Teaching how to teach

By Nawar Belah

The first year of the Faculty Teaching Certificate program is complete, and it seems participating professors learned a thing or two.

The FTC is intended for University of Calgary faculty members as a venue to enhance and expand their teaching skills. Funding for the program was provided from quality enhancement money given to the Students’ Union by the U of C Board of Governors.

“The quality survey we ran in 2003 indicated that the number one concern for students at the U of C is the quality of education and teaching on this campus,”said SU President Bryan West. “The funds put towards this program will be a step towards raising the prestige of teaching at the U of C, as opposed to the emphasis placed on research.”

The FTC sessions began in the fall of 2004 at the U of C Learning Commons. Dr. Anthony Marini, FTC instructor and coordinator of the University Teaching Certificate program, said the FTC curriculum was derived from the UTC. The UTC program caters to teaching assistants and graduate students with limited teaching experience.

“Many faculty members at the U of C were trained to be researchers and had little or no opportunity to learn teaching,” said Marini. “They too, like graduate students, would like to have the chance to gain and enhance teaching skills.”

Chris Lovallo, a post-doctoral chemistry student, attended the FTC program to expand on his previous instructional experience. “Most of my experience in the classroom was in the lecture’s question and answer style. I wanted to explore different ways to teaching a class.”

“I absolutely recommend the program, especially to those without much teaching experience,” said Lovallo. The FTC program is open to participants from all faculties. Funding has been secured for two more years.

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