Vancouver Island University (VIU) hosted the first annual Faculty Development Spring Institute (FDSI) this May 21-24, 2013. We had 29 participants from the island, mainland BC, Yukon and Ontario! We were aiming for 30 and we are quite pleased with the interest and the amazing group of people who came out.

A collaborative effort between the University of Victoria and Camosun College, Vancouver Island University organized and hosted the event on their Nanaimo campus. Modelled off of the 30 year successful, UPEI Faculty Development Institute, VIU decided to offer a similar condensed learning experience for faculty to attract people from western Canada. We involved three UVictoria experienced teachers (Marty Wall, Ed Ishiguro and Joe Parsons) as co-presenters along with co-facilitators Nancy Sly (Camosun), Kathleen Bortolin (VIU) and Liesel Knaack (VIU).

I (Liesel) had attended UPEI’s institute in 2009 and enjoyed the learning experience – but as soon as I returned I began planning something similar should I ever be in a position to offer one. When I obtained the Director position at VIU three years ago, I immediately planned to host such an institute. Four years after my initial experience, I sought collaborative partnerships in two local institutions and got the program readied. With little lead time to advertise, we did our best to share the opportunity with BC institutions (via listserv) and across Canada (via EDC and STLHE listservs). We were pleased to get the response we did.

The week was structured around core learning sessions in the mornings and elective sessions in the afternoon. The core sessions covered topics like building rapport, first day of class, learning objectives and deep learning, assessment and evaluation strategies, signature pedagogies, reflection and teaching and learning methods. The elective sessions covered topics on technology (formative assessment with technology, open education, Web 2.0 tools) and topics related to student learning (retention and persistence, student engagement, teaching nuggets from experience, large class teaching etc).

VIU will be offering this again next year May 13-16, 2014 (Tuesday to Friday) – right before the Victoria Day long weekend. The website will be updated in the Fall and registration will begin shortly after that.