Teaching and Learning Services strives to make McGill a community of people who love to teach and are excited to learn. In collaboration with students, faculty and staff, we create engaging environments and provide leadership and support for meaningful educational experiences for all.
To help us achieve our ambitious goals for the years ahead, we have articulated the principles that guide our work. These make clear the role of TLS in supporting the University mission as well as the academic nature of our work.
1. Decisions that have a direct or indirect impact on teaching and learning at McGill are guided by a learning-centered focus.
Fostering meaningful student learning across the University is central to the institutional mission, and must therefore be considered in all decision-making processes. Our role is to support teaching and learning policies and practices that support significant, lasting forms of student learning. Learning is a process that requires active student engagement.
2. Teaching is a scholarly act that is worthy of recognition and reward.
Teaching is substantive, intellectual work, deserving the time and attention of faculty. Teaching receives the same investment of intellectual knowledge, rigour and skill as research and other scholarship. As such, careful evaluation of and institutional reward for teaching are merited.
3. We embrace and explore new approaches, contexts, and ideas about teaching and learning grounded in evidence from the literature.
Data from practice provide evidence of the impact and effectiveness of our work, which in turn furthers our practice. The reciprocal relationship between practice and evidence of the impact on student learning is made public, and also serves to model a scholarly approach to investigating questions about teaching and learning.
4. Meaningful educational development activities must be realized in partnership.
Working in partnership can ensure meaningful, long-lasting change, and significant and sustainable impact. Partnerships focus on different levels of the University, from individual instructors to University governance, and so involve all members of the community, including individual instructors; groups of instructors and students; and academic, service, and administrative units.
5. Policies, procedures, and practices are needed to create an environment where educational development activities can take root and flourish.
Our role is to advocate for, facilitate the development of, and support the implementation of policies and procedures that promote sound teaching and learning practices.
6. Strategic, systemic, and sustainable investments are required to support educational development activities.
Our role is to advocate for, guide, support, and steward necessary investments in teaching and learning environments, resources, and personnel.
Commitment of McGill University to Effective Teaching
Passed at Senate, 15 April 1992 as part of the 234th Report of the Academic Policy and Planning Committee
Whereas McGill University is committed to effective teaching practice, BE IT RESOLVED that:
- Teaching activities and achievements, particularly examples of teaching leadership, shall be requested in planning documents and annual reports of academic units.
- Cyclical Review Committees shall pay particular attention to the quality of teaching programs, including supervision of graduate students, in the academic unit under review as outlined in the attached criteria for the evaluation of the quality of teaching for the Cyclical Review Committees.
- The University shall ensure that individuals given a teaching appointment at McGill University have demonstrated the potential to teach effectively.
- Deans of Faculties shall actively support effective teaching and, where feasible, shall make resources available for teaching innovation, curriculum revision, course design and participation in conferences on teaching and learning.
- Effective teaching and the support of effective teaching shall be given due consideration in the awarding of merit to academic teaching staff.
- The Office of the Vice-Principal (Planning and Resources) shall provide annual reports on retention/completion rates which shall then be examined by Faculties and the SCUTL with the objective of assessing reasons for student non-continuation.
- Teaching forums shall be organized by the Centre for University Teaching and Learning to raise awareness of teaching excellence and to provide an understanding of what constitutes effective teaching. Professors who have demonstrated outstanding teaching shall be asked to participate as model teachers in such sessions.
- Every effort shall be made to ensure that teaching activities and achievements have a high profile in University publications and press releases.