Annual report 2013

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The Council of 3M National Teaching Fellows
Annual Report, 2012/13

This year has been one of discernment and growth for the Council, refocusing our energies around issues important to our Fellows. The Executive of Council met face-to-face in Montréal during the STLHE conference, in December at McMaster University, and online with WebEx meetings during the rest of the year.

2_3M_Fellows logosAfter polling the Fellowship, we coordinated a session at last year’s STLHE Conference entitled “The Future Is In Your Hands.” Through that meeting and a survey of the Fellows, we identified four areas of interest and enthusiasm: Communications, Pedagogical Innovation, Advocacy and Mentorship. This year we have worked to develop projects in these areas and develop a higher profile as a constituency on the teaching and learning landscape.

As part of our communications strategy we have tried to issue somewhat regular communiqués to the Fellows, and this past year saw three communiqués on the Council’s activities. A second element of our communications strategy was to undertake a branding exercise to create a distinct visual presence for the Council and its Fellows within STLHE. We have two new logos. The upper logo is for the Council itself and the lower is the Fellows’ logo. These are incorporated into the banner you see at the top of this page. This branding will also form the basis for the long-awaited redesign of our web pages which include online versions of our books: Making a Difference, Students Speak, and Silence.

In the area of Pedagogical innovation, the “Welcome to My Classroom” sessions, first presented at last year’s STLHE Conference, are now a regular part of the STLHE Conference. A working group was formed that set criteria for the sessions and the first call for submissions went out earlier this year. In these sessions, 3M Fellows open their classrooms to participants who observe Fellows’ teaching methods and discuss techniques and issues important in their teaching. This year four sessions will be presented within the concurrent sessions of the STLHE conference.

Advocacy initiatives include the creation of a trifold brochure for distribution to new Fellows, strategic partners, and universities to publicize the Council and the kind of projects we undertake. We’ve also set up a working group to develop and encourage the nomination of Fellows for national and provincial merit awards such as the Order of Canada and the Lieutenant Governor General’s awards. A second advocacy working group will be formed in the coming year to develop materials for a toolkit for universities with newly-named Fellows to assist them in publicizing and celebrating their 3M Fellows.

This year we are unveiling a new model for Peer Mentorship that can be used by teachers in post-secondary institutions to develop reflective teaching practices. The model will be presented in an open session at this year’s STLHE Conference and our hope is that not only 3M Fellows but post-secondary educators at all institutions will be able to use the model to enhance their teaching practices.

After the loss of our sponsor last year, financing remains an issue for the Council. The election of a new STLHE Board member responsible for Sponsorships will allow Council and the Board to begin the search for a new sponsor in the coming year; this is a priority for us. Fortunately, a surplus from last year has allowed us to operate this year. But, the Council needs a more stable funding base and we have initiated discussions with the STLHE Board to receive a proportion of the institutional membership fee and have launched a new membership drive to encourage more Fellows to support the Council and STLHE with voluntary donations.

Finally we are looking forward to an even busier upcoming year. One thing you may have noticed in this annual report is the creation of various working-groups. As more of these are established we hope you will find one that is of interest to you and join in.

Respectfully submitted,

Elizabeth A. Wells, Chair

Download a PDF version of this report.