Celia Popovic to step down as director of Teaching Commons

The following is an announcement on the Teaching Commons from Provost Lisa Philipps and Associate Vice-President Teaching and Learning Will Gage.

We are writing to inform the community that Professor Celia Popovic will be stepping down from her position as director of York’s Teaching Commons effective Dec. 31.

Celia Popovic

Celia Popovic

Celia initially joined York in November of 2011 from the U.K., and was appointed interim director of the newly created Teaching Commons in July 2012, becoming its director as of July 1, 2015. She was tenured and promoted to associate professor in the Faculty of Education in 2018. She has worked in the field of educational development since the 1980s.

Since 2012, the Teaching Commons has grown to include five educational developers, two postdoctoral visitors, an instructional designer and an administrative staff member. Up to 10 graduate students annually participate as TAs in courses and in workshops for TAs, and undergraduate students offer consultancy to faculty members as part of a pilot project.

A major accomplishment under Celia’s leadership has been the development and growth of the Teaching in Focus Conference, which has now been offered five times as an institutional event providing opportunities for York teachers to share their practice and learn from each other. The Teaching Commons also publishes a weekly blog to share teaching ideas.

Another important initiative has been the implementation of programs to support graduate students and TAs across the University. Offerings for graduate students include the TA Certificate in Teaching (TACT) and the Senior Teaching Assistant (STA) program, both of which are certified programs through the Educational Developers Caucus (EDC), which is Canada’s professional body for educational development. Celia has been deeply involved in this organization, currently serving as its vice-chair for conferences – and organizing its first fully online conference to take place next year – and as a member of the Executive Committee.

She has also been involved in supporting pan-University initiatives such as the Academic Innovation Fund, which provides seed funding for innovations in teaching and learning, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Supervisor Working Group, which resulted in guidelines for supervisors and students.

Celia looks forward to greater involvement in the teaching of graduate and undergraduate courses as a member of the Faculty of Education and to pursuing her research interests, which include exploring ways to support teachers at all levels and to engage students in their own learning. Since joining York, she has co-authored or edited four books on aspects of educational development and student learning, and she frequently presents her research at conferences. She has also been appointed visiting distinguished scholar by Trent University.

We are very pleased to announce that, as of Jan. 1, 2019, Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier will take up the position of interim director as we undertake a search for the next director of the Teaching Commons. Geneviève currently serves as an educational developer in the Teaching Commons; her research and work in the Teaching Commons encompass experiential education, the scholarship of teaching and learning, universal design for learning and integrating research into teaching. She has led initiatives such as the Experiential Education Guide and she oversees the evaluation strategy for the Teaching Commons’ activities.

We want to express our sincere appreciation to Celia for her contributions to teaching and learning at York as director and to wish her all the best for the next phase of her career.  We remain absolutely committed to the work of the Teaching Commons, and we look forward to working with Geneviève in continuing to advance its mandate in the coming months.

Yours truly,

Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president academic, and Will Gage, AVP teaching and learning

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