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PER Seminar

Attributes of the 21st Century STEM educator, and pathways to institutional support

Speaker: Prof Simon Bates (University of British Columbia)
Date: Wednesday 26 May 2021
Time: 16:00
Venue: Zoom

For many years now, we have heard how teaching and learning was changing, how it was getting more complex, how student preparedness and aspirations from a university degree were shifting and that technology was no longer an optional extra. Universities pursued a variety of educational initiatives that – for the most part – moved the needle positively but incrementally for teaching and learning and the student experience. Then COVID happened.

In a very short space of time in March 2020 (days to ensure continuity of current courses, weeks to plan how to progress and graduate thousands of students, months to reimagine the entire portfolio of courses) the essential blueprint for education at a residential university had to be redrawn. As the year went on, it became abundantly clear that we were going to be in this environment for some considerable time, before things could get back to ‘a new version of normal’.

In this talk, I will reflect on the experiences and challenges of the past year, and how they have highlighted major issues for how teaching and learning is organized, supported and valued at institutions. As we look to the future of ‘post-COVID’ teaching and learning, it seems clear that there will be aspects of teaching and learning that will be permanently altered by the COVID experience (even if we can’t yet see exactly what they might be across our different institutional contexts). I will illustrate some of the attributes that I think are required for educators to thrive in this environment and outline ways institutions can support the development of these capabilities amongst faculty and staff.