November 23, 2018
TORONTO, ON - A policy paper released by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) this morning focuses on improving teaching and learning, expanding high impact learning opportunities, and enhancing inclusive learning experiences.
“This paper addresses several issues that affect students’ day-to-day learning in their university environments,” said Kathryn Kettle, OUSA Steering Committee member and student at Laurentian University. “Our hope is to create a more streamlined approach to teaching and assessment across Ontario through improvements that benefit students, teaching assistants, and faculty alike.”
Concerns presented in the paper range from, the lack of incentives for faculty to achieve pedagogical excellence and a lack of professional development opportunities, to limited experiential learning opportunities for all students, and inadequate resources to support inclusive learning experiences on campuses.
“The workforce is constantly changing, and we want to ensure students develop a wide array of skills through a variety of opportunities that allows them to be dynamic and valuable members of their workplaces,” said Munro Watters, OUSA Steering Committee member and student at Queen’s University. “Traditional forms of teaching should not be the only form of learning available. Expanding teaching to include greater high impact and experiential learning opportunities allows more opportunity for student growth.”
Overarching recommendations in the paper include, improving teaching and learning methods, expanding high impact learning opportunities, and enhancing inclusive learning experiences. OUSA recommends that the provincial government support ongoing learning opportunities for faculty through Teaching Centres on their campuses and to develop standards for the assessment of teaching evaluations in partnership with HEQCO. Students recommend that the definition of experiential learning be expanded and that best practices for experiential learning opportunities be established. Additionally, needs-based bursaries should be provided to improve affordability of experiential learning opportunities. Finally, OUSA recommends the development of an inclusive education strategy and the establishment of a standard level of sensitivity training for faculty and student-facing staff.
This paper was written by students from OUSA member associations and presented to the OUSA Fall General Assembly on November 4th for approval. To read the paper, please click here.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance