CTE and the 6th Decade Plan — Donna Ellis

starI was recently asked to document how well CTE’s activities and services meet the university’s 6th Decade Plan.  At first this seemed like a pretty straightforward task since there is only section in the Plan devoted specifically to teaching.  And yet, as I re-read the Plan, I recognized that our work fits with numerous recommendations as well as the overall orientation of the Plan, which calls for “excellence, pursued and supported in all activities” (p.4).  We are the “Centre for Teaching Excellence” and we take our name very seriously.  We strive to model the highest standards in our programming, resources, and support services. 

So how do we fit with the Plan?  Naturally, we provide programming and support to help faculty members and graduate students develop “enhanced teaching skills” (p.6).  But we do much, much more than that.  Here’s a sampling…

  • We support faculty members who want to commit to and demonstrate excellence in teaching through offering events like the Instructional Skills Workshop and the Teaching Excellence Academy where our own faculty members show leadership by co-facilitating. 
  • Our activities marry teaching and research through our own research work and that of the faculty and staff members in the Teaching-Based Research Group. 
  • We engage in innovation in teaching and support others in their quest to try new ideas with regard to teaching, whether they involve learning technologies or more traditional instructional methods. 
  • We also support the development of aligned, innovative curricula as we work with an increasing number of departments. 
  • We help to celebrate Waterloo’s great teachers through the university-wide teaching programs. 
  • We help provide great learning experiences for students by hiring them into our office, assisting with campus learning projects such as e-portfolios, and supporting internationalization efforts. 

As well, we have an amazing team of staff members who think strategically, collaborate endlessly, and give 110% everyday to help support teaching excellence at Waterloo.

So the exercise of mapping our activities to the 6th Decade Plan clearly showed that we’re on the right track.  But it also reminded me how proud I am to be part of something so good.  As a support unit, we often downplay our contributions.  I see that we really shouldn’t because we have a lot to offer.  If you haven’t checked out how CTE can help you, please view our website, contact one of our Liaisons, or drop by one of our offices.  We’re here to help!

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Donna Ellis

Donna Ellis has supported the teaching development of Waterloo faculty members and graduate students since 1994. In her role as Director, she oversees the development and delivery of all the Centre for Teaching Excellence programming and services, which include individual faculty consultations; events directed at graduate students, new faculty, and established faculty regarding face-to-face teaching, blended learning, and emerging technologies; online resources; curriculum and program review consultations; and research support services. Donna has a PhD from Waterloo’s Management Sciences program and completed her dissertation research on instructional innovations. She also has an MA in Language and Professional Writing from Waterloo, and has taught in the Speech Communication program. Donna, along with her husband, spends time away from work raising three fine boys.

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