Located on the second floor of Bata Library, the Trent Centre For Teaching and Learning is a new initiative at Trent, says Educational Developer (and Part-time Psychology Department faculty member) Robyne L. Hanley-Dafoe.
“It is committed to continuing to foster an environment where excellent teaching is valued, supporting student learning and creating a safe space for faculty to try new things in class and take risks. We want to continue Trent’s mission to see education as transformative.”
To do this, the centre offers a number of services aimed at the professional development of faculty, grad students and instructors, having already conducted three separate workshops involving student groups, faculty and student accessibility staff. They plan on hosting five in total, ranging from classroom management to preparing teaching portfolios.
The centre, which opened this fall, grew over four years as an ongoing collaboration between faculty, staff and various departments, finally coming into fruition through Provost Gary Boire and Interim Vice-Provost Dr. Elaine Scharfe (who is also Dean Of Graduate Studies).
As Hanley-Dafoe notes, “it’s a common feature in other universities, but what makes Trent different is the collaborative element between students, faculty, departments and graduate students.”
In addition to the workshops, the centre offers a series of 20-minute demos highlighting brief ways of showcasing tech and technique (Live Scribes for example) as well as a ‘Brown Bag Lunch Series’, which Hanley-Dafoe says “brings together first year teachers to focus on student engagement”.
What the centre envisions is a place where “a faculty member who wants to incorporate a new piece of technology into the classroom could use the centre as a consultant for incorporating it into the pedagogical framework of the class to improve the experience as a whole,” says Hanley-Dafoe.
For Grad students, the centre offers Certificates of Teaching Experience for Graduate Teaching Assistants. They aim many of their services at them as a way of preparing them for their careers as well as helping with their development as teachers here at Trent.
The centre also has a number of services aimed at undergraduate students, primarily with the goal of helping students identify their own learning needs and goals. This involves helping students better understand their own learning styles so that they can better incorporate that into their own professional and educational development so that “there’s a clear map for their learning,” says Hanley-Dafoe.
The centre also helps students with a number of different learning skills like providing feedback, measuring learning outcomes so that, according to Hanley-Dafoe, “students can participate in the process of learning and be better able to evaluate for themselves how their courses are fitting into their overall learning strategy— any student can come to us for one on one consultations.”
Students will also be able to nominate and recognize engaging and innovative teaching, and participate in the teaching award system.
While the centre circulates information about workshops and events to a number of different departments as well as the Graduate Students’ Association, more information can be found on their website: www.trentu.ca/teaching or on twitter @trentuteaching.