vulnerabilities, Tensions, and Opportunities

Spring 2017

Wed–Thu, May 17–18, 2017 | 8:30–4:30
Burnaby campus

Download the full Symposium Program (PDF)

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In the spirit of celebrating and giving voice to the value and richness of cultural diversity, inclusivity, and equity in higher education, the SFU Teaching and Learning Centre invites you to attend the 16th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning. This year’s theme is Voices of Diversity and Inclusion: Vulnerabilities, Tensions, and Opportunities.

SFU’s annual Symposium is a forum for faculty members, instructors, students, staff, and administrators to share innovative ideas and practices related to teaching and learning. Join us for interactive and collegial sessions that demonstrate how teaching practice, research, or scholarly inquiry can embrace intercultural knowledge, experiences, and perspectives to foster inclusion, mutual respect, and global citizenship.

Register for the Symposium:
Register for the Indigenizing course outcomes WORKSHOP:


*On-site registration will be available during the morning sessions on May 17 and 18.

Anchor sessions

Day 1 Morning plenary session

Navigating Diverse Classrooms: Opportunities for Facilitation and Curriculum Design
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | 9:00–10:30
Diamond Family Auditorium | Burnaby campus
Dr. Nanda Dimitrov and Aisha Haque, Western University

The cultural landscape of Canadian university classrooms has shifted dramatically in the past 20 years. Today’s classrooms are diverse communities that hold the potential to build bridges across many dimensions of difference. As universities internationalize both their campuses and their curricula, important questions emerge for instructors: How can we nurture diverse perspectives in our classrooms through inclusive teaching practices that are grounded in our disciplines? And how can we prepare our graduates to engage with difference in a globally interconnected world?

In this session, we will introduce the Intercultural Teaching Competence (ITC) Framework (Dimitrov & Haque, 2016) to explore concrete strategies that instructors can use in the classroom. Designed as a tool for instructor reflection, the ITC framework introduces 20 foundational, facilitation and curriculum design competencies that instructors can incorporate into their practice as they engage students in intercultural learning across the disciplines.


Dimitrov, N. & Haque, A. (2016). Intercultural teaching competence: A multidisciplinary framework for instructor reflection. Intercultural Education. Special Issue: Learning at Intercultural Intersections. 27(5), 437–456.

Dr. Nanda Dimitrov

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About Dr. Nanda Dimitrov

Dr. Nanda Dimitrov is the acting director of the Teaching Support Centre and adjunct research scholar in the Centre for Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at Western University. Her work as an educational developer focuses on graduate education, mentorship across cultures, and interculturalizing education. Her recent publications have explored disciplinary communication competence, the impact of International TA training programs, and the development of intercultural teaching competence.

Aisha Haque

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About Aisha Haque

Aisha Haque is a Language and Communication instructor at Western University’s Teaching Support Centre and an associated researcher at the Centre for Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Faculty of Education). Drawing on her background in postcolonial and anti-oppressive pedagogies, she supports the development of intercultural communication competence among graduate students. Her recent research has explored the benefits of discipline-specific approaches to TA training and the application of intercultural teaching competence across the disciplines.

Day 1 Afternoon plenary session

Working Together to Provide Holistic Indigenous Student Support
(Roundtable discussion)
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | 4:15–5:30
Diamond Alumni Centre, Main Room | Burnaby campus
Dr. Sheri Fabian, Dr. Tamara O’Doherty and Marcia Guno, Simon Fraser University

This roundtable session explores early work we are conducting to better understand the needs and experiences of Indigenous students in SFU classrooms. In our classes, we frequently discuss the influence of Indigenous and Canadian history, including residential schools, colonization, intergenerational trauma, and the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in all aspects of the Canadian criminal justice system. However, Indigenous students tell us that not all faculty address these notions in ways they perceive as meaningful, respectful and culturally appropriate. We are currently working together on a collaborative participatory action research project with a particular focus on learning what Indigenous students experience in various classroom environments to address student concerns about what is, or is not, happening in some classes, and to build upon what we are currently doing well. Our community-based collaborative action research principles are designed to transform our Indigenous student collaborators from research subjects to active and equal co-creators of knowledge. Indigenous students are involved in all aspects of the study, including the planning and creation of research instruments, data collection, transcription, data analysis and report preparation. Workshop participants will share their knowledges and better understand Indigenous student classroom needs and experiences in this interactive information sharing session.

Dr. Sheri Fabian

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About Dr. Sheri Fabian

Dr. Sheri Fabian is a senior lecturer and associate director of undergraduate programs in the School of Criminology. She was involved in the introduction of iClicker technology in Criminology 101, and the creation of online tutorials in  Criminology 131. Sheri is actively involved in ongoing discussions with her Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) colleagues regarding the scholarship of teaching and learning and is particularly interested in the pedagogy surrounding experiential learning in the classroom, and the creation of safe and inclusive classroom spaces, important features in both her seminar and large lecture classes. Her current research interests focus on pedagogical approaches to decolonizing and Indigenizing our classes. Sheri will serve as a Dewey Fellow in 2018 to further research these issues. Sheri is also a faculty mentor for the graduate student Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning as well as for new faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She has served as an academic integrity advisor in the School of Criminology since 2008.

Dr. Tamara O’Doherty

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About Dr. Tamara O’Doherty

Tamara O’Doherty, PhD, J.D., is a lecturer in the School of Criminology. Tamara’s research expertise includes gender, human rights, collaborative and participant-driven research, and legal research methods. She has published peer-reviewed articles and conducted several research studies related to victimization in sex work, the effects of criminalization on vulnerable populations, and human trafficking in Canada. Most recently, Tamara has turned her attention to the theory and application of scholarship on teaching and learning in higher education; she is currently examining harm reduction and resiliency building in lecture learning environments. 

Marcia Guno

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About Marcia Guno

Marcia Guno, a member of the Nisga’a Nation and the director of SFU’s Indigenous Student Centre (ISC), understands firsthand what it’s like to struggle with university courses and the transition to a large university community. She ruefully acknowledges that she wasn’t a star pupil when she finally gained entry to SFU in 1994 after two previous attempts. “I struggled,” she recalls. “At the time, there were so few resources for First Nations students—there was no Aboriginal entry policy, no recognition of Aboriginal issues, and I didn’t know of any resources that I could connect to. I felt isolated.” The experience left her with a strong desire to determine how First Nations students could make a more successful transition to university, and she went on to earn an MA in anthropology and sociology. Her research examined Aboriginal students’ post-secondary educational experiences. After graduating, she spent three years employed at SFU, initially as the First Nations student coordinator, then as an Aboriginal recruiter, and finally as acting director of the then-named First Nations Student Centre. During that time she was instrumental in forging a provincial Aboriginal recruitment initiative, called Strengthening Connections, for Aboriginal youth living on reserves.

Day 2 plenary session

Internationalization and Intercultural Learning: What are Students Learning?
Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 9:00–10:30
Diamond Family Auditorium | Burnaby campus
Dr. Kyra Garson, Thompson Rivers University

Educational scholarship increasingly calls for the development of interculturally competent graduates (Brustien, 2007; Deardorff, 2006; Jones & Killick, 2013; Lee, Poch, Shaw, & Williams, 2012; Seifert, Goodman, King & Baxter Magolda, 2010). A growing number of Canadian institutions include internationalization as a strategic priority, and 84% claim that graduating internationally knowledgeable and interculturally competent students is a primary goal (Universities Canada, 2014); yet, there does not appear to be standard assessment or evidence of such outcomes. Within this milieu, we cannot be certain that students are gaining critical competencies related to intercultural learning. Moreover, given the mixed approaches and understandings of what constitutes intercultural learning, outcomes are likely ambiguous, irregular, and potentially inequitable.

Based on:

Garson, K. (2017). Internationalization and intercultural learning: A mixed method inquiry. In Pérez, G. M. G. & Rojas-Primus, C. (Eds.) Promoting Intercultural Communication Competencies in Higher Education. IGI Global: Hershey, PA.

Garson, K. (2013).  Are We Graduating Global Citizens? A Mixed Methods Study Investigating Students’ Intercultural Development and Perceptions of Intercultural and Global Learning in Academic Setting. Unpublished dissertation. Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Kyra Garson

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About Dr. Kyra Garson

Kyra is a member of the Faculty of Student Development at Thompson Rivers University. She is also an intercultural trainer and researcher who has developed and delivered professional development programs to educational institutions across Canada and internationally, as well as to organizations and community groups committed to diversity initiatives. Her research interests include intercultural and global learning as core competencies for the 21st century required for successful interactions both domestically and globally. Kyra’s doctoral study on these topics received the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education’s dissertation of the year award in 2014. In 2011 she received the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s Internationalization Award for her work supporting faculty in internationalization.

Half-Day Workshop

Indigenizing Course Outcomes: Updating your Syllabus to Use the Medicine Wheel as a Curriculum Design Framework
Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 1:30–4:30
Room TBA | Burnaby campus
Dr. Marcella LaFever, University of the Fraser Valley

Bring your course syllabus to this workshop to examine ways you can indigenize course outcome goals and activities. In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its calls to action for reconciliation related to the oppressive legacy of Indian Residential Schools. Required actions for educators include incorporation of indigenous ways of knowing and learning. Current curriculum design practices have primarily been developed from euro-centric traditions based in three domains of learning referred to as Bloom’s taxonomy. This workshop uses the Medicine Wheel, a teaching/learning framework that has widespread use in indigenous communities, for use in designing course outcome statements. Bloom’s taxonomy of the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains is missing the fourth quadrant of the Medicine Wheel, spiritual.

Workshop  content is based on work recently published by the workshop leader:

LaFever, M. (2016). Switching from Bloom to the Medicine Wheel: Creating learning outcomes that support Indigenous ways of knowing in post-secondary education. In Intercultural Education 27(5), 409-424. ISSN: 1467-5986 (Print) 1469-8439 (Online).

LaFever, M. (2016). Using the Medicine Wheel for Curriculum Design in Intercultural Communication: Rethinking Learning Outcomes. In Garcia-Perez, G & Rojas-Primus, C. (Eds.). Promoting Intercultural Communication Competencies in Higher Education. IGI Global: Hershey, PA. 168-199. ISBN-13: 978-1522517320.

Dr. Marcella LaFever

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About Dr. Marcella LaFever

Marcella LaFever, PhD (University of New Mexico, 2005), is an associate professor in Communications at the University of the Fraser Valley. Marcella, in examining the implications for herself to decolonize her communication practices, has focused her ongoing research program on listening to indigenous voices that have been saying for a long time what colonizers need to do to change their attitudes and practices. Marcella’s main program of research focuses on the social exclusion that results in public dialogue and decision-making where cultural ways of speaking are outside the norms expected in dominant North American culture. Her 9P Planning model posits a process that builds intercultural relationships to increase social inclusion in public dialogue. Dr. LaFever’s other current work is in two areas of intercultural communication: use of First Nation storytelling as a form of dialogic participation; and indigenization of classroom instructional practices.

May 18, 2017