The Faculty PLNNet project was introduced via a concept outline in the previous post. Here is another way to think about it, as a “memo from the future” to new faculty several years from now when we are past the pilot stage and into a more operational steady state.

 VIU welcome image

To:         New faculty

From:    Pat Casson,

Faculty Knowledge Network coordinator

Date:    July 15, 2016

Re:         Sharing resources and knowledge for teaching


Welcome to our VIU Faculty! We are delighted that you will be teaching with us this Fall, whether you are full-timer or part-time, new to teaching in B.C. or just new to VIU.  Those of you who are new to this area or returning after leave – good to have you back, Terry J – will be especially interested in some new developments that have helped us to enhance student engagement and success.

You will quickly learn that many VIU faculty and students are becoming increasingly engaged with faculty Professional Learning and kNowledge Networks, or as the acronym lovers among us like to call it: Faculty PLNNet. This is emerging as a signature theme for learning and teaching at VIU. I think I speak for all us in saying that our teaching has become more effective and more energizing – for us and our students – through our interactions with the expertise and energy of a wider network of passionate, professional teachers. It has also opened up new opportunities for innovation and scholarship, and new ways to engage faculty and students in collaborative projects.

I am the Faculty’s designated contact person in this area for both new and experienced faculty. You can think of me initially as a ‘knowledge concierge’: I’m the one who can work with you – along with other faculty and staff on the Innovation and Excellence in Learning @VIU team – to build an effective personal knowledge network to support ongoing improvements in teaching. I can also show you how to find and adapt resources from our community knowledge exchange, e.g., using our Starter Kits for the courses you have been assigned to teach. You will also be asked to contribute your own ideas and resources, so that all our faculty can benefit from your expertise and learn along with you.

We are also part of larger networks which link us to exemplary teaching practices, adaptable learning resources and collaborative innovation projects. When you want to address a new teaching challenge or try out a practice new to our Faculty, I work with my colleagues in similar roles at our partner universities to put you in touch with other faculty ready to share what has worked for them and to work with you to adapt their exemplary resources and teaching approaches to our students and to your teaching style.

As you start up your teaching here at VIU, I will be meeting with each of you between now and the start of Fall term classes to help you select areas where our network of resources and knowledge can save you time and increase the impact of your teaching on student success. We can also identify areas where you have resources or knowledge to support this network of teaching colleagues within and beyond the Faculty, and I can show you how to make available what you want to share with them.

Please look over the attached two pages before we meet: there is an outline of the support available to you, some scenarios of how this works for our faculty here at VIU, and a few questions for you to think over in advance of our meeting. And don’t think that this is only for newbies – I met with all our faculty at the end of Spring term as they prepared their faculty development plans for the coming year J…