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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 23, 2017
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Strategic new directions for Teaching and Learning

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mar 13/17

In support of strategic new directions for Teaching and Learning at Laurier, the university has undertaken a major structural change that will advance aspirations for Laurier students to have an exceptional educational experience. 

A newly reimagined Teaching and Learning Centre will combine the Centre for Teaching Innovation and Excellence (CTIE) and the Centre for Student Success (CSS). Unlike other universities, Laurier has a distinct advantage with the two units working together already, and the university looks forward to even more creative teamwork. The two units will integrate teaching excellence and learning outcomes inside and outside the classroom, with strong links to career development and student success. Most significantly, the Career Development Centre and Co-operative Education will join Teaching and Learning in order to emphasize the importance of intentional connections between curricular and co-curricular learning as we prepare students for their futures.

The new Teaching and Learning unit reflects Laurierís mandate to lead intentional approaches in high impact, innovative and engaged teaching and learning strategies. This mandate is grounded in institutional review processes conducted over the past few years, and supports the Strategic Academic Planís focus on academic programming excellence and experiential learning, as well as the objectives set out in the universityís Strategic Mandate Agreement with the province, which focuses on developing a highly skilled workforce.

The new Teaching and Learning Centre brings with it the following strategic changes within the current budget:

1. Career Development, Co-operative Education, Community Service-Learning and the Co-Curricular Record will be combined under Experiential Learning and Career Development:

Jan Basso, director of Co-operative Education and Career Development, has been appointed as the new assistant vice-president: Experiential Learning and Career Development, bringing with her more than 40 years in the career development field, and an M.Ed. in higher education to her role. In this reorganized area, Jan and her team will implement and support experiential learning opportunities at every level of curricular and co-curricular programming. Specifically, they will deliver enhanced programs that align career development, co-op, service learning, co-curricular involvement and volunteerism, and support and enhance curricular workplace partnerships and programming. Janís senior team with expanded roles includes Karen McCargar, director of Co-operative Education and Workplace Partnerships; Laurie Lahn, associate director, Co-operative Education and External Relations; Frances Humphreys, associate director, Career Development and External Relations; and Katherine St. Louis, associate director, Resources and Operations.

2. Faculty Support:
Within the Teaching and Learning Centre, Joseph Beer, associate director, Teaching and Innovation, will continue to lead a team focused on teaching excellence and supporting faculty in teaching activities, educational technology and electronic, blended and online learning. In particular, there will be a concentrated effort on expanding online teaching pedagogy and focusing on high-impact teaching. In collaboration with Jean Becker, senior advisor of Aboriginal Initiatives, the university will hire an Indigenous curriculum specialist to engage Indigenous communities and content in the classroom and curricula.

3. Student Retention:
Under the Teaching and Learning Centre, Gail Forsyth, associate director of Retention and Learning, will support faculties in retaining students. She will work with faculties, Institutional Research and Planning and Enrolment Services on retention analytics to improve student success strategies.

4. Accessible Learning
Gwen Page, associate director of Accessible Learning, and her team will continue to support faculty and students in the important work of accessibility and will bring an important perspective to discussions of experiential learning for those who have mobility, cognitive, or mental health challenges.

5. Educational Advising:

The Academic Advising review recommended that faculties handle their own advising. In response, a new teaching and learning resource role will work to support faculty advisors with key strategic goals. The Brantford manager of academic advising role (currently held by Amy Chesworth in an acting capacity filling in for Sara Neziol), will become the manager, Educational Advising, with a multi-campus focus reporting to the AVP: Teaching and Learning.

These strategic directions will advance Laurierís mandate within an environment that sees instructors and students as the heart of what the university does.

Please contact Kathryn Carter, Associate vice-president: Teaching and Learning at with questions.

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