The Teaching and Learning Leadership Council is a body of teaching faculty members chosen by their Faculties to lead institutional initiatives on teaching and learning. Now entering its 5th year, the Council is deepening work begun last year on embedding VIUs Graduate Attributes within the culture and practices of the institution. Council members come together as a whole at key points throughout the year, starting with a full day retreat in May. They then work together as smaller, independent groups to affect change through focused projects.

This year, the Council is organized into 4 groups:

Learning Journeys

Members

Mary-Anne Moloney (Health and Human Services), Duane Weaver (Management), Linda Derksen (Social Sciences), Eliza Gardiner (Arts and Humanities)

Project summary

Learning Journeys will focus on compiling brief video stories of innovative strategies that VIU faculty have implemented to cultivate a variety of graduate attributes. The group’s work will begin with the creation of four videos that capture innovative stories of how faculty members weave the Graduate Attributes into their teaching practice. They will be matched with the appropriate pillar and attribute, and posted on the web to ensure that they are easily accessible. In addition to sharing teaching practices and approaches, the group hopes to be able to engage students in the project, thereby providing a mechanism to incorporate the student perspective.

Representing Learning

Members

Charlene Stewart (Academic and Career Prep), Dawn Johnson (International Education), Jessica Gemella (Trades and Applied Technology), Rob Thompson (Management), Sue Sanders (Science and Technology)

Project summary

Representing Learning is working to develop processes and guiding tools that will help students self-reflect and identify artifacts of learning that give evidence of their accomplishments, and offer effective ways to communicate them. Student feedback through surveys and focus groups will guide tool development. A key part of this project is giving students different ways to think about the Graduate Attributes – regrouping them to enhance metacognitive awareness, and providing more easily digestible chunks – so that they can recognise themselves in the Attributes that they are developing.

Graduate Attributes Partnerships (GAP)

Members

Belinda Williams (International Education), Brook Pearce (Management/Centre for Experiential Learning), Carla Tilley (Health and Human Services), Sally Vinden (Trades and Applied Technology)

Project summary

Graduate Attribute Partnerships aims to coach, mentor, and build capacity/sustainability within each Faculty/Department in its journey to implement the graduate attributes. This will entail recognizing and acknowledging the excellent work that is already happening across our campuses, by creating a draft map or framework to document how and where graduate attributes are being applied. Other activities will include creating interdisciplinary workshops, a repository of tools, resources, case examples, and networking opportunities. Examples will represent both the philosophical and practical value of the attributes by capturing success stories of all sizes. Engaging with VIU faculty across all campuses and external stakeholders, such as our partners-in-learning (employers), the Elder College and faculty within the K-12 system are expected to be key in this work. Much of the language of the new K-12 curriculum fits neatly onto VIUs Graduate Attributes – what future connections are possible?

Low-Hanging Fruit

Members

Bonnie Davidson (Education), Louis Mattar (Education), Sarah Carruthers (Science and Technology), Lynda Robinson (Management/Centre for Experiential Learning)

Project summary

The Graduate Attributes are at the core of what we do at VIU. Low-Hanging Fruit are focusing their efforts on establishing ways to assess student awareness and acquisition of specific Graduate Attributes. Whether explicitly stated during interactions with students or not, every member of the VIU community embodies the Graduate Attributes. Where faculty may fall short, however, is how they document how these graduate attributes are addressed and expressed in our classes and actions. A first step in assessing how this happens is to determine students’ awareness of the Graduate Attributes. To this end, the group will incorporate an initial and final student self-assessment process within four separate programs, and collate students’ responses in relation to a course assignment. The data from the students’ input will inform the development of an easy-to-use assessment tool for teaching faculty to use to quantify and express their experiences with the Graduate Attributes in a given class.

Faculty as change artists

All four groups will be guided this year by the idea that each of us at the University has the capacity to work as change artists. The play on the well-established term is meant to signal the massive scale of change that we all witness on a daily basis in the world around us, and invites us to ask ourselves the question ‘how can I help some of the changes that I am witnessing be successful?’ rather than ‘what new changes can I introduce?’ This is particularly relevant to our work here at VIU, especially with the Graduate Attributes. There’s no resistance to the ideas represented by the Attributes – of course we want our students to embody the many positive characteristics they describe. Without some active change artistry, though – from people committed to painting the picture of that change in a way that their colleagues can recognize themselves in it – it will be a struggle to embed it within our institutional culture. This is the work the Council has set out to undertake.