University of Waterloo
1981 to 1988
“It was in 1981 that a group of us (Mei-Fei Elrick and Don McIntosh from Guelph, Alan Blizzard and Dale Roy from McMaster, Harry Murray and Colin Baird from Western, Ron Sheese from Toronto, and myself) decided to launch STLHE. We had no financial assets, no idea of the potential interest, and only a vaguely formulated set of goals and activities. What we did have was a tradition of annual conferences in Ontario devoted to teaching and learning in higher Education. The latter were excellent social and professional occasions, but were attended primarily by instructional developers, and we felt a real need to involve “rank-and-file” faculty—the university and college teachers who spend a large amount of their working lives in the classroom. Our hope was that the creation of a societylike STLHE would provide a focus for those professors who regard teaching as their major commitment, who are anxious to explore ways to enhance teaching and learning and wish to share their own ideas with colleagues.
– Christopher Knapper, May 1987
1988 to 1995
The Society saw considerable changes during Alan’s presidency, many of which he initiated. These included a considerable increase in membership, establishment of the STLHE listserv, the “new initiatives” program for funding small instructional development projects, the institution of “travelling workshops” in different parts of the country, the encouragement of annual conferences outside Ontario, and the gradual democratization of the Society’s procedures. Alan participated enthusiastically in running the Society, hosting one of the conferences, and publishing the newsletter. Until recently, we were unable to afford any assistance with these tasks, and the President bore the main brunt of the work with help from whatever colleagues he could cajole into volunteering.
Principal among these was Dale Roy, who served as the Society’s Treasurer, unofficial secretary, and general booster throughout Alan’s tenure. Dale also helped plan and run what is perhaps STLHE’s most successful achievement, the 3M Teaching Fellowships Program.
– Alan Blizzard, June 1995
1995 to 2000
When Alan Blizzard left office, he had already begun the process of expanding the Steering Committee to include representation from all regions across the country. Another step in this inclusion process was taken two years ago when the annual general meeting ratified our first Constitution—one we carefully wrote to reflect current practice while providing enough flexibility to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances. This year we tested a new procedure for electing regional representatives to the Steering Committee, a procedure we hope will make appointment to this body more transparent. As a means for encouraging and supporting local initiatives, and increasing participation from across the country, we also began to hold the annual winter meetings of instructional development officers in different locations each year.
Some of the exciting initiatives undertaken recently by members include: Positive Pedagogy, pre-conference workshops for instructional developers, our listserv, regular meetings of Ontario IDO officers, and an electronic directory of 3M Teaching Fellows.
We have recently initiated the Alan Blizzard Award, a worthy new venture coupled with a promising partnership with McGraw-Hill Ryerson–Higher Education Division. We have produced our own Green Guide series of publications on teaching and learning. Our Ethical Principles in University Teaching hasbeen distributed in both official languages across Canada and has been reprinted in numerous newsletters, journals, anmd other publications. It isastounding that there are people who still do not know who we are or what we stand for. What strategies then might we pursue to increase our influence and hence our ability to contribute to the improvement of teaching in Canadian higher education?
– Pat Rogers, June 2000, Excerpted from TLHE, No. 29
University of British Columbia
2000 to 2004
One of the often-heard buzz phrases when I became President was “national voice,” as in “we must make STLHE a national voice for teaching and learning in higher education.” Thus, we embarked on a Strategic Planning exercise which has taken over two years of work. Over this time, have we become that “national voice” people were talking about? Not yet. However, we are now poised to take this on. We have four strategic goals that define the Society, and we have new structures in place that clearly define the working relationships with such groups as the 3M Teaching Fellows and the Educational Developers Caucus. Representatives from these groups now sit on our Steering Committee, and each is engaged in a range of activitieswith great potential.
And there is the emergence of the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education, with which STLHE is forging an important new relationship. With careful planning, STLHE will be able to work with the Institute to provide valuable support for effective teaching in Canada and around the world. Another important step has been the establishment of a permanent office for our secretariat. Up to this point in our history, the administrative work of STLHE has been handled on a volunteer basis by some very dedicated people. This will allow us to manage membership-related work more efficiently, as well as our publications and other projects to come.
My survival in this position is attributable to virtually everything else I have talked about—the people who have stepped forward to make a difference—those who have hosted conferences, written articles, made plans and presentations, attended long and demanding meetings, summarized those meetings and written reports, given up countless hours travelling across the country, taken on major positions within the Steering Committee, and on it goes.
– Gary Poole, June 2004, Excerpted from TLHE, No. 37