Focus on Teaching – January 2020

It's a new decade and perhaps you are looking to make some new connections, add to your strategies for teaching intercultural classes, or focusing on your and your students' wellness?

Consider these opportunities:

• a faculty learning community with the Focus on First Year program;

• applying for funding for a collaborative project with SD No.73 via the Mind the Gap K-16 program;

• exploring wellness with the Be Well, Teach Well, Learn Well event series;

• the faculty & staff book club called A Book, a Bowl and a Bun that will discuss Teaching across Cultural Strengths;

• professional development via reciprocal peer groups with the Teaching Triangles Program. 

For a full listing of CELT's Winter programming and services, download your copy of our Winter 2020 Program Guide.

The CELT team wishes you much success with your teaching and learning in 2020. Here's to new beginnings and continued collaborations!

Workshops, Courses and Events

Assessment & Evaluation

Tuesdays, for 8 weeks starting January 7 to March 3 (excluding Feb. 18), 4:30-7:30 p.m., OL344 

This professional development course will examine the ethical, practical, and research foundations for the assessment and evaluation of student learning tasks. It will enable participants to create assessment tools and evaluation systems aligned with instruction and educational outcomes that reflect and communicate student learning. Participants also enrolled in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program may apply for an exemption from PIDP 3230: Evaluation of Learning. Register here.

Teaching Assistants Orientation Day

January 8, 4:30-7:30 p.m., CA101

Join colleagues for a carefully curated day of need-to-know and good-to-know information. We'll get you connected with details on payroll and human resources, the professional code of conduct, and intercultural competencies to help you meet the needs of TRU's diverse student body. Most of all, you'll gain confidence and composure to fulfill your role through discussing real-life TA scenarios with peers and faculty guides. Register here.

Student Engagement Techniques

January 9, 23, & February 6, 12-1 p.m., OL344

Have you wondered how to better engage students in a course you teach? Receive a copy of the 2010 book, Student Engagement Techniques: A handbook for college faculty by Elizabeth Barkley. Then, through the workshops, explore strategies to help you create more in-class engagement. You'll have the chance to explore techniques, try some in your classes, and report back to the group about the results. Register here.

Be Well, Teach Well, Learn Well - Your Best Resolution Ever!

January 14 & 28, February 11 & 25, & March 10, 12-1 p.m., OL340

Resolve to be your best YOU in 2020! Wellness takes many shapes, but in its absence, we suffer. Join the conversation about wellness, teaching and learning at TRU. What are the best practices and supports available for coping with stress? Where are the gaps? How might personal wellness relate to workplace satisfaction and a sense of belonging? How does wellness translate into course design, classroom dynamics, and assessment practices? What might TRU look like/feel like if we embraced a wellness mindset? Come for tea and be a part of creating a new TRU Teaching and Learning Wellness Guide. Register here.


January 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Location TBD

Make the most of your lunch hour by joining colleagues for professional learning. Bring your lunch and we'll provide the coffee, tea, and dessert. These sessions foster campus-wide collaboration, communication, and sharing about new and emerging areas related to teaching and learning. Each talk features two or more lively and fast-paced presentations from faculty and staff across a range of disciplines. No registration is required.

A Fistful of Educational Apps: The good, the bad, and the ugly with Matthew Stranach

This interactive presentation will survey and categorize the 20 most popular websites, apps, and software packages available for higher education according to their potential value for teaching and learning.

Harvesting SoTL from the Fields with Kara Loy (rescheduled from fall 2019)

How can we effectively cultivate excellence in teaching, learning and discovery? Learn about the first-year research experience established at the University of Saskatchewan and find out what this approach might yield of value for you.

Introduction to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and the SoTL Scholars Grant Program                           

January 15, 2:30-3:30 p.m., OL344

Interested in engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning but unsure of how to start? Come and learn about SoTL, what it is, and how to do it. We'll exchange details on the updated SoTL grant program that can support you through a project from beginning (crafting a research question) to end (disseminating findings). Register here.

A Book, A Bowl, and A Bun

Faculty & Staff Book Club

January 16, February 13, & March 12, 12-1 p.m., ESTR's Market

We'll supply the bowl of soup and the bun, and you'll partake in a lively, facilitated discussion about a recently published book with an application to teaching. The focus this term will be the 2016 book, Teaching across Cultural Strengths by Susan Diana Longerbeam and Alicia Fedelina Chávez. Register here by January 9 to ensure your spot at the table.

Open Educational Resource (OER) Development Grant Information Session

January 22, 9-10 a.m.& January 31, 12-1 p.m. TRUSU Boardroom, CAC

Gain information for the grant application process and tips and steps for developing OERs. Grants can be used to adopt, adapt, create, and/or integrate OER as primary course materials. The TRU Open Educational Resource Development Grant (OERDG) provides funding and staff support to TRUFA and TRUOLFA members who wish to integrate OER into their TRU courses. No registration required.

Why Your Students Struggle with Assignments

January 22, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., OL 344

Do your students have lots of questions when they work on your class assignments? Do they have few questions but hand-in assignments which don't always meet your expectations? Jenna Goddard, Writing Centre Coordinator, and Carolyn Ives, Coordinator of Learning and Faculty Development, will lead faculty participants through a process to mitigate student questions on assignments. Participants will learn tips for creating an inclusive classroom environment, giving valuable feedback, and collectively work towards creating assignments that effectively foster and reflect student learning. For best results, please bring a set of assignment instructions with you to the workshop. Register here.

Teaching Fellows Workshops

January 22, 29 & February 12, 12-1 p.m., TRUSU Boardroom, CAC

Join TRU Teaching Fellows for a three-part series to learn more about the General Education guidelines and how they can benefit you and your students. The guidelines offer TRU common aspirational skills, behaviours, knowledge, and awareness for graduates across four themes: connection, engagement, exploration, and local to global. Institutional and Program Learning Outcomes (ILOs & PLOs) enable pathways and alignment for student competency and success across the themes. Through curricular mapping, programs can identify gaps and implement opportunities for growth and innovation. The three parts include: 1. The Horizon: General Education, ILOs, and PLOs; 2. Curricular Pathways: Program Innovation and Strategic Planning with Curricular Maps; 3. Reaching New Heights with High-Impact Practices and Capstone Courses. Scroll to register in your preferred dates/parts.

Peer Review Information Sessions

January 23, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

January 29 & 30, 9:30-11:30 a.m., OL344

Attend one of these sessions and help test the draft peer review process as a reviewer or reviewee. The Peer Review of Teaching and Instructional Support working group, a sub-committee of the Teaching and Learning Committee of Senate, has been developing a process for peer review of teaching and instructional support that is adaptable, scalable and flexible. The design is intended to genuinely help faculty reflect on and improve professional practice.

Curious? Come to a session and learn about the draft process. Your feedback will help the working group to revise and improve the process. Register here and scroll to your preferred date.

Teaching Triangles Program

January 29, 3-4 p.m., OL344

Participating faculty gain insight into their teaching and their students’ learning through a non-evaluative, formative process of reciprocal classroom visits and self-reflection. In groups of three, faculty members coordinate visits to each others' classes once over the term, committing to observing one hour of class for each colleague in the triangle. Groups then meet over a complimentary lunch to discuss what they learned about their own practice through observation and reflection. 

Note: Groups (triangles) are arranged at the beginning of the term so enrollment is limited to those who register here and who attend the planning meeting. Have a conflict? Email us to accommodate your schedule.


Show Up and Write!

Fridays, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., OL340 & virtually

Based on the successful "Shut Up & Write" community movement, this weekly writing group provides a quiet space to join with faculty and staff at TRU to make time to write. Each session will begin with a quick check-in, and close with a wrap-up/debrief. The rest of the time will be spent working on your own writing project and goals. CELT staff will be present to keep sessions on track and to offer encouragement. No registration is required; reconvenes January 10.

Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Community of Practice

January 9, 10-11 a.m., OL344

This community of practice meets monthly to support starting, advancing or finalizing  faculty-led SoTL projects. We discuss project ideas, ethical considerations, data collection, literature search strategies, and knowledge mobilization. Register here.

Sustainability across the Curriculum, Community of Practice

January 21, 1-2 p.m., OL344

This community of practice welcomes faculty members committed to advancing sustainability issues within their courses, higher education, and our community more broadly. Together, the group will determine the agenda and outcomes. We discuss readings, share our course innovations around sustainability issues, give informal presentations, consider various definitions of sustainability, or go on field trips together. Who knows? Join us to see and to shape what happens! Register here.

Learning Technology

Digital Detox 2020

Have you been thinking about developing a healthier relationship to technology in 2020? The Learning Technology team wants to help. Join our 2020 Digital Detox for a guided discussion of the perils of educational technologies and ways that we can use them more responsibly. Many aspects of technology, from analytics to algorithms, are mobilized in toxic ways, and for most of us simple abstinence isn’t possible. Let’s spend January renegotiating our relationship to our digital world with ethics, equity, and inclusion in mind. For more information and to register for the 2020 Digital Detox, visit

Learning Technology Workshops

The Learning Technology team has revamped their winter workshop offerings. Join Jamie, Brenna, and Matthew for fun and interesting ways of thinking about how technology can be part of your teaching and learning. This term, we’ll explore cutting-edge ideas like chatbots for education, apply internet standbys like memes and gifs to our teaching, and dig deeper into tools we think we know like Office 365. And, as usual, help with Moodle, Wordpress, and other learning technologies is available at our weekly drop-in sessions. For full descriptions of our workshops and to register, visit

Facilitators: Jamie Drozda, Dr. Brenna Clarke Gray, and Dr. Matthew Stranach

Read&Write Software Program


Read&Write, a literacy program that offers features to support reading, writing, and studying, is available to all TRU students, staff, and faculty. If you are interested in trying out this software, you can have it installed on your workstation by submitting a ticket to the IT Service Desk. You can also install Read&Write on your personal computer(s), if you have registered for TRU’s free offering of Microsoft Office 365.

For more information, please contact Kathryne Brattland (Assistive Technology Specialist, Accessibility Services).


K-16 Mind the Gap

Grant applications welcomed! The Mind the Gap program provides opportunities for teachers from School District No.73 (Kamloops-Thompson) and TRU faculty to support sharing and the development of collaborative projects with the goal of spreading awareness and practice. For more information contact Dr. Susan Lidster or visit the website.

Call for Papers

Special Issue Engaging Feminisms: Challenging Exceptionalist Imaginaries

Guest Editors: Marie Lovrod and Corinne Mason seek submissions from community-and university-based researchers and scholars who actively engage with communities (of all kinds) in practicing intersectional feminist research, teaching and learning for publication Spring 2022. Abstracts due January 15, 2020.

Call for Proposals

Special Issue: From Micro to Macro: Widening the Investigation of Diversity in the Transition to Higher Education

Frontline Learning Research publishes articles with new ideas, methodologies or discoveries that might be risky but have potential to open up new avenues in the field of learning and instruction. It is the official journal of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). Proposals are welcome until January 31, 2020.

Paddles and Pedagogy 2020

February 22-29, 2020, La Paz & Espiritu Santos Island, Baja, Mexico

Cost: $3300

Hosted by the Teaching and Learning team at Coast Mountain College, this 8-day field school that combines paddling, camping, and learning is for instructors who want to increase their understanding of experiential place-based learning. Visit the website for more information.

Apply to Review an Open Textbook

To ensure the content in the BC Open Textbook collection achieves or surpasses the academic requirements of the post-secondary institutions of BC, a review system to rank each open textbook has been developed. You are invited to apply to review an open textbook to help deliver quality content to students and faculty. Approved reviewers receive a nominal honorarium.

Visit BC Campus for more information.


TRU Merit Awards Information Session

January 22, 12:30-1:30 p.m., OL340

Join previous winners for an interactive discussion about the TRU Merit Awards that recognize and celebrate outstanding facutly: the faculty excellence award, the President's distinguished teacher award, and the award for excellence in interculturalization. The discussion will cover eligibility criteria, nomination components, and what to consider when nominating yourself or someone else. Register here.

3M National Student Fellowship

Call for Nominations Open

The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) has opened the annual call for Nominations for the 2020 3MNSF. This award recognizes students who demonstrate distinctive and creative educational leadership regarding a challenge facing higher education. The deadline is 31 January 2020. Nominees must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree or college program at a post-secondary Canadian institution, have completed at least one semester of study, and have not previously received a 3M student fellowship. Visit the STLHE 3MNSF website for information on putting together a nomination for an inspiring TRU student.

D2L Innovation Award

The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and Desire2Learn (D2L) celebrate and recognize up to five post-secondary educators each year for their innovative approaches that promote student-centred teaching and learning.

STLHE and D2L invite submissions by January 19, 2020. Visit the STLHE website to learn more.

Upcoming Conferences

Teaching Practices Colloquium 2020

February 18, TRU Kamloops

Celebrating 50 Years of Teaching & Learning at TRU! The colloquium provides a forum for faculty to share scholarly teaching practices and approaches that foster effective learning in the post-secondary setting. Visit the website for more information.

External Conferences now listed on the CELT website!

Attend or Present

Bookmark and visit the link below regularly to check out upcoming opportunities to acquire new pedagogies, gain new perspectives and to present your teaching scholarship and network beyond borders.

The list is updated frequently and includes conference dates, locations, themes, and submission deadlines:

University of Waterloo Teaching and Learning Conference: Teaching and Designing for Diverse Learners

April 29, 2020, Waterloo, ON

Join UWaterloo for their 12th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference with a focus on Assessment for Learning. Learn with instructors as they share their research, teaching strategies and much more in interactive workshops, panel discussions, posters and presentations. Submissions accepted until January 22, 2020.

University of Calgary Postsecondary Learning and Teaching Conference: Mentorship in Higher Education

May 3-5, 2020, Calgary, AB

Faculty, instructors, administrators, librarians, staff, students and postdoctoral scholars are invited to explore mentorship in Higher Education - and the scholarship, approaches, practices and issues surrounding it - in the postsecondary context. The six conference threads include: 1) student inquiry, 2) learning partnerships, 3) interdisciplinary collaboration, 4) digital pedagogies, 5) mental health and wellness, and 6) equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and Indigenous perspectives. Visit here for more information.

BC Campus Festival of Learning

May 11-13, 2020, Vancouver, BC

CELT is co-sponsoring this year's Festival of Learning, B.C.’s largest celebration of teaching and learning in higher education. Held every two years and welcoming about 500 attendees from all over B.C. and beyond, the Festival is a great opportunity for faculty, students, leaders, librarians, learning designers, educational technologists and accessibility/ disability educators and professionals to network and learn together. Visit the website for more information.

British Columbia Council for International Education Summer Conference:

Changing 21st Century Demands on Education

June 9, 2020, Vancouver, BC

This event precedes the Global Internship Conference and is intended to provide an essential platform for the growth of BC's international education sector. Visit the BCCIE website for more information.

Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Celebrating 40 Years: A Year of Celebration

June 9-12, 2020, Ottawa, ON

This landmark conference will be hosted by the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College and College La Cite. The call for proposals is open until January 15, 2020.

International Consortium for Educational Development

The Future-Ready Graduate

June 15-18, 2020, Zurich, Switzerland

The goal of the ICED 2020 conference is to foster a future-oriented exchange and discussion on how university faculty may be enabled to forge, from the students of today, the future-ready graduates of tomorrow. The call for proposals is open until February 3, 2020.

Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)

June 30 to July 3, 2020, Brisbane, Australia

Conference sub-themes include governance & policy; teaching, learning and the student experience; pathways and partnerships; innovation and research; professional learning for academic practice; & values, justice and integrity.

Call for proposals open now until February 7, 2020. Submit here.

Save the Date!

January 14: Be Well, Teach Well, Learn Well

January 15: CELTalks with Matthew Stranach and Kara Loy

January 16: K-16 Mind the Gap Information Session

January 21: TRU Merit Award Information Session

January 23: Student Engagement Techniques

January 29: Teaching Triangles

January 30: Peer Review of Teaching and Instructional Support working group

February 14: TRU Merit Award Nomination Deadline

February 18: Teaching Practices Colloquium

CELT activities at a glance

For an overview of upcoming CELT workshops, guest-speaker series and other events, view the monthly calendar hosted by the TRU Library. Workshops are open to faculty, staff and graduate students unless otherwise noted.

Focus on Teaching is the monthly newsletter of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). We showcase instructional development opportunities for TRU faculty and staff, and up-to-date information on our current projects, initiatives and learning opportunities. To read past issues of Focus on Teaching or to subscribe to our mailing list, visit our Newsletters page.

Questions about learning and teaching? Contact CELT or visit us in OL 349.