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Queen's to host national teaching and learning conference

By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer

Hundreds of people passionate about teaching and learning are expected to gather this June in Kingston as Queen’s plays host to the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Queen’s has partnered with the Royal Military College of Canada and St. Lawrence College to host the society’s annual conference in 2014.

“We are very excited to host this conference at Queen’s, particularly at this point in time,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “With our Academic Plan in place, the work of the Provost’s Task Force on the Student Learning Experience nearing completion, and many exciting initiatives happening around technology-enhanced and active learning, we have a lot to share with our colleagues from across Canada and beyond.”

The STLHE conference will bring educational developers and technologists, faculty, librarians, administrators and students from across disciplines together to share their research, experiences and insights around teaching and learning in higher education. Conference chair Denise Stockley, who is interim director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning and a professor in the Faculty of Education, says the wide range of participants greatly enriches the conference.

“It’s an exciting place to be because it’s not very often you have a chemist sitting in the room with someone from English, or an engineering professor with somebody from music, all having a conversation about how people learn,” she says.

A call for proposals for conference sessions is currently open, with the overall theme of the conference being “transforming our learning experiences.”

“We intentionally chose the words ‘our learning experiences’ because whether you are in a faculty, teaching support or student role, we all have learning experiences,” says Dr. Stockley. “It embraces all constituencies in higher education and within the STLHE.”

Keynote speakers include Eric Mazur, Dean of Applied Physics and Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, and John Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change in Queen’s Department of Biology. Dr. Mazur’s talk, “Why You Can Pass Tests and Still Fail in the Real World,” will speak about the disconnect between assessment and real-world skills, while Dr. Smol’s presentation, “Bringing the joy of discovery into our classrooms,” will address the blending of teaching and research.

More than 60 volunteers are helping to organize the conference, which will be held June 17-20. More details are available online.