Starting 2009 with a revised Mission Statement – Trevor Holmes

CTE staff “retreated” for a couple of days last October, and one of the results was a collaboratively revised Mission Statement:

The Centre for Teaching Excellence provides leadership in advancing skilful , informed, and reflective teaching.

Three teams of staff members then fleshed out what each adjective really means, and we all came together to finalize language that would then go more “public”:

Skilful teaching involves what we as teachers do, say, or make happen in order to improve learning. Skilful teaching can be learned and taught, acquired and honed. A skilful teacher also recognizes when and why to modify an approach.

Informed teaching involved openness toward new ways of approaching teaching, and a willingness to adjust practice based upon what we learn by listening to students and through discussions with colleagues. Informed teaching is scholarly. It draws on current research and contributes to disciplinary practice in higher education.

Reflective teaching is an iterative process that involves developing an awareness of what we do as teachers, why we make the choices we do, and how our choices impact students’ learning. By examining and sharing our successes and challenges with the larger teaching community, we contribute to an ongoing dialogue about teaching and learning, and extend our own learning and development as teachers.

Feedback on our new Mission Statement is welcome — as always, you can use the Comments feature of this blog to comment publicly, or you can send comments and suggestions to our Director, Dr. Catherine Schryer.

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As Senior Instructional Developer, Curriculum and Programming, Trevor Holmes plans and delivers workshops and events in support of faculty across the career span. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Trevor worked at a variety of universities teaching courses, supporting faculty and teaching assistants through educational development offices, and advising undergraduates. Trevor’s PhD is from York University in English Literature, with a focus on gothic literature, queer theory, and goth identities. A popular workshop facilitator at the national and international levels, Trevor is also interested in questions of identity in teaching and teaching development.

One thought on “Starting 2009 with a revised Mission Statement – Trevor Holmes”

  1. It’s nice to see the new mission statement – but it could be stronger. My first comment is that the mission statement omits a key part of its purpose – and that is to tell us who the stakeholders are – who does CTE serve? As it now stands, it is not clear who the leadership is being provided for, and who is being served by this mission. My 2nd comment is that the central idea of leadership is vague – does CTE provide human or technical resources to all UW instructors/TAs/etc (i.e. stakeholders) to be skilful, informed and reflective?

    Anyhow, that is my two-cents worth on the mission.


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