posted on Dec. 8: Leadership in learning centre extends helping hand to new faculty


New faculty on campus are being given a helping hand in becoming
accustomed to the learning environment at McMaster.

Every Friday until the Christmas break, the Centre for Leadership in
Learning is offering three-hour seminars on such topics as “Learning in
a University Environment,” “Teaching Methods” and “Documenting Teaching Progress” using a problem-based learning approach.

And starting in January, skill-based workshops, led by experienced
faculty and tailored to the needs of new faculty, will be offered.
Prospective topics include teaching through inquiry, teaching large
classes, and principles of course design.

The workshops and an orientation program introduced this year are among
the CLL initiatives designed to make connections to new faculty, says
CLL executive director Dale Roy.

The goal of the CLL is to be a resource for all those who teach at
McMaster. It provides opportunities for developing teaching skills,
assists faculty with education-related research projects, offers a
library of books, articles and journals, and enables the circulation of
teaching insights or “tips” from veteran lecturers on its Web site at

With so many new faculty joining the University — 34 at McMaster this
fall alone — the centre has an integral role to play in assisting these
new members of the McMaster community.

To connect with new instructors, the CLL held a Meet and Greet event
this past summer. This provided an opportunity for orientation, for
learning about campus resources such as libraries, bookstore, AV and
other teaching-related offices, and for meeting veteran faculty members
who were invited to talk about their teaching experiences.

The turnout was good. Twenty-four new faculty members representing 17
departments attended. Roy is pleased with the response, noting that all
functions and workshops designed by the centre are offered as a service
only. While not required to attend, new faculty are strongly encouraged
to do so.

The term “new faculty” needs some clarification, however. Not all are
lecture appointments fresh from graduate schools, Roy explains.”Many
already have teaching experience; they are simply new to McMaster.”
Others, he says, might even be McMaster faculty who have assumed new

CLL staff conducted personal follow-up visits with new faculty in
October and the experience provided some insight as to how diverse this
group of 34 really is.

For example, it became clear that they represent a range of teaching
situations, from small classes to large lecture theatres and from
clinicians in healthsciences to assistant professors in humanities.

While some form of orientation has been done in the past, this is the
first time all new faculty were interviewed, Roy says. “The purpose was
to discuss their needs and to make a connection between them and the

Mid-way through the term, the office also offers assistance to any
faculty member who wants to revise or refine a course already in