Additional information

The resources included here are designed to help faculty members from Arts build and teach an Arts First seminar. In order to support instructors in the design and delivery of Arts First courses, we recommend the following:

First, if you’re thinking about teaching an Arts First seminar and want to know more about timelines or what that might look like, then you can check out our guide to a year in the life of an Arts First instructor.

Second, we run instructor workshops (at least twice a year) to help with the design of these seminars. You can see a snapshot of the kinds of work from these instructor workshops.

Third, we’ve also developed a glossary (PDF) of the kinds of student-centered teaching strategies that might help instructors think about how to foreground communication and analysis in their classes.

Fourth, many Arts First seminars work closely with the Library to improve students’ research skills. For ARTS 130: Librarians are available to work with you to address your students’ information needs tailored to your class topic, typically in a single classroom visit. To make arrangements, please contact the Arts Librarians.  For ARTS 140: Librarians have designed three hours of foundational content to integrate into your class on the topics of asking researchable questions, finding appropriate resources, and evaluating information. You will be contacted directly by the librarian for your class when your name is published in the Schedule of Classes. If you have questions or wish to make early arrangements, please contact Kari Weaver, Instructional Design Librarian. If you are teaching your Arts First course through Renison College or St. Jerome’s University, please contact Tony Tin, or Zack MacDonald respectively for arrangements.

Fifth, the Centre for Teaching Excellence supports Arts First instructors in a variety of ways. Stephanie White specializes in integrating communication into courses and is available for individual consultations on course design. CTE also offers advice on designing and responding to communication assignments. In addition, there is always a communication-focused workshop at Focus on Teaching Week, and the Waterloo Assessment Institute can be a great venue for working on Arts First assignments and courses.

Sixth, consider applying for funding to support innovative teaching via the Arts First Pedagogical Enhancement Fund. We recognize that some instructors may teach in different ways or with different methods than usual. In order to support your teaching, we have set aside funds for equipment, special supplies, guest speakers, field trips, etc.  If you have something in mind, please use the online application form. We also have a small budget available for special materials (think posters or buttons but not photocopying).

Seventh, if you have a student who is performing poorly academically or is chronically absent or disengaged, we have created a “widget” in LEARN, only available to instructors, to help identify these students and allow the Arts Advisors to reach out to them. If you report a student through the widget, an email will be sent to the Arts Undergraduate Office and the appropriate advisor will reach out to the student to help.