New name, same mission for teaching centre

While its name may have changed, the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), formerly the Teaching Support Centre, still sees itself as the teaching hub of the university.

“The name change will not bring a change of focus. Instead, the change catches up with the ways in which our centre has grown over the past 15 years,” said Nanda Dimitrov, CTL Director. “The new name reflects and represents the student-centered approach to teaching that guides all of our work.”

The CTL is one of Canada’s oldest teaching centres, originally established in 1979 as the Educational Development Office located in a small room in the Stevenson Lawson Building with one full-time and one part-time staffer. In 2004, the newly named Teaching Support Centre moved to its current location in the D. B. Weldon Library to better support the growing number of faculty and teaching assistants.

In 2016-17, the centre underwent an external review for the first time in its history. The name change was one of the recommendations made as a way to capture the centre’s strengths in student engagement, active learning and teaching innovation.

“Now, a team of 11 educational developers and staff facilitate more than 60 different programs on teaching and learning for faculty, graduate students, postdocs and librarians,” said Dimitrov. An additional 14 faculty members are affiliated with the centre as teaching fellows – serving as educational leaders campus wide and within their own faculty.

The CTL is recognized nationally and internationally for its research-based practice, comprehensive teaching assistant and international graduate student programs, extended teaching certificate programs, purple guide series and as the home of The Canadian Journal for The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Each year, CTL programs engage more than 1,500 faculty and 3,000 graduate students. Workshops and intensive courses provide faculty members with orientation to teaching at Western, hands-on practice in active learning, opportunities to learn about innovation in blended and technology enabled learning and support departments during curriculum renewal and review, added Dimitrov.

“We offer a large number of teaching development programs for both local and international graduate students to help them prepare to teach at Western as TAs,” she said. “In addition to developing teaching and facilitation skills, our graduate student programs also help grad students enhance their academic communication and presentation skills, learn how to get mentored and build effective relationships with their supervisors.”