The 2021 cohort of the MacPherson Institute’s Teaching and Learning Fellowship and grant recipients was officially welcomed at a virtual kick off ceremony on June 22nd. Current and previous fellowship and grant award winners gathered to celebrate the grants program and the many projects that were awarded this year – all of which aim to strengthen McMaster’s tradition around pedagogical leadership.
The celebration opened with remarks from Kim Dej, acting vice-provost, and Lori Goff, director of the MacPherson Institute and was followed by comments from other McMaster teaching and learning community members.
“These folks are truly McMaster’s champions of teaching. They are our most influential advocates, and they are emerging leaders and champions of teaching and learning,” said Goff.
The teaching and learning grants program consists of: the Leadership in Teaching and Learning Fellowship program – a two year fellowship program that engages faculty members across the university in scholarly exploration, innovation, evaluation and dissemination of high impact teaching and learning practices; PALAT (Priority Areas for Learning and Teaching) Grants -providing opportunities to promote and support scholarship that explores issues related to the MacPherson Institute’s priority research areas; and Small Teaching and Learning Exploration grants – providing financial support for one year to encourage scholarly investigations and the development or implementation of a project that enhances student educational experiences.
“Receiving a Teaching and Learning grant allows me to proactively research emerging issues related to online, blended, hybrid, or in-person learning. Timely research greatly facilitates adjustment to course design and rapid dissemination of evidence-based practice,” said Frances Tuer, who received one of the Small Teaching and Learning Exploration Grants in 2021 for her project “Do LinkedIn Learning Paths Enhance Student Interest and Workplace Confidence?”
A total of 30 McMaster instructors were selected for grants this year. The three grant programs were previously administered separately but were combined in 2021 for the first time to foster the community element of the program and to showcase the breadth of teaching and learning research happening at McMaster.
“The PALAT and LTL grants have been instrumental in helping the Master of Public Health program digitize its learning management processes and supporting student partnered research that is identifying public health practitioners’ perceptions on the future of graduate public health training so we can better align some of our new programming efforts to meet these needs,” said Emma Apatu, director of McMaster’s Master of Public Health program and previous Leadership in Teaching and Learning Fellow (2020).
Remarks during the kickoff celebration focused on the community building and leadership aspects of the program.
“This tradition of pedagogical leadership at McMaster has not grown from a top-down approach, but instead, through projects like these that invite educators to pause and reflect, create, get excited and to share that excitement,” said Kim Dej, acting vice-provost (faculty) and former Leadership in Teaching and Learning Fellow (2016).