STLHE Board Meeting – Feb 14, 2015 (Face-to-face)

Executive Summary

Approved: March 13, 2015

The STLHE Board meets in a face-to-face meeting twice a year: at the STLHE Annual conference in June and the EDC Conference in February. At the February 14th face-to-face the agenda included: a presidents report; old business related to the request for RFPs to create the admin unit for STLHE, and matters relating to the 3M National Teaching and Student Fellowships; constituency reports from the EDC and 3M Council; issues of inclusion and transparency addressing the relationship between SIGs and Constituencies, Publications and communication including the webpages, and bilingualism; and issues of sustainability addressed the budget, financial statement and advocacy.

In his President’s report Robert reminded us of what he sees as the three pillars of his presidency: sustainability, inclusivity, and transparency and his view of the progress the Board has made in the last eight months. With regard to sustainability new streamlined bylaws that will be presented for approval at the AGM, we have a response to our RFP for a new admin unit from Canadian Society for Studies in Education, and the 3M National Teaching Fellowship was renewed for three years at funding level we had requested. With regard to inclusivity we are in preliminary discussions with Liisa Sheldrick at 3M on opening the 3MNTF to all post-secondary instructors, a possibility that isn’t precluded by the language of our agreement with 3M. Transparency initiatives include a complete update of the Conference manual and the monthly email blasts sent to members, and the publication of executive summaries of the Board minutes on the STLHE web site.

Updates on old business include the RFP for the admin unit. The Board received a proposal from CSSE and will start negotiations to produce a MOU for the new STLHE administrative unit. The board ratified Maureen Connolly as chair of the 3MNSF award after the current co-ordinator resigned because the pending labour disruptions at their university would hamper their ability to perform the role. The Board congratulated Shannon Murray on the amazing job she has done since stepping into the role 3MNTF award coordinator in July: hosting the retreat in Banff, calling for nominations, adjudicating the nominations and announcing the successful nominees for 2015.

The EDC constituency report follows on the heels of a successful conference in Winnipeg. Highlights of the report include: the success of the Action Groups that EDC members have formed to tackle issues raised by the membership, creation of the first Blue Guide on Educational Developer’s Portfolios, and the continued success of the EDC institutes. The 3M Council report highlights included: a successful program at STLHE 2015 with welcome to my classroom sessions, a 1000 islands cruise and one of the most attended 3M Reunion dinners in the past years. The Council also received $10,000 from AUCC and in the last year created the SoLE grant program and awarded its first grant to Pat Maher and TA Loeffler for the project titled: “Are we experientially disconnected? The SoLE grant program is a joint initiative between the 3M Council and the EDC. The Council is also preparing for the 30th anniversary of the 3MNTF and is developing the theme/slogan of “3M Fellows make learning stick” for the celebrations.

With regard to inclusion the Board discussed the relationship between the SIGs and constituencies. When the new by-laws were being revised it it was noticed that the by-laws for SIGs and constituencies were for the most part identical. The only difference was that the chair of a constituency was a member of the STLHE Board and the SIGs reported to the Board through the Partnerships Chair. When the new by-laws were written the two were combined under a new section Affiliated Groups with the implication that SIGs may have the possibility of becoming constituencies; although there are no criteria set for when or how this would occur. Two possible SIGs that could make this transition are the CSEC and the College Advocacy Chair and TAGSA plus additional student representation beyond Graduate Students with the Student Advocacy Chair. In either case the membership of the SIG would become the membership of the constituency. Of these two possibilities the two voices for Colleges is most suited to such a change and the Board plans further discussions on this and the criteria for such a change. A second issue of inclusion was the College sector educators in the 3MNTF award. Contrary to popular thinking the wording of the agreement between 3M and STLHE does not preclude the possibility, especially given the changes that have occurred in the past few years in the colleges where many or now university affiliates and offering more than diploma programs. The Board started a conversation with Carla and will continue these preliminary discussions with Liisa, our new contact at 3M.

An additional item of inclusion is or Publications and communications with members of the Society. The Newsletter and Annual report are are usual way of informing the membership but as the Newsletter shifted to two publications it lacked timely information for the membership. The secretary took the initiative to create monthly email blast to the membership. As a result of the positive response to these the Board decided to continue their use as the main communications tool with the members of the Society. Although the email blasts are replacing the Newsletter they will not replace the newsletter which may take a different form or focus. In the past the selection process for Green Guide topics has been a concern and in the Board’s discussions we have asked the Publications Chaie to create a Green Guide Advisory group. The Web page of the Society remains problematic and the Carbonated, which provides the service, has not been responsive to our concerns. There were also discussions that it may be a good time to create a survey of members for their thoughts on out publications, communication strategies and the Society in General.

Bilingualism was also discussed and the feeling around the table is that the current mandate of the portfolio is restrictive and that defining our efforts at inclusivity to only linguistic issues was a narrow approach. Further discussion will focus on the possibility of redefining the portfolio in terms of general inclusivity; which has existed previously.

The Board was presented with update on the budget and financial matters. One of the biggest changes in the coming year is that the administrative costs of the Society will drop from just over $100,000 a year to approximately $70,000. This will generate a substancial savings, which on top of increased revenues from the Kingston Conference leaves the Society in good financial standing. There remain problems as we try and complete the financial audit for the 2014 fiscal year and these are slowly being worked out. The 3MNTF award has been renewed for another three years at the amount we requested but the College Sector Award remains problematic with declining applications and the absence of a sponsor. The criteria of the 3MNSF currently require students to be in at least the second year of their program but not the last year. This precludes many College student in two year diplomas and would also restrict graduate students if the awards criteria were expanded to include them. The Awards and Student Advocacy Chairs will work on alternate criteria in an attempt to remove this restriction.

The last item on the agenda was a discussion of the Advocacy role of the Society. Previously the 3M Council had discussed this and Council Chair presented a summary of these discussions as starting point for the Board’s deliberations. An important consideration is terminology and differentiating between advocacy and promotion; the two are often confused. They can be distinguished from each other by the political/lobbying for change component in the strict use of the term advocacy. An example is advocacy would for the recognition of teaching excellence as an institution objective and promotion would be demonstrating excellence by highlighting examples. There was a general feeling that the Board hasn’t engaged in this issue and this may be in part because of the reorganization of the Board structure and the disappearance of the advocacy portfolio. In our discussions newer board members were reminded of some of the past initiatives and that perhaps we could use these as a starting point for an advocacy initiative.