It was truly an honor to serve as President of STLHE and to have had the opportunity to work with such an outstanding group of people; members of the Society and colleagues around the world who care deeply about teaching and learning in higher education. Through the efforts of many, and in keeping with our strategic directions, much was accomplished between 2004 and 2007:
We advanced the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Along with the Educational Developers Caucus, we hosted a number of national events bringing clarity to what the SoTL is, why it is important, how it should be assessed and supported, and why increased government funds are needed for this important work. Our annual conference, publications and awards programs provided important opportunities to disseminate and celebrate the SoTL. In support of this, our newsletter—Teaching and Learning in Higher Education—took on a whole new look and focus. We advocated for the improvement of teaching and learning practice. STLHE became much better known on the national stage. Members of the STLHE Board of Directors became increasingly invited to speak on behalf of the Society at national conferences and think tanks, and to comment on noteworthy events and initiatives (such as Ontario Government’s “Rae Review.” Projects by the Council of 3M National Teaching Fellows, such as the publication of Making a Difference/Toute la Différence, helped profile issues of importance to Society members.
We became a more inclusive organization attracting increased numbers of faculty and educational developers from the College sector, as well as students and administrators. Two Special Interest Groups (SIGs) were established; one representing the interests of writing centre professionals and the other the interests of librarians. We also introduced a new portfolio that will champion graduate students and TA development issues. And, we continued to develop ideas to help us better meet the needs of our francophone colleagues.
We strengthened our partnerships. The work of the Society was advanced through our long-standing partnerships with 3M Canada, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, the International Consortium for Educational Developers (ICED) and the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network. We also forged important new relationships with the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education (IATHE), MacLean’s, and Magna Publications.
In addition to all of the above, we made considerable progress on the administration and financial management of the Society. Sylvia Avery accepted a three-year contract as Administrator, all Board members made progress within specified portfolios of responsibility, and our administrative processes became much more transparent (through, for example, open nominations and elections for the Board of Directors). We also made significant progress towards incorporation. These accomplishments were made possible, in part, by our extremely successful institutional membership campaign. Attracting over 50 institutional members in 2007, the Society’s financial position was considerably strengthened.
As I step down as President, I am delighted to be able to pass the baton to Joy Mighty in whose leadership I have every confidence. I look forward to seeing how the Society will continue to evolve in the year’s ahead.