A teaching and learning culture is much more than a repertoire of skills and strategies for classroom teaching, although this is important. It is what moves us beyond the efforts of the individual exceptional teacher to the collective understanding of and commitment to excellence in teaching. It is based upon a system of shared values, reflective, evidence-based decision making, meaningful and fair assessment and recognition structures, and a critical, scholarly and inquiry-based approach to the daily challenges of teaching and learning. It is this culture that we strive to nurture and build at York.
Part of our culture of teaching and learning needs to address academic leadership. Without strong leadership at every level in academia, we will not be able to sustain current and future change initiatives. Faculty members who choose to accept positions of leadership in our system should be supported through mentorship and professional development, as well as being recognized and rewarded. In the Fall of 2014 an Academic Leadership Development Working Group was established. This group is currently investigating the support needed at York to further develop a culture of leadership and will develop a pan-University strategy to address this.
To ensure that our new faculty members start off on the right foot. We oversee a mandatory two day new faculty orientation event each August. The event provides our new colleagues with a high level overview of the university’s priorities and hands-on assistance with preparing for their teaching, research and service responsibilities.
We cannot effectively enhance the culture for teaching and learning at York and implement new curricular innovations without the provision of needed teaching support services for full and part-time faculty members. The Teaching Commons, along with Learning Technology Services (LTS), and the Libraries offers educational and professional development programs to faculty members to support them in providing outstanding learning experiences for our students.