VPA's Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning

R E C E N T    N E W S

June 7, 2010. The VP, Academic recognized that the landscape around teaching and learning will continue to be shaped over the next year and the importance of consultation and communication as changes are made. In doing so, the VP, Academic has considered the role that VACTL  and its members will play in moving the teaching and learning agenda forward. Rather than develop new advisory structures, he intends to extend VACTL and the UTF roles for another year, to August 31, 2011. The current membership below will be updated for the 2010-2011 academic year.

February 11, 2010:  VACTL has reviewed the Task Force on Teaching and Learning's report and made recommendations to the VP Academic. This document and the task force's report are being circulated for discussion at the upcoming meetings of Senate and Senate committees (SCUS, SCUTL, SGSC and SCUP).

W H A T   I S   V A C T L ?

In 2009, the Task Force on Teaching and Learning (TFTL) envisioned the implementation of a viable teaching and learning support system that enables communication and collaboration, and recognizes and respects the many important roles which contribute to effective teaching and learning at SFU. Key components of phase I of the teaching and learning support system and their interactions are:
1) The VPA’s Committee on Teaching and Learning (VACTL), which includes University Teaching Fellows (UTFs)
2) The Learning and Teaching Coordinating Committee (LTCC)
3) The Instructional Development Group (IDG).

The staff components of the proposed teaching and learning support system (LTCC and IDG) had already existed and have refocused. Details may be found on their respective webpages.

Meanwhile academic departments, Faculties, and students did not have a forum or a process for discussing issues related to teaching and learning. A key challenge in identifying and providing appropriate teaching and learning support to date has been the limited consideration of students’ learning experiences and the voice of instructors (faculty members, sessionals, TAs, TMs) from the Faculties. Issues such as support for specific instructor groups and gaining a better understanding of today’s students are important, as are input and involvement by instructors in identifying, designing and implementing initiatives by support units and examining data on student experiences.

As implied above, the reason that such issues have not been sufficiently addressed is the lack of
(a) representation from departments and Faculties to bring forward important teaching and learning support concerns at the institutional level;
(b) a forum for discussion and planning among departments, Faculties and support units.

The TFTL proposed the establishment of a University Council on Teaching and Learning (UCTL) in which each Faculty would be represented by a University Teaching Fellow (UTF).

In recognition of the concerns expressed by some community members about establishment of the Council before the release of the final report and the VPA’s immediate need for an advisory group on teaching and learning to inform the VPA’s academic plan, a phased approach to the implementation of the Council and the UTFs are envisioned. Specifically, a temporary advisory committee, the VPA’s Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning (VACTL) will serve from December 2009 to August 2010. The committee will have representation from students, all the Faculties, and major teaching support units.

The main responsibilities of VACTL members are to:

  1. Review the recommendations of the TFTL, prioritize them and draft an implementation plan including timelines and approval pathways;
  2. Provide advice on the creation of a new teaching and learning support unit;
  3. Establish a means for fostering communication about teaching and learning in their Faculties, departments, service units or groups and,
  4. Begin local initiatives that support discipline-specific teaching and learning within Faculties and departments.

The work of the VACTL may inform the formation of, and the direction for, a long-term Council.

(to August 31, 2010)



Representative or Designate

VP, Academic (Chair)

Jon Driver

Associate VP, Academic

Bill Krane

Faculty of Applied Sciences, University Teaching Fellow

Ted Kirkpatrick

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University Teaching Fellow

Adrienne Burk

Beedie School of Business, University Teaching Fellow

Stephen Spector

Faculty of Communication, Art & Technology, University Teaching Fellow

Russell Taylor

Faculty of Education, University Teaching Fellow

Carolyn Mamchur

Faculty of Environment, University Teaching Fellow

Janet Moore

Faculty of Health Sciences, University Teaching Fellow


Faculty of Science, University Teaching Fellow

Malgorzata Dubiel

Associate VP, Student Services

Tim Rahilly

Lifelong Learning, Dean

Helen Wussow

Graduate Studies, Dean

Wade Parkhouse

Institutional Research and Planning, Director

Jacy Lee

IT Services, CIO

Jay Black

Library, Dean

Charles (Chuck) Eckman

Teaching and Learning Centre, Director

Stephanie Chu

University Curriculum & Institutional Liaison, Director  Sarah Dench

Graduate Student

Pasha Tashakor

Undergraduate Student

Yannick Cudennec

Guest: Process Facilitator

Chris Groeneboer    

* The head of the new teaching and learning support unit is expected to take an active role on this committee and is proposed to be the co-vice chair for VACTL and its successor. The position is currently vacant, but may be filled while VACTL is still active, thus the placeholder.

For comments or queries about this committee, contact teachlearn-info@sfu.ca

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