Documentation:Guide to Teaching for New Faculty at UBC/Dossier, SoTL and Professional Development

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The Teaching Dossier

As a faculty member at UBC, you will need to maintain a CV as well as a well-documented teaching dossier. Your dossier should contain:

  • A statement of teaching philosophy
  • A record of teaching duties
  • Sample teaching materials
  • Summary of student evaluations
  • Peer observations

Your dossier and CV are used for merit considerations and ultimately may be used in the tenure and promotion process. The most important step in dossier development is just to begin collecting everything (save ALL materials at the start). When you begin to assemble your dossier, you should consult your department head to better understand the process, expectations and deadlines. It can be helpful to review a colleague’s dossier to better understand both what is required and what has been deemed adequate in the past. When developing your dossier you can contact CTLT for help with dossier development .

SoTL Research

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) brings the rigour of academic research to examining teaching and learning. You may have a burning question about the educational process and what is happening in your own classroom - this is often the beginning of one’s interest in SoTL. UBC has a number of supports and resources available through CTLT to assist you in SoTL research. CTLT and the ISoTL Community of Practice (Institute for the Scholorship of Teaching and Learning) can give you guidance and support if you would like to conduct this kind of research into your teaching.

There are two important points about SoTL research: collect and save everything related to your teaching so that you can look back more clearly if you decide to do SoTL research in the future. A concern in any SoTL work is obtaining the appropriate ethical approvals. UBC has stated that course information collected, as part of the normal routine of a course offering, is useable in SoTL research and publication. This does not mean you can add your SoTL questions to your evaluations, but it does mean you can use and publish the compilation of student evaluation data that has been collected as the normal operation of a course.

Your Professional Development

The best teachers have been described by Stephen Brookfield in his book The Skillful Teacher (2006) as “reflective practitioners.” They reflect deeply on the educational process, their role in the process, and the possibilities for improvement. Brookfield also suggests that critically reflective teachers must view their practice through 4 different lenses: our personal perspective, the perspective of the student, the perspective of our colleagues, and the literature. The critically reflective teacher strives for more mindful practice.

Your first stop for the professional development of your teaching should be the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT). The Centre offers many resources, workshops and mentorship opportunities to learn more about the educational process and assist you in becoming a “reflective practitioner”. CTLT is located on the second floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. It houses a number of workshop and meeting rooms, faculty consultants, and a well-stocked reading room. You are invited to drop by and tour the facilities, and spend time in the reading room reviewing the many books and publications on teaching. CTLT offers an ongoing series of workshop opportunities including Instructional Skills, Course Design, Diversity Training, New Faculty Orientation, Development for Heads and Directors, the annual CTLT Institute, and many others (visit the website for current offerings The annual CTLT Institute deserves special mention; the institute happens for one week in late May of each year and it is your chance to really concentrate on your professional development. The Institute has a wide range of training opportunities, from how to make your classroom more inclusive to how to write multiple-choice questions.

CTLT also hosts a number of Communities of Practice that bring together faculty with similar interests. The current communities include:

  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Course Design
  • Institute of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Community Service Learning
  • Global Citizenship
  • Graduate Student Teaching
  • Portfolio Community
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Sustainability Across the Curriculum
  • Teaching and Learning for the Heart and Mind
  • Facilitation Community
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Peer Review

Many Faculties at UBC also offer professional development opportunities around teaching and learning. Talk to your colleagues and department head about the opportunities in your particular Faculty. In some faculties these opportunities are associated with the Instructional Support Centres (Arts, Applied Science, Business, Land and Food Systems) or with special program like the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative in the Faculty of Science In other Faculties there are units in the deans office that oversee faculty development (Medicine).

The University offers a full year Certificate (meeting once a month) in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for teachers at UBC. A small number of instructors are chosen each year to complete this program. The program focuses on classroom practice, educational research, and scholarship.

Contact CTLT for more information on how to apply. Applications are due in early May each year.

Finally, education has a rich and very deep literature. If something interests you, there is probably a book or article that would be of use. Contact your local Instructional Support Unit, or CTLT, and we can try to recommend some helpful reading for you.