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    Teaching Practices

    Reading to local elementary school students

    For the past thirty years, I have engaged in North American higher education in many different roles. These have included positions in academic governance, enrolment management, internationalization, student affairs, and student recruitment in both Canada and the United States. I have also had the pleasure to complete many consulting assignments where I helped institutions enhance their enrolment management operations. In addition, I have been active professionally presenting workshops and seminars at leading North American and international conferences and publishing articles, research reports, and an edited book that relate to my institutional roles. Further, I served as a co-convener for one conference and the director for another. In each of these roles, I have viewed my primary role as an educator who supports the holistic development of students.

    My teaching during these years was delivered in a variety of settings. Often it was provided in manageably sized groupings (25-40 participants). Examples are workshops provided on-campus and in conference settings to administrators, faculty members, and staff on administrative topics. These normally used a presentation style where I and sometimes a colleague or two did much of the talking and those in attendance asked questions either during or after the presentation.

    As dean of students, I had the pleasure to address all sizes of student groups. The largest would be the annual welcoming celebration for all entering students (approximately 2,000). In most cases, the sizes were less than 100 and often smaller than 30. This gave me time to develop a casual facilitation type teaching style that might be best described as talk show host like where I would walk within the group and engage individual participants along the way; thereby drawing in the group and making them feel more welcome at our university.

    The final teaching practice I have engaged in (and my favourite!) is one-on-one. I have worked with students as they select their university and at nearly all stages of development through to graduation. I can remember one student who I mentored throughout his time at the University of Windsor. Our first meeting occurred the summer before he became a University of Windsor student. He was looking for University sponsorship for his Junior Team Canada trade mission to Southeast Asia, which included visits to China, Malaysia, and Singapore. After agreeing to sponsor him, I asked that he write a report of his trip that would include recommendations on how the university might increase its international engagement in this important region. He produced a wonderful report that assisted the university in developing plans to strengthen its relationships with universities in Southeast Asia. This led to ongoing discussions throughout his years at the university. We met often (usually weekly!), which gave me the opportunity to listen to his fears and support his strengths. It was a real pleasure to challenge and support him as he became an active student leader, an outstanding student, a committed friend, and someone who I am sure will make a real difference in our world.

    Dr. Smith listening to a poster presentation at the end-of-semester Research in Education poster fair
    Dr. Smith listening to a poster presentation at the end-of-semester Research in Education poster fair

    Now that I have returned to teaching, I am focused on how I can facilitate individual student learning by identifying the unique characteristics of each student and offering a blend of teaching, coaching, and mentoring to support their individual educational development. My teaching practices help students find their own pathway to success, both inside and outside of the classroom. My teaching emphasizes the pursuit of knowledge, self-improvement, respect for self and others, and individual student learning. While continuing to incorporate a variety of teaching and methods approaches, I will explore ways to improve my teaching.

    Some of the teaching practices I have employed since returning to teaching include:

    Learning-centred Syllabus (Management and Leadership in Learning Organizations, Fall 2018)

    Lesson Plan (Theories of Individual & Collective Learning, Fall 2018)

    Find the Words (Grid Word Search Game: Narrative, Mixed-Methods & Action Research Designs)

    Question Set (Review & Reflect: Exploring Quantitative Data)

    Flash Cards (Flash Cards: ePortfolio for Teachers)

    Accordion (Scientific Method Elements)