Early on in her 2012-17 term as Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Health, Professor Susan Murtha began sending out emails to all faculty members with interesting information and news about issues and concerns in teaching and learning in higher education, including promising practices to deal with those issues and concerns.
Fast forward to today and those emails have transformed into Disco: The Faculty of Health Learning and Teaching Communiqué. “The motivation to create Disco was to take what Susan had started a few years ago – this tradition of sharing information with our faculty members – and give it more impact and presence,” said Professor Parissa Safai, the faculty’s new associate dean, teaching and learning.
Why the name Disco? When translated into English, the Latin verb “disco” means: I learn, I acquire knowledge, or I become acquainted with. “As we engage our students within and outside of the classroom, we are centrally concerned about their learning.
“Disco is meant to support us and our learning as teachers. This is also the reason why Disco is the Faculty’s learning and teaching communiqué, and not its teaching and learning communiqué,” said Safai. “The fact that disco also happens to be fun music that makes you want to dance is a bonus – we all need reminders to have fun in what we do.”
Disco will follow, where possible, the ebb and flow of the academic year so that information about key issues is available to teaching faculty members at relevant times. Over the next year, Disco will:
- Direct faculty members towards the people, places, and resources on campus that support professional (teaching) development, course design and evaluation, experiential education, technology-enhanced learning, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and more;
- Highlight promising and innovative teaching, learning and student success practices, from within and outside of the Faculty of Health; and
- Draw attention to important policies that frame York’s teaching and learning environment.
“The Faculty of Health is fortunate to have many dynamic, innovative, engaged and engaging teachers in its ranks,” said Safai. “Their efforts and hard work need to be acknowledged and celebrated.” To this, the last objective of Disco is to encourage faculty members to share their teaching stories in efforts to showcase and inspire.