In Spring 2012, 6 U of T librarians attended “Fundamentals of University Teaching”, a multi-week program for U of T instructors, taught by Zubin Austin and Susan McCahan under the auspices of CTSI. Patricia Bellamy tracked the librarians’ classroom experiences with weekly surveys, and our CTSI colleagues Martha Harris and Benjamin Pottruff conducted a focus group with the participants after they completed the program.
The group unanimously recommended that librarians continue to take advantage of this excellent program. One of the major benefits was joining with faculty in the learning experience: librarians found that the classroom connection with faculty enriched their own understanding of instructor issues and concerns surrounding teaching.
The group also provided several other recommendations, which will be implemented over the next year.
- Revise the FUNDAMENTALS course structure around three topics (course design, teaching dossiers, and assessment) to focus on the Librarian-specific contexts in these areas. Librarians who were part of the previous year’s Fundamentals program would be engaged to facilitate these breakout sessions, with overall coordination by a designated librarian.
- Integrate microteaching into the course for all participants (this would be integrated into the overall Fundamentals program.)
- Extend CTSI in-class observations to Librarians teaching.
- Provide Librarians for opportunities for collaborative reflection on teaching experiences for purposes of documenting for annual performance appraisals.
- Establish opportunities for continued development and discussion after the course, in the form of:
- Peer teaching observations of other peers’ workshops/lectures (with training on observation skills, as required)
- Establishing a community of practice/discussion group to share best practices for teaching
- Pairing of peers to create “buddy system” or formal or informal mentorship through the teaching year