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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, January 13, 1999

  • SSHRC president visits campus
  • Journal promotes reflective teaching
  • Staff grievance policy revised
  • PD courses for management, faculty
  • As UW digs out from another storm
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SSHRC president visits campus

An important figure in the research world is on campus today. Mark Renaud, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), will give an "address to the university community" at 3 p.m. in Hagey Hall room 373. A reception will follow in room 378. Prior to that, he will meet with senior administrators to provide an update on SSHRC activities, and visit the Centre for Election Studies, the School of Accountancy and the School of Architecture. At 2 p.m., he'll meet with graduate students in Hagey Hall room 334.

In the 1997-98 fiscal year, UW researchers received some $682,000 in grant support from SSHRC, with the bulk of the money directed to the faculy of arts, followed by environmental studies, engineering, and applied health sciences. The funds represented 2.4 per cent of total grant money received by the university.

Journal promotes reflective teaching

Between the covers, there are only empty lined pages. "It doesn't look like much," admits TA developer William Hamlin, holding the thin taupe, spiral-bound volume. "It's really just a concept."

The concept, a teaching journal, was developed by UW's teaching resources and continuing education (TRACE) staff to assist instructors in reflecting on their technique. While it may be the first time teaching journals have been promoted by TRACE, "it's an idea that runs through a lot of literature on education," said Hamlin. "Much has been written on the benefits and techniques of using one."

Using a journal facilitates observations and reflections, he added, noting he's used the concept in an informal way "to document what I'd done and how to improve it." More than just blank pages, the official TRACE version, entitled Teaching Journal: A Teacher's Reflections, offers a list of questions which teachers can use as prompts in making journal entries, whether on a daily or weekly basis.

"Sources for observations could be classroom or lab experiences, student assignments or exams, course materials, or course evaluations. Among the suggested topics to explore:

"There is no one correct way to use this journal," the liner notes advise. "You just need to find a method that works for you. Then try to implement your thoughts and ideas the next time you teach a course, or even the next time you walk into a classroom."

In addition to the benefits the journal offers to teachers, it also serves as a useful tool in documenting experiences for employers, said Hamlin. "The process indicates a conscientious, enthusiastic teacher."

Developed with an audience of teaching assistants in mind, the journal can be adapted by anyone doing instructional work, he noted. Grad students enrolled in the Certificate in University Teaching program receive copies of the journal, and numerous faculty have taken advantage of the offer of a free copy from TRACE in exchange for their feedback on the project. The Teaching Journal is also available at the Bookstore.

TRACE adds staff

A second TA developer has been hired by TRACE to help cope with the workload generated by the introduction of the Certificate in University Teaching last fall. The program is administered jointly by TRACE and the graduate studies office. Starting work this month is Kelly Pryde, a PhD student in psychology. With "a broad and varied background," including a BA in dance and a MSc in kinesiology, Pryde also has experience as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer. "As a TA Developer, Kelly hopes to help other TAs reflect and improve upon their teaching skills," TRACE notes. Pryde can be reached at ext. 3408 or at kmpighin@healthy.uwaterloo.ca.

Staff grievance policy revised

UW president James Downey has approved proposed revisions to Policy 36, Staff Grievances. The changes were recommended by the staff relations committee following a policy review and consultation with staff last fall.

From the secretariat: "Generally, the Policy now includes strengthened procedures for informal resolution to avoid the formal hearings, where possible, and to ensure the availability of information to staff so that they can more readily understand the process. Key to the process is a description of the staff member's rights in pursuing a resolution to a grievance; also, timelines have been added to emphasize the desire to resolve conflicts quickly."

Hard copies of the revised policy and procedures are available from the secretariat (ext. 2749), and copies of the procedures can be obtained from human resources, the staff association or the office of ethical behaviour and human rights.

PD courses for management, faculty

Faculty and administrators are invited to hone their skills at upcoming professional development programs. UW will sponsor up to four persons who wish to attend senior management courses offered by the University of Manitoba's Centre for Higher Education Research and Development. "The programs are designed to broaden and deepen participant skills in recognizing, meeting, and handling current and emerging issues across a wide spectrum of circumstances."

"An advanced management course for experienced administrators responsible for making institutional policy," the Senior University Administrators Course will be held June 10 to 20 at the Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta. The course will emphasize "the management of change, power and influence in the academic environment, resource management and planning, and legal and ethical issues." The University Management Course will consist of two sessions, the first from May 14 to 21 at the Banff Centre, and the second from June 11 to 18 at White Point Beach Resort in White Point, Nova Scotia. For "administrators of academic and administrative units with direct responsibility for recommending and implementing policy," the course will deal with human rights, administrative and contract law, financial management and budget planning, human resource management and conflict resolution.

Anyone interested in attending these two courses is invited to forward a resume/curriculum vitae to his or her supervisor, to be forwarded to the provost's office by January 25 at 4:30 p.m.

Of all the information on off-campus workshops, courses, and professional development opportunities that arrives in the TRACE mailbox, the one most highly recommended by the office is the 16th annual Faculty Development Summer Institute on Active Learning and Teaching in University and College offered by the University of Prince Edward Island, August 2 to 6 in Charlottetown.

UW political science professor Terry Downey (a recipient of the distinguished teacher award) has attended the institute and highly recommends it, said Verna Keller, TRACE administrative coordinator. "The overall goal of the Institute is to improve teaching and learning by enhancing the knowledge and skills of professors," a promotional brochure states, noting, "Prince Edward Island is an idyllic getaway just before the hectic fall term begins...a time to contemplate the glories and the challenges for the coming academic year."

TRACE instructional development grants can be used to fund travel to conferences, says Keller, who can provide more information on the grants at ext. 3132.

As UW digs out from another storm --with more on the way

The Art of the Art Song will be the subject of a performance at 12:30 p.m. at Conrad Grebel College. The free concert features soprano Sheila Nafziger and pianist Leslie De'Ath.

Co-op postings for the rank/match phase begin today, with the first posting available by noon and expiring at 8 p.m. Thursday. Students should note that the maximum number of applications is 18 this term. Also happening on campus today, Career Development Seminars (Co-op 101) continue in Engineering Lecture room 101, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Corel Corporation hosts an information session for technical writing, computer engineering and computer science students from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Ground Zero.

Women in the Know, a UW Staff Association brown bag seminar, provides an introduction to wealth management today at noon in Davis Centre room 1302. The event is open to men, as well, and offers pointers on "assessing your current financial situation, educating yourself on investing, and developing your investment portfolio." Refreshments are available at 11:45. Interested in attending? Contact Barb Yantha at ext. 3566.

Students Advising Co-op holds its first meeting of the term today at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Life Centre multipurpose room. On the agenda is a proposal to form a co-op student society, which would have a broader mandate than SAC, serving students in all aspects of co-op life at UW. All co-op students are invited, and free pizza will be served. For more information, contact Paul Schreiber at ext. 5328.

The Institute for Computer Research (ICR) will host a Bell Emergis/UW workshop tomorrow -- barring the shut down of the university -- from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.in the ICR board room, Davis Centre room 1331. Three parallel sessions will be held to discuss voice authentication/recognition, security, and general IP applications. All faculty members are invited, and a working lunch will be provided. To learn more, contact Jean Webster at ext. 5076.

Barbara Elve

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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