York University’s acclaimed Teaching in Focus (TiF) conference returns for another year

Student working at home having a video conference with colleagues
Student working at home having a video conference with colleagues

One of the highlights of the academic year at York University – the Teaching in Focus (TiF) Conference – returns May 10 and 11 in a new virtual format.

This year’s theme is “Engaged Teaching Wherever We Are” and it speaks to the many challenges and changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organized by the Teaching Commons at York University, TiF is a highly anticipated and popular event and has boasted year after year records in attendance. No pre-registration is required and all are welcome to attend this free event. 

Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier
Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier

“The theme for this year’s TiF was specifically chosen because it encourages us to think about teaching far beyond the constraints of a physical location,” says Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier, director, Teaching Commons. 

What goes into crafting an outstanding learning experience?

TiF 2021 will consider real-world experiences that go beyond punctual teaching performances located in a particular lecture hall. It will probe what constitutes an extraordinary online learning experience, including experience, dialogue with students, critical engagement with pedagogy in theory and in application, a dose of creativity and risk-taking, curiosity to investigate one’s own practice, and the willingness to share with others our successes and failures – the triumphs and the tears.

TiF promises to be an engaging conference with a record number of offerings, including faculty-led panels as well as synchronous and pre-recorded presentations says Maheux-Pelletier.

The event will start with a keynote presentation by Professor Andrea Webb, assistant professor of teaching in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. Webb’s presentation is titled “Reflective practice in a time of Covid-19: Scholarly teaching in teacher education.”

The conference will close with a plenary session that will be given by Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Humanities Professor Andrea A. Davis. In her remarks, Davis will challenge conference attendees to critically examine their teaching practices through an anti-racist lens.

More about the conference presenters

Andrea Webb is an assistant professor of teaching. She spent a decade as a classroom teacher and department head before returning to higher education as a teacher educator. Her research interests lie in teaching and learning in higher education and she is involved in research projects related to Threshold Concepts, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), and Social Studies Teacher Education. Currently, Webb is part of a multinational project funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project’s title is “Narrative Art & Visual Storytelling in Holocaust and Human Rights Education.” To learn more visit http://holocaustgraphicnovels.org/.

Andrea A. Davis is an associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Special Advisor on the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Strategy. She teaches and supervises in literatures and cultures of the Black Americas and has won teaching awards at the Faculty, University, provincial and national levels, including a 2021 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award. She holds cross-appointments in the graduate programs in English; Interdisciplinary Studies; Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies; and Social and Political Thought. She is the author of Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women’s Cultural Critiques of Nation soon to be released by Northwestern University Press.

To learn more, including the event schedule and links to join the sessions, visit the Teaching in Focus website at https://event.fourwaves.com/tif2021/.