Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, interim AVP teaching and learning, outlines her priorities for the 2019-20 academic year

Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the 2019-20 academic year! In my role as the interim associate vice-president teaching and learning (AVP T&L), I am pleased to introduce this year’s inaugural issue of Innovatus, a special issue of YFile that appears monthly and is devoted to teaching and learning innovations at York University. This year, we will be featuring the teaching and learning initiatives undertaken in various Faculties at York, giving us the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals and departments.

I am committed to working collegially to enhance the profile of teaching and learning at York, to provide support for teaching development, and to advance York’s reputation for excellence in pedagogical innovation and student learning. With this goal in mind, the upcoming year promises to be full of activities, as I work in partnership with academic divisions as well as with the following support units and initiatives:

  • the Teaching Commons, which provides both virtual and face-to-face programming and activities for faculty members, graduate students, and staff to explore best practices and innovative teaching and learning strategies;
  • the YU Experience Hub, which bridges the gap between the classroom and the work environment;
  • the York Change Leadership Office, which works with senior university partners to enable strategic excellence across York University; and
  • the Academic Innovation Fund, which supports initiatives that advance York’s strategic priorities in relation to teaching, learning and the student experience.

Experiential education (EE) and eLearning continue to be areas of growth here at York, and my office will be working to increase the profile of these pedagogical and curricular activities that offer many benefits to students, including the following:

  • EE provides students with opportunities to apply theory to practice in the classroom, the community and the workplace.
  • eLearning supports online and blended courses and programs through technology so that students have tools, mobility and flexibility with learning.

In addition to pursuing activities and initiatives in support of teaching and learning, the Office of the AVP T&L is also involved in academic leadership development. Working with York Change Leadership, sessions for faculty administrators at various levels are developed to provide infrastructure so as to improve organizational engagement and understanding while building academic leadership and collegial networking.

Over the course of the year, the Office of the AVP T&L will be working with our partners on several initiatives, including:

  • an EE Celebration on Nov. 7;
  • an eLearning Celebration on Dec. 5;
  • a Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Celebration early in 2020;
  • the establishment of new communities of practice through the Teaching Commons; and
  • expanded sessions for teaching assistants through the Teaching Commons and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

I look forward to working with all of you in the year ahead, and to seeing you at our sessions and activities.