April 26, 2023, 16:25 pm – 17:30 pm
Building bridges: the changing roles of Centres for Teaching and Learning
Centres for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) are the structural interface between professional development and Higher Education institutional policies.
CTLs operate within the already complex environment of their respective universities. Their position, scope of action, resources and staffing are influenced, to a certain extent, by university policies- and often by university politics. Moreover, the impact of their work, most often measured by faculty engagement with their offer, is also deeply connected to the learning climate of each institution.
CTLs occupy a space that transgresses the border between the academic sphere and university administration, a space that can be claimed by both, which can often lead to tensions but also, when used well, can facilitate synergies between the two often fully separated environments. One the one hand, CTLs provide professional development opportunities for faculty, striving to create a safe space to share teaching practice and often also undertaking research into the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). On the other hand, CTLs also play the role of service units, part of the university administration, enforcing educational policies.
Carving out this institutionalised “third space” at the crossroads between academic and non-academic spaces can be beneficial, and ideally lead to an increased profile for teaching in the Higher Education landscape. However, achieving the right balance is crucial for the functioning of CTLs, and is often not an easy endeavour. Remaining grounded in faculty needs and playing the role of a “thought partner” for faculty while gaining more visibility and influence within the administration is a challenge many CTLs are facing these days, especially given the important role they played in maintaining academic continuity throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
This session will take the shape of a panel discussion incorporating European and American points of view on the future role(s) of CTLs, with practical examples and tips for those interested in establishing or revamping a CTL.