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Support for New Faculty

Core program

Overview

The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) follows a learning-centred model of reflective practice and development. New faculty members, whether limited term or tenure track, face a balancing act in their new jobs at Waterloo. Depending on experiences elsewhere, new faculty enter our programming with a variety of learning needs and initially are asked to make a formal plan with a CTE staff member. Where no prior independent teaching experience exists, the University asks that faculty undertake specific workshops to ready themselves for teaching Waterloo students. Some Faculties require attendance at their own specific orientations while others leave it to faculty members themselves to decide when and how to learn more about teaching. We invite new faculty members of any rank and role to attend our sessions, and in particular the sessions we’ve designed for them based on local surveys and broader scholarship in our field of teaching support.

Outcomes

Through participation in a selection of activities chosen in consultation with CTE staff, new faculty will:

  • Reflect on and thereby improve teaching practice in the context of their disciplines and theories about teaching and learning.
  • Create course or unit learning experiences and appropriate assessments for a variety of learners.
  • Develop their delivery skills in person and online in order to respond confidently to a dynamic and diverse environment.
  • Plan relevant and appropriate teaching development opportunities for themselves.
  • Take into account the socio-cultural, linguistic, intellectual and political diversity of learners and teachers.

Timeline

To assist new faculty members in achieving the foregoing Outcomes, CTE has developed the following timeline covering the first five years of a faculty member's teaching practice.

Within the first year

Workshops or activities Duration Offered

Teaching Development Plan 

  • A reflective statement on personal teaching values and beliefs that will likely evolve over his or her career
  • An identification of immediate and longer term teaching development goals
  • A description of prior knowledge about teaching and learning in higher education, including practice-based and theoretical knowledge as well as any certification and training obtained prior to joining the faculty at Waterloo
  • A suggested timetable for the achievement of the short and longer term teaching goals, which may include activities such as:
    • participation in CTE events and workshops
    • departmental or university-wide mentoring programs
    • classroom observations
    • conferences on teaching and learning within or across disciplines
3 hours:

1 hour of preparation;
1 hour meeting;
1 hour of follow-up.
At the faculty member’s request

Within the first year and half

Workshops or activities Duration Offered
Note:
  • These four workshops are mandatory for Applied Health Sciences and Engineering faculty members who have no equivalent training.
  • Depending on demand, staffing, and other factors, some of these may be offered as a package over one or two days or as single workshops spaced across the term. Intensive programming regularly takes place over two days in August and one day in January. 
Who are our learners 1.5 hrs Minimum twice per year
Classroom dynamics and engagement 1.5 hrs Minimum twice per year
Assessment for learning 2 hrs Minimum twice per year
Course design fundamentals 6 hrs Minimum twice per year

Within the first 2 years

Workshops or activities Duration Offered
Teaching Dossiers and Philosophy Statements 3 hrs annually

Year 2, 3, or 4

Workshops or activities Duration Offered
One of these three:    
24 hrs 3 times/yr

minimum 6 hours

varies

  • Peer Mentoring (if available within department)
varies varies
 
Graduate supervision Series (six workshops) 12 hrs biennially
 
Learning community or pedagogical scholarship varies varies
 
Documenting teaching for promotion and tenure 1.5 hrs annually, March
 
One of these two:    
  • Formal CTE observations
2-6 hours on request
  • Peer review program (if available within department)
varies varies

Assessments

Ideally, faculty in limited term or tenure-track jobs will present evidence of their growth and development in a brief dossier. Reflective statements about principles and intentions should align with data gathered from students, self, and colleagues. The updated dossier presents an argument by the faculty member in support of his or her teaching effectiveness and may be used for annual review and/or promotion and tenure.

Other programs

Graduate Supervision Workshop Series

As of Fall 2015, this series of six workshops supports the preparation of faculty for Approved Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor status. Over 120 faculty members have completed the series as of Spring 2017. Read the program description if you are seeking this status and apply for the next offering.

Mentoring program

The Centre for Teaching Excellence encourages mentorship for new faculty members. We will assist new faculty in locating an experienced faculty member who is willing to act as an informal mentor. The right mentor can provide advice about navigating your roles at the University of Waterloo, or simply be a sounding board as you plan your first few years. The department affiliation of the mentor will depend on availability and on any special characteristics you would like in a mentor; for example, you may prefer a mentor of your own gender or possibly from a similar cultural background. Mentoring is voluntary for all concerned. If you would like more information, contact Monica Vesely.

Social events

New faculty members can't learn everything they need to know from web pages and workshops! That's why CTE coordinates monthly social gatherings for new faculty members, so that they can share their experiences, trade insights, and just relax in the company of colleagues who are also new to the Waterloo community. Contact Monica Vesely to learn more about these events.

More resources for new faculty

Upcoming workshops:

Teaching Tips. A searchable collection of more than 100 brief and practical documents for enhancing teaching.

Graduate Supervision Workshops. For those seeking Approved Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor status. Begins Fall 2015.

Opportunities and New Directions. An annual conference for sharing research and innovative practices pertaining to teaching and learning. 

Exam regulations. More than 20 regulations from the Registrar's Office governing the administration of final exams. 

CTE's TA Manual (PDF). A detailed handbook that provides guidance, policies, and other information to TAs. 

Course outline template and requirements. Made available by the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic.

Course outline example. Made available by the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic.

Course outline exemplars. Six course outlines developed by Waterloo instructors, each featuring one or more notable components. 

The Centre for Extended Learning. Support for instructors who want to develop fully online courses. 

Instructional Technologies and Multimedia Services. Equipment and media loans, video recording services, videoconferencing set up, and more. 

Task Force Report on Deep Learning. A Waterloo report on innovative and effective teaching practices that foster deep learning.