2019 Fall Meeting Notes

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On November 8th, over 50 colleagues gathered at the lovely Victoria College at the University of Toronto to partake in professional development activities and networking opportunities at the 2019 COED Fall Meeting. The theme of the 2019 meeting was the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”), which roughly translates to “cozy,” and in the spirit of hygge attendees came dressed in their comfy, cozy clothing.

After introductory remarks and the University of Toronto land acknowledgement (which included a call for reflection), Sally provided an overview of the 2018 Fall Meeting, and the activities of COED for the past year. Mid-morning, we broke up the presentations with a fika – a casual coffee and treat break, and a chance to connect with colleagues from our own and other institutions. Following the fika, Julia Coylar from the Council of Ontario Universities stopped in to give us an update on COU’s initiatives, and ways COED might be involved.

COED Fall Meeting 2019 at Victoria College, University of Toronto

Prior to breaking for lunch, we heard from the current Action Learning Set coordinators and participants about their involvement with their ALS so far. All the groups expressed the value of their conversations with colleagues, and look forward to continuing to meet over the coming months. The current Action Learning Sets are as follows:

  • Experiential Education
  • Leadership in Educational Development
  • Onboarding and Faculty Development
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

We also had an update from two COED research groups: Paola Borin provided an update on the research she and colleagues had conducted on the inclusion of student voices in quality assurance, which they would be presenting at a conference the following week. Beth Hundey provided an update on the research on including non-traditional learning experiences in curriculum mapping, which is in the analysis stage.

Finally, we heard an update on the two Thursday pre-meeting sessions. The Fall Meeting pre-sessions kicked off with a workshop exploring the landscape of educational development geared at early-career and prospective EDs. The morning began with a brainstorming session on how we understand educational development, which yielded a thought-provoking discussion to lead into the rest of the session. Throughout the morning, participants and facilitators considered and problematized elements of the work such as the locations EDs occupy, the kinds of roles and titles we hold, the competencies and characteristics of our work, etc. The session concluded with a gallery walk where participants added questions they still had about areas of the profession, which provided an excellent segue into the networking lunch which followed the session. Participants were joined by several mid- and late-career educational developers who joined the morning participants for snacks and great conversation.

In the afternoon, the Curriculum Working Group met to collectively analyze 7 case studies on common issues in curriculum development, including topics such as educational developer burnout, assessment fatigue, learning outcomes skepticism, and so on. Following engaging and productive conversations on each of the cases, the group discussed the monthly meeting format, and brainstormed theme ideas for discussions throughout the year. The organizational reins passed from Veronica Brown and Erin Aspenleider to Beth Hundey and Heather Prangley.

During the lunch hour, a group gathered to discuss indigenous educational development, led by Jaimie Kechego from the University of Windsor. Others took advantage of the brisk, but lovely, day to take a walk around the beautiful Victoria College grounds.

Victoria College, University of Toronto

Following the lunch hour, we saw the transition of roles within the COED Executive. Natasha May and Mandy Frake-Mistak concluded their three-year term, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the leadership, wisdom, and energy they brought to the COED Executive. Sally Heath transitioned into the role of Past-Chair after expertly guiding the Executive for the past year, and Jessie Richards moved into the role of Chair for 2019–2020. We are pleased to welcome Monica Vesely to the COED Executive in the role of Chair-Elect.

In the spirit of hygge, Lianne Fisher ran a session on mindfulness which had the group engaging in a variety of relaxing and centering exercises such as focused attention, alternate uses, the compound word grid, and mindful observation (which included a refreshing walk outdoors!) For those interested in learning more, Lianne has suggested some references which are included at the end of this post.

The Hygge Manifesto

Following Lianne’s session on mindfulness, we continued with an exercise focused on the hygge theme. Each table was provided with a copy of The Hygge Manifesto, from Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge, and asked to consider how one or more of the concepts in the manifesto could inform their practice. In the large group debrief, representatives from each table noted the interconnectedness of many elements of the manifesto, and not only the challenges/barriers we face in upholding some of the elements, but also the potential we have for “making ed-dev cozier.”

The final activity of the day was a collection of topic-based group discussions determined by suggestions from the attendees throughout the day. We asked each group to write a “take-away tweet” — a summary of their conversation, or a salient point from their discussion, in 280 characters or less:

  • Need a model to explore your approach to “Educational Leadership”? #casestudies #explore #COED
  • How to get started in SoTL? Problems in teaching are just as valuable as problems in other disciplines. #ethicsapprovalsucks
  • Interdepartmental collaboration in Ed Dev. #mission #community #breakdownsilos #strategicplanning
  • No one knows what ed dev is (and classroom design). Lol. #eddelinquents #fakenews
  • Sessionals! Who are you? What do you need? How can we help? #sessionals #SMA3 #underrepresented
  • Continuous improvement is our target if only we had a few more darts! #funding #delicatebalance #followup #decanalsupport #policy

The day concluded with a Start-Stop-Continue exercise to collect feedback from attendees. Some feedback centered on the Fall Meeting itself, with many supporting the current format, and a few helpful suggestions to improve activities and logistics. Other comments focused on other elements of COED, with themes emerging around professional development opportunities throughout the year, communications/connections with the membership, and general kudos. We are so appreciative of the level of engagement and enthusiasm we see in this community, and we look forward to a phenomenal year ahead!

COED Fall Meeting 2019 at Victoria College, University of Toronto

Mindfulness Resources

Barbezat, D. P. & Bush, M. (2014). Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Fujino, M., Ueda, Y., Mizuhara, H., Saiki, J., & Nomura, M. (2018). Open monitoring meditation reduces the involvement of brain regions related to memory function. Scientific Reports, 8:9968, 1–10.

Kaufman, S. B., & Gregoire, C. (2015). Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind. New York, NY: Perigee.

Nittono, H., Fukushima, M., Yano, A., & Moriya, H. (2012). The power of Kawaii: Viewing cute images promotes a careful behavior and narrows attentional focus. PLOS ONE, 7(9), 1–7.

Oppezzo, M. & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 40(4), 1142–1152.