Reimagining support for Dawson teachers: Introducing the Faculty Hub

Interested in connecting with a community of practice or professional development opportunities?

Need teaching resources?

Looking for inspiration?

Turn to the Faculty Hub.

The Office of Academic Development (OAD), in collaboration with the communities of practice, Human Resources, Information Systems and Technology and sector deans, is leading the planning, development and management of a Faculty Hub.

The Faculty Hub will increase the visibility of and access to faculty-related information and professional development opportunities. It will:

  • provide support to new faculty;
  • assist teachers in learning about what is going on, what resources are available and who does what;
  • identify what pedagogical development faculty members need;
  • build awareness about and promote evidence-based, student-centred pedagogical practices among faculty; and
  • help sustain existing communities of practice and develop new ones.

The first phase of development includes a website, which will house information about faculty initiatives, pedagogical resources, support available to faculty and professional development opportunities. Long-term, the Faculty Hub will be a place where faculty can connect, share, exchange, explore or dive into something new.

The goals of the Strategic Plan, the need for support to initiatives and survey information gathered from teachers have all contributed to the vision of the Faculty Hub.

Hub 1Over the past decade, the College has supported various faculty-driven initiatives, which enhance the learning environment, enrich the student experience directly and indirectly, and contribute to the development of the Dawson Graduate Profile Outcomes. Many of these undertakings provide faculty with peer-to-peer professional development opportunities related to high-impact and evidence-based practices. These include initiatives and communities of practice such as Writing in the Disciplines, Universal Design for Learning, First Peoples Initiative, E-Learning, Active Learning, Learning Communities, S.P.A.C.E., Sustainable Dawson, Artificial Intelligence, Sustainable Campuses, New School, Reflections and SALTISE.



Working together for student success

These initiatives have led to the emergence of communities of practices and of many original and effective projects in classrooms and beyond. Throughout the school year, different groups offer pedagogical development activities. Some of these are widely known, others less so. Pedagogical resources and tools are being developed, and yet they may not necessarily be known outside the immediate circle of their author or group. Such rich initiatives, projects and resources should be known and be supported so they can endure and benefit the entire faculty.

Hub 2Over the past year, OAD, along with Human Resources has been working to better understand the needs of faculty, communities of practice and other initiatives. The Human Resources Faculty Satisfaction survey results identified the broad strokes of faculty needs in terms of professional development. An additional survey from the Office of Academic Development last spring asked about faculty interest on a range of topics, preferred duration of workshops and availability to attend professional development activities. In addition, OAD has met with community of practice leads and discussed priorities and ways that OAD can support these communities.

To teach 21st-century skills to our students, to embrace effective pedagogical approaches, to implement new technologies soundly, to contribute to research, and to sustain initiatives and develop new ones, we need to make sure that what we do well continues, and that we facilitate access to resources, information and opportunities for development. A Faculty Hub will help us do all these things.

In its initial implementation phase, during the coming year, the Hub will focus on providing increased support to the communities of practice and on promoting and highlighting their work. A website will provide centralized information relevant for faculty. Additionally, a program of pedagogical development workshops and events will be piloted. A comprehensive approach to the communication of academic related news, information and events will be planned.


A clearinghouse for information

The Hub website, or stating it an another way – a clearinghouse – will inform faculty about workshops, conferences, professional development opportunities, research and grant opportunities. It will centralize the access to information on the communities of practice, to increase their visibility and to inform faculty about their activities and fellow programs. Additionally, a common calendar of pedagogical events is currently under construction and should be launched in the early fall. Over time, the site will also host academic sector news, including a link to the Academic Matters newsletter. It will provide information on pedagogical support available to faculty, not only highlighting interesting, innovative, effective faculty pedagogical practices and projects but also sharing faculty stories to inspire and foster community.


Pedagogical development

Hub 4The program of pedagogical development will be launched this fall. The activities of the communities of practice will be promoted on the Hub calendar and complementary workshops will be organized by the Office of Academic Development, often in partnership with other services of the College (Information Systems and Technology, Human Resources, Sustainable Dawson, Student Services and others), communities of practice, Dawson experts and invited guest speakers. The goal is to offer pedagogical development workshops for faculty at various points of their career, from new teachers to experienced faculty. Some of the workshops and series being planned for the coming year are:

  • A Foundations Series
  • An Assessment Series
  • A Learning to Learn Series
  • A Student-Centered Teaching Series
  • A Learning Technologies Series
  • A New Faculty Integration Series
  • Other workshops

The communities of practice, which have been playing a major role in faculty development at Dawson, will continue their activities and fellow programs, with administrative and professional support from the Office of Academic Development. To facilitate planning and collaboration across the communities, a coordinating committee will be put in place.

Hub 3A Hub should have a physical space. As a starting point, the orientation of the CoLab will be realigned to its original intent: to support faculty collaboration, exchanges, faculty projects and research, faculty development, and the communities of practice. The use of the CoLab for non-faculty activities will be limited.

In sum, the HUB is being launched to support faculty:

  • find professional development opportunities
  • learn about the faculty communities of practice
  • find support for their community of practice
  • share ideas, expertise, best practices
  • find out who does what and discover who has similar interests
  • find resources
  • discover how their project can take shape
  • explore something new
  • connect with each other

Looking forward to a dynamic year with the community. Stay tuned for more information on the Faculty Hub! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Julia Lijerón, who is responsible for the coordination of the Faculty Hub.

Last Modified: September 24, 2019