A post from Maureen Reed, Director of the Learning & Teaching Office:
Some aspects of teaching have not really changed so much over time. We want our university students to critically evaluate information, apply critical skills to new situations, and problem solve using evidence based practice. These were aspects of teaching that we each experienced in higher education. Some aspects of the university experience have changed though. Our students come to us with a different high school education than we perhaps had. They have different expectations and while university does not traditionally teach for employment, our students have expectations that acquiring their degree will help them find employment. As such, they often ask for practicums, lab experience, coop experiences and wish for faculty to apply theoretical concepts to the ‘real’ world. More than ever, they expect to “do things” in class and we are expected to provide some form of active learning within our courses.
In the end, the world is changing, expectations of universities are changing and doors are opening for Ryerson to meet new challenges. In part, the meeting of new challenges requires some changes in the ways in which we teach and focus our courses. We are asked to articulate our teaching goals and outcomes to the university and to our students. We work to change from the traditional lecturer to creating both in class and online experiences that help students apply knowledge.
This year, the faculty conference will focus on the changes in teaching, how we are reaching an increasingly diverse student body, our successes and challenges. The day will begin with an inspirational talk from our own President, Sheldon Levy, who will speak about the changes that have occurred in teaching, research, and in community building at Ryerson over the last decade. He will also talk about his vision for Ryerson and the path that we are on. Following this, we have approximately 90 faculty members who will present ideas around teaching at Ryerson. The faculty conference also includes plenty of time for networking during a wonderful lunch and late afternoon reception. The faculty conference is open to any full time and part time faculty member at Ryerson, and will be held on Thursday, May 22nd. I hope to see many of you there.