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CTE LogoThe Centre for Teaching Excellence is the result of a merger of three existing units at Waterloo that provided support and recognition for various facets of teaching and learning development. In 2007, the Teaching Resources and Continuing Education (TRACE) Office, the Centre for Learning and Teaching through Technology (LT3), and the Learning Resources and Innovation (LRI) unit were combined to create a consolidated, full-service unit to support Waterloo’s instructors with their on-campus teaching. Support for fully online courses was, and continues to be, provided by the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL), formerly known as Distance and Continuing Education.

TRACE was the initial teaching support unit, created in 1976 and first run by Chris Knapper, who was then a psychology professor at Waterloo. In 1992, Gary Griffin, another psychology faculty member, became the TRACE Director, and the unit provided faculty development services via workshops and individual consultations, housed an extensive library, and began offering programming for graduate students in 1998. In 1995, Tom Carey was hired into TRACE as an Associate Director for learning technologies (and faculty member in Management Sciences), and in 1999, Tom removed this area of service from TRACE and launched LT3, a unit that created and supported a homegrown learning management system, a staffing model that included an LT3 staff member affiliated with each faculty, and the emergence and support of pedagogically focused research. In 2001, Barbara Bulman-Fleming (a psychology faculty member) became the TRACE Director, continuing the mandate of TRACE but also adding support for new faculty members and course-level internationalization.

In 2002, Tom Carey moved into an Associate Vice-President role (LRI), moving the research arm of LT3 to his new area, and in 2003, Liwana Bringelson (faculty member in Systems Design Engineering) became LT3’s (Interim) Director. The AVP-LRI portfolio included: TRACE, LT3, Distance and Continuing Education, and the Audio-Visual Centre. By 2006, the Associate Vice-President, Academic (AVP-A) and Interim AVP-LRI, Gail Cuthbert-Brandt, launched a project to facilitate a merger amongst these three units with goals of easing instructor confusion about which unit to contact for support and addressing the institutional Sixth Decade strategic plan’s focus on excellence in teaching. The focus for the new Centre was captured in the on-campus news publication, The Daily Bulletin:
 

“Reflecting one of the major priorities of the 6th Decade Plan, the Centre for Teaching Excellence will provide leadership in the promotion, development, and advancement of excellence in teaching and learning at the University of Waterloo. By integrating the resources present in the current units, the Centre will offer instructors improved opportunities to access research-based resources, activities, and tools to enhance teaching and learning practices, course design, and curriculum renewal. The CTE will further contribute to the development of teaching excellence by fostering and evaluating research and disseminating results related to innovative practices including new learning tools and technologies." 

Multiple retreats were held with senior staff (including the Director of CEL) to work out the details of the new unit, and on May 1, 2007, CTE was launched, reporting to the AVP-LRI then, later the same year, to the AVP-A when the LRI portfolio was discontinued.

CTE’s first director was Catherine Schryer, a faculty member from the English department and TRACE Director as of 2006. Other senior staff included Donna Ellis and Liwana Bringelson as Associate Directors and Vivian Schoner as the Research and Evaluation Consultant. 

In 2009, Catherine Schryer left Waterloo and then AVP-A, Geoff McBoyle, named Donna Ellis, a full-time staff member and CTE Associate Director, as the Acting Director of CTE. In 2011, Donna was hired as the full-time Director of CTE and remains in that role today. By mid-2011, both Associate Director roles had been eliminated, along with the Research and Evaluation Consultant position. The Centre’s management evolved to a Director and four Senior Instructional Developers (SIDs), which has subsequently been expanded to six SIDs.

The staff positions within CTE have also evolved over time. Most staff from TRACE and LT3 remain with CTE today. In the past 10 years, five of our staff have been promoted within our department, and seven new positions have been created: two Senior Instructional Developers, three Instructional Developers, an Educational Research Associate, and a Communications Associate. The Faculty Liaison positions were also all moved to full-time, and the graduate student staffing model also grew from one TRACE TA Developer to four Graduate Instructional Developers and six TA Workshop Facilitators. For more information, consult CTE's organizational chart and descriptions of current positions.