A new position within York University’s Faculty of Health that aims to enhance teaching and learning excellence will commence July 1 with Assistant Professor Julie Conder of psychology in the role for a three-year term.
The inaugural Distinguished Fellowship in Learning and Teaching Excellence (FLTE) will support strategic priorities by undertaking innovative and high-impact education projects, with a key focus on experiential education and technology-enhanced learning.
Conder, who joined the Faculty of Health’s Department of Psychology (teaching stream) in 2017, has a background in neuroscience and cognitive science. She is focused on student-centred issues such as stress, as well as the experiences of first-generation students.
“Guided by her education preparation and her experiences in mentorship and support of marginalized students’ groups, she has served as a student liaison and on various committees that advocate for equity, diversity and inclusive practices,” says Faculty of Health Dean David Peters.
In this role, Conder plans research to identify experiences and challenges faced by first-generation students at York and develop resources to support these students.
“I am guided by my own experiences as a first-gen student and the challenges I faced along my academic journey,” says Conder. “The work I will do as the FLTE will be aimed at identifying needs and creating resources for first-generation students, including researching innovative assessment strategies and creating an eLearning Interactive SkillsHub and related resources in the Faculty of Health to increase equity for this worthy student population.”
First-generation students are postsecondary students whose parents or caregivers did not obtain a university or college degree. York University attracts more first-generation learners than any other university in Ontario, says Conder, resulting in a student population that is approximately 30 per cent first-generation, including about 12,000 full-time and 2500 part-time learners according to the Government of Ontario.
“Although first-generation students face unique challenges, they bring diversity and strength to the York community,” says Conder. “The aim of this project is to identify needs and provide resources to first-generation students in the Faculty of Health.”
The FLTE was created to provide an opportunity to cultivate educational and pedagogical innovation and excellence in health-related disciplines. Through this work, the FLTE will advance the application of innovative pedagogies in daily teaching practices and identify new directions that will enhance teaching, learning and scholarship.
Peters says in this leadership role, Conder’s “commitment to research in the scholarship of teaching and learning will advance teaching practice and student academic supports in the Faculty of Health and beyond.”
Acting as an ambassador of teaching excellence, the FLTE will respond to the dynamic educational needs of learners in the Faculty of Health to deliver high-quality learning experiences that align with health-care demands.
“In collaboration with the Faculty of Health, I hope to put York on the map as a leader in equity for first-generation students in Ontario,” says Conder.