A History of COED’s Formation
After many years meeting annually as “Instructional Development Officers” the group of teaching centre directors, staff, and independent consultants from the tertiary education sector in Ontario had grown to a steady number that was no longer small enough to chat informally.
As a result, a Working Group was formed in November 2007 at the request of several parties during our Ontario ID meeting at Ryerson University. Initially, the group was charged with finding better ways to share resources amongst ourselves than the now-unwieldy roundtable at Ryerson each Fall. At the same time, the working group was tasked with coming up with an answer to the question of “Affiliate status” within the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents, or OCAV.
With the 2008 arrival of the “University Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations” or UUDLEs as part of every Undergraduate Program Review in Ontario the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents was seeking to cooperate with the Educational Developers from each University in Ontario. It was to our mutual benefit to formalize what has been for decades now an informal group. Where appropriate, the intent was to support the work of COU and OCAV, and reciprocally, have these groups be able to hear about our efforts.
Carole Dence and Trevor Holmes began some of the work in December 2007 with the drafting of a constitution and launched a wiki in February 2008 to communicate and house archives. At this time Trevor Holmes agreed to lead the exploration of Affiliate Status, which culminated in a COED’s formal creation in June 2008.
Learn more about COED’s
Current Executives (2021–22)
Connect with the current executives via the COED executive email.
Chairs: Robin Sutherland-Harris, York University & Meagan Troop, Sheridan College
Robin Sutherland-Harris, York University
Robin Sutherland-Harris believes that the work of educational development in higher education requires engaging with complex and varied literacies. Drawing on a situational, pragmatic, and critical understanding of what it means to be literate in a given context, she sees educational developers as ideally situated to support the widespread and long-term development of pedagogical literacies across institutions. The events of 2020 and their ongoing repercussions will mean that higher education institutions, Faculties, units, and instructors will continue to navigate a changing environment over the next few years – and this is an opportunity for organizations like COED to support developers in the growth of new literacies. These literacies may be pragmatically oriented towards eLearning skills, new ways to re-imagine programming and faculty support, meaningful engagement with anti-racist, Indigenous, and equity-oriented pedagogies, or the shifting hiring landscape in educational development.
As part of the leadership team, Robin works to ensure that COED plays a key role in how educational developers successfully navigate a period of significant transition and that we helpfully focus on supporting our members individually and collectively to gain the strategic situational literacies that will be required of us all.
Robin is currently an Educational Developer at York University’s Teaching Commons, where she acts as liaison to the Humanities departments, and supports eLearning, inclusion and equity in teaching and learning, and academic integrity across the university. She has over 8 years of university teaching experience in her original disciplinary field of Medieval Studies, and over 10 years of experience as an educational developer, faculty development consultant, and peer teaching and learning mentor. Her current research uses a collaborative analytical autoethnographic methodology to explore facets of faculty and developer interaction, whether, in the course of day-to-day individual consultations, curriculum renewal processes, or sector-wide emergency responses to global events such as COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.
Meagan Troop, Sheridan College
Meagan Troop has worked in the field of educational development for over a decade with experience in both college and university contexts. Meagan is currently a Professor at the Pilon School of Business, Sheridan College. Her role focuses on re-conceptualizing business education for the 21st century through transformative learning and reflective practice. Prior to her professor role, Meg was the Manager of the Educational Development team at Sheridan in the Centre for Teaching and Learning. In all of these roles, Meg collaborates with faculty, staff, students, and administrators to design and facilitate evidence-informed programs and participate in pan-institutional initiatives that build teaching and learning capacity. Meg has also worked as an educational developer and instructional designer with positions at the Universities of Guelph, Waterloo, and OCAD, and teaching experience from St. Lawrence College, Wilfrid Laurier University, and The University of Guelph in the disciplinary areas of music education, musical theatre performance, and improvisation.
Meg holds a PhD in Education from Queen’s University with a focus on curriculum, teaching, and learning. She is actively involved in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as a researcher and contributes to the field of educational development through peer-reviewed publications, mentorship, and educational leadership at local, national, and international conferences and events and as an Editorial Board member of the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CJSoTL). Further, Meg is currently a chair on the Advisory Committee for eCampus Ontario.
Relationships are at the heart of the work that we do as educational developers. As a member of the COED exec team, Meg strives to cultivate meaningful connections as a deliberate act of community making. Further, she is hopeful that we might envisage possible educational development futures together through ongoing critical dialogue and self-reflection, and by way of creative activity.
Chair-Elect: Mel Young, Cambrian College
Mel Young is an Educational Developer in the Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub at Cambrian College in Sudbury, ON. Mel has been involved with educational development since the start of her teaching career in 2005, designing programs and courses for elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions both nationally and internationally. In her role in the Hub, Mel designed and delivers the Teaching Excellence Program to new full-time faculty, using a flipped-classroom approach and flexible pedagogies. She works with faculty in all departments by providing confidential consultations on course planning, delivery, assessment, and engagement practices. Mel is interested in championing student-centred, authentic teaching and learning practices.
Outside of her work at Cambrian, Mel is involved with the Educational Developers Caucus (EDC) and the Curriculum Developers Affinity Group (CDAG). For the EDC, Mel coordinates the Centre Leaders Community of Practice where Teaching and Learning Centre administrators across Canada are able to meet and discuss topics of interest, successes, and innovative practices. For CDAG, Mel sits on the Awards Committee.
As part of the COED executive team, Mel hopes to foster collaborative projects and dialogues that support early-career and seasoned educational developers.
Past-Chair: Monica Vesely, University of Waterloo
Monica Vesely comes from a teaching background in biochemistry (laboratory and lecture courses) at the University of Waterloo and designing online learning experiences with Waterloo’s Professional Development Program. Her entry into the educational developer world started with her facilitation work as part of the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) program and educational development became her primary role in 2012 when she joined the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo. In her current role as an Educational Developer, Faculty Programs and Consulting, she works with faculty across the career spectrum designing and facilitating instructional development programs and providing confidential consultations in all aspects of course design, instructional skills and evaluation. Monica’s research interests include the impact of programs such as the Teaching Squares and the Facilitator Development Workshop on teaching development.
In 2013, Monica became an Instructional Skills Workshop Trainer and took on the role of ISW program lead at the University of Waterloo. She continues to grow her investment in the broader ISW community both provincially and nationally through her involvement in the handbook revision project, co-hosting Ontario ISW Community of Practice gatherings and taking part in ISW Spring Institutes as a planning committee member, presenter, and facilitator. In 2018, Monica was the recipient of a Staff International Experience grant from the University of Waterloo and had the opportunity to visit various teaching centers in the UK and the Netherlands where she engaged in conversations about teaching and learning with her international colleagues. This experience continues to inform and provide perspective in her current work.
Monica attended her first COED meeting in her first year as an educational developer (fall of 2012) and she values the forum this group provides for educational developers provincially to connect with one another. She looks forward to supporting and growing COED’s ongoing efforts to provide opportunities for new and established members of the educational developer community to engage in meaningful discussion and collaborative activities that help to enhance the strength of the COED community. With the needs and interests of the COED membership as a guide, Monica hopes to work with the current executive to grow newly seeded programs and support the nurturing of existing relationships as well as facilitate new opportunities for connections both within and external to the membership.
Past Chair, 2021: Jessie Richards, University of Toronto
Jessie Richards is a Curriculum Development Specialist for the University of Toronto’s three campuses, based in the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education. Jessie has been working in educational development since 2012, starting in the private college sector where she supported curriculum design, program review, and learning outcome assessment processes for a variety of professional programs. Jessie’s love for course design and curriculum development started in graduate school, where, concurrent to her master’s program in Composition Pedagogy, she took the University of Windsor’s University Teaching Certificate program.
In her current role, Jessie supports departmental leaders in the coordination and management of curriculum review processes, which includes developing and implementing program evaluation strategies; guiding departments through curriculum mapping; and coordinating strategies for continuous improvement of curriculum. Jessie feels especially privileged to hold a central role in such a diverse institution because she has the joy of working with wonderful leaders in a wide variety of disciplines.
Outside of her work at U of T, Jessie is involved with several initiatives with the Educational Developers Caucus (EDC). Jessie is a member of the Curriculum Mapping EDC Action Group, and serves as the leader of the Early-Career Educational Developers EDC Action Group.
Past Chair, 2018: Sally Heath, Wilfrid Laurier University
Sally has been working in the field of educational development since 2007, starting her career as a Teaching Assistant Developer at the University of Waterloo before transitioning to a role in instructional development at Wilfrid Laurier in 2010. Since 2011, she has managed the university’s quality assurance processes, including new program development, curriculum modification, and cyclical program review. Her interest in all of these processes is to provide individualized, responsive, and flexible support to faculty that helps them to achieve their goals. Sally has taught for 15 years in both the college and university sectors and currently teaches in the North American Studies program at Laurier.
Sally has been a member of COED since 2011 and has always had a particular interest in the Curriculum Developers Group and learning about the ways in which other institutions and educational developers across the province are both leading and supporting curriculum review and outcomes assessment processes. She has found that her role in quality assurance has provided her with the opportunity to engage academic units in these processes in a meaningful way, gradually shifting the institutional culture around learning outcomes and assessment, and making required processes such as cyclical review more useful to them. She is currently a part of a COED Research Project that examines how students are being engaged in quality assurance processes across the province.
Sally is looking forward to working collaboratively with the COED Executive team over the next few years to develop and facilitate networking opportunities that respond to the needs and interests of the COED membership.
Past Co-Chairs, 2017: Dr. Mandy Frake-Mistak & Dr. Natasha May, York University
Mandy is an Educational Developer at the Teaching Commons at York University where she works with faculty and graduate students. Her primary role is providing courses related to teaching in higher education and SoTL. She facilitates professional development workshops, and is an Instructional Skills Workshop Trainer. Currently, Mandy is involved in the EDC Accreditation Committee, the EDC Working Group on Awards, the 3M National Student Fellowship Coordination Team, York University’s Working Group on Enhancing the Quality of Teaching and Learning, and is a reviewer for Transformative Dialogues.
Mandy completed her Ph.D. and a Graduate Diploma in Postsecondary Education at York University, an Honours Bachelor in Physical Education, a Bachelor of Education, and a Masters of Education from Brock University. She has been a contract faculty at York University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brock University and Trent University, instructing courses in faculties of education and physical education and kinesiology. Her areas of research are teaching and learning in higher education, critical policy studies, degree level expectations and outcomes based learning, quality assurance, and the political economy of higher education.
Natasha is a teacher at heart and has taken every opportunity to be involved in teaching and learning. She completed a number of different programs and took on various roles as a graduate student to develop herself and support her peers in teaching. After completing a PhD in mathematics, Natasha transitioned into her current role as an Educational Developer in the Teaching Commons at York University. She feels like one of the luckiest Educational Developers because a major part of her role is overseeing all of the support programs offered for graduate students, co-teaching the accredited courses offered to graduate students and getting the opportunity to interact with graduate students about teaching as well as professional and Educational Development. Natasha is also the Ontario Member-at-Large of Teaching Assistant and Grad Student Advancement (TAGSA). On the faculty side, Natasha is committed to developing communities of practice and supporting faculty with their teaching and curriculum development. She teaches an undergraduate mathematics course or two each academic year, allowing her to share her own practices with colleagues and engage in SoTL.
Natasha and Mandy have a strong desire to make a contribution to the Educational Developer community as they have both so greatly benefited themselves. They view the position of Co-Chairs of COED as an opportunity and responsibility to engage with and learn from colleagues and peers as they expand their work with those teaching in post-secondary education. They aim to build on the already strong foundation of the COED community by continuing to engage the current membership and invite those who are new to this energetic network of Educational Developers. They will strive to explore and will commit to collaborative, scholarly, meaningful, and interactive opportunities beyond the contexts of our local institutions with an overall mission of continuing our advocacy of teaching and learning in post-secondary education.
Past Chair, 2016: Dr. Beata Pawlowska, Director of Programs, Projects & Partnerships
Beata Pawlowska, Ph.D., is the Director of Programs, Projects, and Partnerships at the Center for Faculty Development, University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital.
Beata Pawlowska, has extensive academic and practice-based experience in change leadership, faculty and curriculum development, competency based-education, simulation, interprofessional education, teaching, and research. She holds a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a Masters degree in Business and Education.
Concurrent to completing her Ph.D. program, Beata was an Adjunct Professor (Docent) in the Department of Social Psychology and in the Department of Education at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. Beata was also a member of a carefully chosen start-up team which established the Center for Leadership and People Management at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, where she subsequently worked as an associate researcher and as an educator.
Successively, in her role as a Manager for the Centre of Learning and Innovation at the Michener Institute of Education at The University Health Network (UHN), she partnered with academic and healthcare leaders to ensure the highest quality of patient care and safety through excellence in education. She led cross-institutional and interprofessional design teams through complex competency-based program development and faculty development initiatives.
Beata is a recipient of numerous awards of excellence and has been recognized as a highly skilled thought leader and agent of change. Her scholarly interests are in the areas of leadership, faculty development, collective competence, and change management.
Past Co-Chairs, 2015: Dr. Mary Wilson & Dr. Natasha Patrito Hannon, Niagara College
Natasha and Mary are colleagues in Niagara College’s Centre for Academic Excellence (CAE). Natasha manages the Educational Development Unit and Mary is the Director of the Centre. The CAE was founded in 2013 and supports both academic program quality improvements through faculty and curriculum development and academic program quality assurance through facilitation of the cyclical review and new program development processes.
Natasha arrived at Niagara College in July of 2014 and over the past two years has, in collaboration with her wonderful colleagues, established the service model of the ED unit and has collaborated with the Western Region colleges on the redesign of our two-year College Educator Development Program. Previously, Natasha served as an Educational Developer in Western University’s Teaching Support Centre where she supported faculty and graduate students in the exploration of conditions that lead to enhanced student learning. She is the editor-in-chief of the Teaching Innovation Projects journal, a founding organizer of the Western Conference in Science Education, and a certified Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) trainer. As a physical chemist and science educator herself, Natasha will contribute greatly to the development of the physical science and engineering related fields of study at Niagara College.
Mary arrived at Niagara College in March of 2013 and has had the privilege of building the foundations for the CAE from two units – Academic Quality and the Centre for Professional and Organizational Development – that were brought together and reconstituted by the Vice-President, Academic. Mary also hails from the university sector, having spent three years as the founding Director of the Centre for Innovation in Art and Design Education at OCAD University, and many, many years at the University of Guelph as an Educational Developer for Teaching Support Services (a precursor of OpenED) and the founding Manager of the Supported Learning Groups Program in Guelph’s Learning Commons. Mary also served as the Canadian representative for the International Center for Supplemental Instruction and brought the Canadian centre to the University of Guelph – one of six national centres world-wide. Mary holds a doctorate in education from OISE/UT and has also earned recognition for her teaching in Guelph’s First Year Seminar Program by the Student Senate Caucus of the University of Guelph.
Both Natasha and Mary place great value on collegial networks such as COED and feel that our provincial council plays a critical role in shaping the ways in which Educational Developers can support each other, collaborate on research and practice initiatives, and guide our communities in ensuring that our students and faculty benefit from well-developed curriculum and rich teaching and learning experiences.
Past Chair, 2014: Dr. Gavan Watson, Western University
Communities of practice such as the one facilitated by COED, support and grow our critical practice as educational developers. In Ontario’s post-secondary institutions, the impact of teaching and learning has been the focus of much attention. Increasingly, educational developers are being asked to provide facilitative leadership and expertise in addressing this topic. As the role of educational development continues to evolve, and as others draw upon our experience, it will be important that Ontario educational developers have a strong collective vision and voice for communicating why and what we do to support teaching and learning.
Beyond resting on our geographical boundaries to define our membership, it is my intention to foster meaningful discussion to establish and articulate a clear vision and strategic directions for COED. I believe that it will be important for us to explore other opportunities, beyond our annual meeting, to collaborate and strengthen communication amongst our membership. I am are in a strong position to do this with extensive experience leveraging technology and providing facilitative leadership to create community.
With a strong community and a clear vision, it is my intention to leave COED a clear advocate for meaningful educational practices in Ontario’s post-secondary education system. Through our term we would ensure that the value of our collective voice and expertise in COED is recognized and sought out, through developing and articulating a clear identity and vision that reflects the membership.
I am the Associate Director, eLearning at Western University’s Teaching Support Centre. Before joining the TSC team, I was an educational developer at the University of Guelph.
Past Chair, 2013: Celia Popovic, Director, Teaching Commons, York University
I joined York University from the UK in November 2011. In July I took on the role of Director of the newly formed Teaching Commons. This is an exciting and challenging position as I have been tasked with forming a new team of developers, building a faculty engagement structure and generally raising the profile of teaching at York.
Before coming to Canada I was an independent consultant, and worked with a dozen universities across the UK. Prior to that, I was the Head of Educational Development at Birmingham City University (BCU). I have a strong record in course design and delivery, mentorship, facilitation and development with my work in institutions and organizations. I have been deeply engaged with SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association) for many years where I was Co-Chair of both the Conference Committee and the Scholarship, Research and Evaluation Committee. While at BCU, I was the project lead from a $600,000 HEA (Higher Education Academy) funded project into employability. As secretary for HEDG (Heads of Educational Development Group) I was active in influencing the shape and content of bi-annual meetings. I am an active published researcher, and I contribute to the profession through my involvement as a reviewer for several academic journals and book reviewer for IETI (Innovations in Education and Teaching International). I gained my Masters of Education from Birmingham University in 1995, and my Doctorate also from Birmingham in 2007. My most recent publication was co-authored with David Green – Popovic and Green (2012) Understanding Undergraduates, Routledge, London, and was published as part of the SEDA series.
Since arriving in Canada I have been surprised by the number of parallels between my new home and the UK. I recognize that many of the challenges faced by both countries are similar but there are significant cultural differences. That said I am pleased to be able to bring my experience from elsewhere as a lens for my new context. Ontario is on the cusp of significant changes in education in general and PSE in particular. I am excited by the challenges facing us all, and looking forward to contributing to the wider educational development community through COED.
Past Co-Chairs, 2012: Lori Goff, Educational Consultant & Kris Knorr, Instructional Designer, Centre for Leadership in Learning, McMaster University
Kris and Lori have been engaged in curriculum development and educational development work for a combined fifteen years, within the Faculty of Science and at the Centre for Leadership in Learning at McMaster University. Together, they bring a broad range of experiences and perspectives on teaching and learning.
Kris coordinates nine of Communities of Practice at McMaster which bring together groups of faculty, staff, and graduate students to regularly discuss and engage with a variety of teaching and learning topics (e.g., Accessibility in the Classroom and on Campus, Community Engaged Education, Pedagogy, Teaching with Technology, Research on Teaching and Learning, etc). He has been involved in supporting a large number of teaching and learning research projects and has himself conducted extensive research on faculty development needs. He supports educators across campus as they engage in innovative formats of teaching with technology.
Lori has been supporting program level initiatives at McMaster, working with departments who are developing new programs or who are in the process of reviewing their undergraduate and graduate programs in accordance with the Quality Assurance Framework. Her focus has been on helping programs to identify ideal graduate attributes, to articulate program learning outcomes, and more recently to develop program assessment plans that can be used to assess achievement of learning outcomes. This experience, together with her current research focus on quality assurance, has led to her increased interest and involvement in provincial level initiatives involving the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, and the Council of Ontario’s Quality Council group.
Both Kris and Lori are passionate about their educational development work and are very willing to collaborate and share their experiences with educational developers across the province. Both have been attending STLHE and COED meetings for several years, and have been members of COED working groups, but are looking to become more involved with COED at a leadership level. Together they plan to continue COED’s efforts in promoting and advocating for educational development, teaching, and learning; building upon the strengths and successes of past chairs. They will encourage and enable collaboration and communication within COED while ensuring that members are kept informed of provincial developments that impact higher education (COU, MTCU, etc).
Past Chair, 2011: Michael Potter, Educational Consultant, Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Windsor
I’m an educational consultant at the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Windsor, where much of my time is spent supporting early career faculty and teaching assistants, coordinating our University Teaching Certificate program, and helping people work on outcome-based curricula. I see myself as a slowly-constructed bridge between the worlds of educational development and philosophy, still just a few pillars poking out of the water. But if there’s a new brick every year, well, that’s progress.
I’ve not been in educational development for very long. Before coming to the University of Windsor I spent four years working part-time for the Centre for Leadership in Learning at McMaster University, where I created and coordinated the Teaching Assistants Network. Splitting my life between sessional teaching and educational development, I began to feel myself torn between worlds. The EDC conference in Guelph (February 2007) toppled me off my fence. The sessions I attended were gratifying, but more to the point I realized, finally, that there was a stark contrast between the worlds of educational development and traditional academia. Educational developers are, by and large, genuinely passionate about their work, friendly, devoted to practical projects that could make a difference, informal and unpretentious. And theirs is a culture that truly values resource-sharing and collaboration for the greater good.
Now I’d like to become more involved in the educational development world through COED. I support Trevor’s plans to focus on assessment and collaboration, which can, together, help us move forward while recognizing and safeguarding our present strengths. As the complexity of the educational development and academic landscapes increases, our challenge will be to adapt to meet those challenges with integrity, mindful of what we already do well, that the culture of educational development has strengths of its own.
Past Chair, 2010: Trevor Holmes, Senior Instructional Developer, Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo; Contract Academic Staff, Cultural Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
Currently I am Senior Instructional Developer, Programming at the Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo. I also teach Cultural Studies 101 at Wilfrid Laurier University each Winter Term. Most recently, I have been very involved in curriculum processes within academic departments.
On some level, my career in educational development has been a happy accident. Nearly ten years ago, I found myself running a teaching centre at Trent University. I was also in charge of advising part-time and Oshawa campus students, and teaching in Cultural Studies. It was overwhelming. I drew on experiences as a TA developer at York, where I completed the University Teaching Practicum; however, what helped me most was the mentoring I had through the IDO Ontario and the Eastern EdTech groups. Since then, I’ve relied annually on our November “IDO” meetings to recharge my batteries and to gain new wisdom in my roles first at Guelph, then at Waterloo Universities. My service to the COED community is meant, in part, to start giving back to the people and the organisation that got me on my feet. As well, I find this to be a really fascinating time to be involved in higher education locally and globally. Two things I tried to focus on in my term as Chair included: the landscape of assessment as it plays out in our daily work (through UDLEs, iterative curriculum and course design, and evaluating our own centres) collaboration within our group (through a working group model with Vice-Chairs) and with other groups, such as OUCEL, OCUL, OCULL, OCAV, EDC, STLHE, ICED: what framework makes most sense to leverage the great talents of our colleagues within COED and around the country, or the world?
2008–12: OntarioEduDevelopers (opens on a new page): COED’s original web presence, this wiki was updated until 2012
2012–15: COED hosted by WildApricot (Internet Wayback Machine cache; opens on a new page)