Maple League Press Release: Launch of the Virtual Maple League Teaching and Learning Centre

by Jessica Riddell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Maple League of Universities increases collaboration around quality undergraduate education with the launch of the Virtual Maple League Teaching and Learning Centre

Sherbrooke, QC, June 10, 2020 – The Maple League of Universities is pleased to announce the launch of the Virtual Maple League Teaching and Learning Centre (V_MLTLC). While the concept has been in development since 2018, the global pandemic has exposed the urgency of this centre and its long-term impact post-pandemic.

The V_MLTLC is a grassroots, faculty-led virtual space that supports faculty and staff as they prepare for the design and delivery of courses in Fall 2020 and beyond.

The V_MLTLC launched June 1, 2020 and provides a virtual hub of curated and specially created resources tailored to the institutional model shared by the four Maple League universities, which includes a focus on small classes, experiential learning and extra-curricular engagement, community-based learning, and relationship-rich learning environments. The V_MLTLC provides pedagogical assistance for faculty with varying needs, challenges, and interests as they prepare for Fall in the light of COVID-19 pandemic.

Programming includes:
1. “Hive Mind” Resource Guide (a dynamic space for sharing resources to alleviate some of the most pressing pain points);
2. “Better Together: Maple League Teaching Support” (a summer series led by professors, staff, and students from the four universities every Tuesday and Thursday);
3. “Maple League Hosts: Conversations around Quality Undergraduate Education” (a monthly panel with national and international teaching and learning scholars facilitated by the Executive Director and Visiting Jarislowsky Scholar);
3. “Ask Me Anything” sessions (weekly individualized support for faculty/staff who can drop in for help on any course design challenges from the Director of the V_MLTLC);
4. Communities of Practice (with disciplinary and thematic working groups);
5. An Online Course designed by Open Acadia (for faculty across our four institutions, about building community through remote and online learning).

The V_MLTLC will also curate and create professional development opportunities synchronously (workshops, modules, brown bags, panels, open office hours) and asynchronously by building “on demand” digital resources (templates, quick tips, videos, course plans).

While the needs of faculty vary depending on disciplinary contexts and programmatic requirements, the key differentiators of Maple League universities – e.g. face-to-face interactions, mentorship, and a holistic approach to a 21st century liberal education – remain at the core of support for faculty as they plan design and delivery for Fall 2020 and beyond.

Toni Roberts, Sociology professor at Mount Allison University and the co-chair of the Maple League Teaching and Learning Committee, says “the virtual teaching and learning space has been under development for almost two years. Its strength lies in the faculty-led approach that is grassroots in its design and delivery, and makes it unusual – even unique- in the landscape of higher education in Canada. The programming is exciting because it taps into our expertise across four universities and gives us both breadth and depth to think creatively about pandemic pedagogy.”

While the focus is on helping faculty prepare for Fall 2020 in the light of COVID, student fellows are key collaborators. Tiffany MacLennan, a recent graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a new McKenna Fellow, remarks, “the inter-institutional collaboration is committed to a student-focused approach to quality undergraduate education; I’m delighted to be
a part of this initiative that challenges us to rethink PSE as a more equitable, inclusive, and high impact space with students as key collaborators.”

The V_MLTLC is made possible in part due to generous funding from the McConnell Foundation. Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the McConnell Foundation notes, “The McConnell Foundation is delighted to support the consortium of Maple League universities in creating collaborative infrastructure to build back better from COVID-19.” See the funding release from the McConnell Foundation here.

To learn more about this month’s offerings from the V_MLTLC, see the ‘June Calendar of Events’ on http://mapleleague.ca/faculty-and-staff/

About the Maple League
The Maple League is made up of four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier – who together form an alliance of small, rural, undergraduate liberal education institutions with Francophone heritage and a commitment to truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities. By fostering reciprocal relationships across institutional boundaries, we provide extraordinary opportunities to transform as leaders, scholars, and institutions. The Maple League creates distinctive learning environments that ensure our graduates are capable of navigating an increasingly complex world as citizens and leaders dedicated to the values of a just and civil society.

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For more information, please contact:
Dr. Jessica Riddell
Executive Director, The Maple League of Universities
Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence
Full Professor, Department of English, Bishop’s University
3M National Teaching Fellow (2015)
director@mapleleague.ca

Lauren Boultbee
Post-Graduate Fellow, Advancement and Communications
The Maple League of Universities
lboultbee15@ubishops.ca

Sherri Turner
Manager, University Communications
Acadia University
sherri.turner@acadiau.ca

Olivier Bouffard
Director of Communications
Bishop’s University
obouffar@ubishops.ca

Richard Hiscock
Director of Communications
Mount Allison University
rhiscock@mta.ca

Kyler Bell
Director of Communications
St. FX University
kbell@stfx.ca

Click here to view the press release as a PDF

Events

Four days in the heart of Higher Education development

Date: February 2020
Location: Acadia University
On February 18, 2020, Maple League faculty and students gathered at Acadia University for a Quality Undergraduate Education Summit featuring guest lecturer Dr. Peter Felten, author of The Undergraduate Experience. Dr. Felten is based at Elon University as the assistant provost for Teaching and Learning, director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and a History professor.

All events

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July 2020 – Virtual Maple League Teaching and Learning Centre Events

Keep in touch! Follow the activities of the Maple League. @TheMapleLeague @TheMapleLeague themapleleague

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