University College Experiential Learning

University College, Faculty of Arts and Science

Even in the context of capstone experiential learning courses, a substantial amount of teaching at U of T is undertaken by sessional lecturers rather than by tenured or tenure track faculty (whether research or teaching stream).  This is particularly true at the Colleges, where interdisciplinary programs have reduced leverage on faculty teaching assignments.  The most common model of sessional teaching envisions a discrete labour exchange in a restricted time-frame that does not characterise the schedule and endeavour of pedagogical development and commitment that experiential learning, particularly service learning, entails.  While Faculties work to develop the teaching capacities of continuing faculty through institutes, communities of practice, inner-faculty fellowships, etc., those models of instructor engagement do not fit the labour relation created by regular sessional contracts.  The main support for service learning, the Centre for Community Partnerships, while it welcomes sessional instructors in its faculty development activities, works on a schedule and constitutes a type of pedagogical development that sessional labour contracts do not typically imply.

This project will provide funding to engage sessional faculty in course development, experiential learning infrastructure cultivation, and pedagogical development beyond the regular labour exchange covered by regular teaching contracts.  Participating instructors would have duties in professional development with the CCP, pre-term activities in developing placements, and participate in a community of teaching practice facilitated by the academic leadership.