Welcome to Academic Matters
Message from the Academic Dean
I am very pleased to introduce the first issue of Academic Matters.
There is an extraordinary level of innovation at Dawson, so much so that one can justifiably say that innovation is part of the college’s DNA. Sometimes, however, the amount and speed of innovation can appear overwhelming and it is not possible to keep abreast of interesting developments.
Academic Matters provides a vehicle for sharing information between teachers, between sectors and between teachers and the services that support the academic mission of the college. Academic Matters seeks to complement and support other information resources; it is not trying to compete with them or duplicate them. It seeks, rather, to add value by offering different perspectives and reflections on what can be learned from what we do.
Three words appearing below the masthead encapsulate the objectives of the newsletter: communicate, connect, collaborate.
Communication at Dawson already exists in many different forms, through informal conversations, an occasional workshop, or a notice to the community, but quite often the circle of shared information is restrained or people learn about a new development by accident. Academic Matters seeks to broaden the circle of knowledge and reduce the vagaries of chance by providing a regular channel for teachers, professionals and others to share their activities and accomplishments, to stimulate others to think about their pedagogical practice, and to explore new ideas and ways of doing things. Better communication can help people to make connections and explore ways to collaborate. More collaboration, however, is not necessarily the ultimate objective. An approach that works in Physical Education may not translate to Physics, but how a situation is defined and analyzed may be of considerable interest to others and allow them to learn from a journey already taken.
Communication that informs and stimulates interest can help to make connections at many different levels, between people, between ideas and between activities. To foster the creation of these different types of connections, the editorial team of Academic Matters captures in miniature some of the diversity of Dawson’s sectors and services. Moreover, the newsletter will contain articles on pedagogical strategies and practices, resources for teachers, research, services for students and teachers, and innovation. The lines between these themes are not hard and fast, allowing readers to make their own connections.
When we are informed about what is going on, when connections are relevant and meaningful, opportunities are created to engage with colleagues and push further. Dawson has numerous communities of practice that are already doing extraordinary collaborative work, some of which is well known and some of which is only starting to be known. When individual teachers, departments or programs share interesting approaches or ideas, they can blossom into new experiences for others. For all these situations, Academic Matters provides a vehicle for people to communicate, connect and collaborate.
In closing, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the editorial team who brought energy and enthusiasm to the planning and development of this project, and devoted many hours to preparing the content of the first issue.
Please feel free to comment on the articles. Your feedback will help ensure that Academic Matters addresses what is important to the academic community.