Monica Vesely used SIEF funding to travel to institutions in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to learn about teaching orientation strategies and approaches used at foreign institutions that have a large number of international faculty and students.

As an instructional developer for the Centre for Teaching Excellence, she designs and delivers instructional development programs and provides consultations for faculty members and staff instructors in course design, instructional skills, and evaluation. By exploring alternate professional development approaches with her international colleagues, she looks forward to being better able to support new faculty here at Waterloo.

From March 28 - April 3rd, 2018, she visited three universities in the United Kingdom and from April 5-11, 2018 she visited four universities in the Netherlands. The experience allowed her to collaborate with people in similar roles and learn more about best practices in international relationship building.

What was the purpose of your trip?

It was my intention to use my Staff International Experience Fund travels to engage in conversations with my counterparts (at teaching centres at various institutions in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands) to share experiences around orientation and training for incoming instructors.

Specifically, the objectives of my visit were to:

  • Identify and come to understand the key new faculty orientation/training components at each institution and provide an overview of the same at the University of Waterloo
  • Learn about the practices associated with delivering these components at each institution and share the approaches used at the University of Waterloo
  • Engage in discussions about strengths and weaknesses of our respective programming

Throughout the exchange, my aim was to pay special attention to the international nature of both faculty and students at the respective institutions.

How have you applied your international learnings to your role at The University of Waterloo?

Over the last six months, I have found multiple opportunities to draw upon the many conversations that I had during my SIEF trip. I am able to consider some of the organizational and programming shifts being considered both within my own unit as well as more broadly across our institution in a more meaningful ways as a direct result of these external conversations. I continue to have regular Skype meeting with my Dutch and German colleagues and I have exchanged additional resources and input from my UK contacts. These continued exchanges keep my perspective fresh and help me prepare for and adapt to upcoming changes. The Staff International Experience has both served to confirm the structure and content of our new faculty core programming and has reaffirmed my commitment to community building from the early career stage. I look forward to unearthing more learnings as I continue to unpack the experience over time and to the ongoing relationship building with colleagues overseas.

What advice would you give future SIEF participants?

One recommendation I would make to future SIEF participants is to start conversations with colleagues well in advance. This not only helps to define areas of mutual interest, but also, helps to build relationships that will lead to more fruitful and in-depth experiences on the ground.

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