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Conference: Sowing the seeds of inquiry

The event on March 5 - 6, 2009, marked the launch of a University-wide initiative to promote the links between teaching, learning and research/scholarship within the scope of undergraduate education. This initiative reflects one of the strategic objectives of the University as set forth in the Provost’s 2006 strategic academic plan, Strengths and Aspirations, and in the recommendations of the Principal’s Task Force on Student Life and Learning.

The event included three sessions:

  1. Opening symposium
  2. Lecture: Linking discipline-based research and teaching to benefit student learning
  3. Workshop: Linking Research and Teaching

1. Opening symposium, March 5, 2009

Chair:
Prof. Morton J. Mendelson, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)

Keynote address:
'Reflections on Teaching Excellence' by Dr. Mick Healey, Director of the Centre for Active Learning, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK

Panel of professors and student, featuring:
Prof. Andre Costopolous, Anthropology; Prof. Lisa Travis, Linguistics; Prof. Paul Wiseman, Physics; Prof. Marcia Waterway, Plant Science

Introduction and panel presentations [.pdf]
Keynote address by Dr. Mick Healey [.pdf]

2. Lecture: Linking discipline-based research and teaching to benefit student learning, March 6, 2009

Description
Knowledge creation is the business of every academic. However, linking research and teaching is a contentious topic of international interest. The links may take many different forms and vary by the nature of the discipline. The main aim of this interactive session is to explore the complexity and contested nature of the research-teaching nexus. It is argued that the relationship depends on how the terms ‘research’ and ‘teaching and learning’ are conceptualized. It is suggested that undergraduate students are likely to gain most benefit from research in terms of depth of learning and understanding when they are involved actively, particularly through various forms of research and inquiry-based learning. The development of such research-based curricula provides challenges to staff across the sector, not least because they may lead to finding new ways for staff and students to work together. The theme is illustrated with numerous mini-case studies from different disciplines and institutions in Australasia, Europe and North America.

Facilitator: Dr. Mick Healey

PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Mick Healey [.pdf]
Handout: Linking discipline-based research and teaching [.pdf]

3. Workshop: Linking Research and Teaching, March 6, 2009

Description
The idea of this workshop is to share interesting practices associated with linking research and teaching to benefit student learning. The key question for all participants is “What aspects of the practices I have learnt about could I adapt for use in my courses or department?” All academic staff with teaching responsibilities are encouraged to participate. Following an introduction, participants will sit at tables of three. Each participant will have 5 minutes to summarize their interesting practice to two colleagues and 5 minutes to answer their questions. There will be two rounds of this to share practices with a range of colleagues. Following these exchanges, the group will meet in plenary to discuss key lessons, share promising practices, and plan future steps. So do come along to share something interesting that you do to link research and teaching to benefit student learning.

Facilitator: Dr. Mick Healey

 

Dr. Mick Healey's Biography

Dr. Mick Healey is Professor of Geography and Director of the Centre for Active Learning, a HEFCE-funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (with Carolyn Roberts).at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. He obtained his bachelor and doctorate degrees from the University of Sheffield and lectured at Coventry University from 1974 to 1994 before moving to Gloucestershire. He is the Director of the Geography Discipline Network (GDN) and Senior Advisor for Geography to The Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. He was Co-Director of a four year Economic and Social Research Council project on Enhancing the quality and outcomes of disabled students’ learning in higher education - the end of project evaluation graded the research as outstanding. He was also co-director of a HE Academy project on Linking teaching and research through the disciplines and Academics’ Experiences and Conceptions of ‘Research’ and ‘Teaching’. He is currently co-directing the University of Gloucestershire’s contribution to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Leadership Programme on Undergraduate Research and is Director (with Peter Childs) of a National Teaching Fellowship Project entitled Leading, promoting and supporting undergraduate research in the new university sector.

For further information about this event, please contact Marcy Slapcoff, Educational Developer by marcy [dot] slapcoff [at] mcgill [dot] ca (email) or phone (514) 398-3024/6648.