PT faculty keep learning 

By Karen Herland

Part-time faculty were offered the opportunity to spend a day thinking about their role in the classroom as educators last weekend in a session offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Services (CTLS) in consultation with CUPFA.

The 28 people who were willing to spend a frosty Sunday discussing pedagogy and classroom challenges with their peers are an indication of the need for more such sessions.

"We have not done this in a while. We would like to offer these sessions more often," said Leslie Cohen, Vice-President Professional Development and Training at CUPFA.

She worked with CTLS head Olivia Rovinescu and Kate Bligh to develop the agenda for the day. Bligh regularly offers workshops through CTLS, as well as being a CUPFA member and their representative on the CTLS Advisory Committee. Some regular CTLS sessions were offered in abbreviated form to be able to pack as much as possible into the day.

"In many cases, there were so many questions that there was a lack of time to address all of the material," said Cohen. "It points to the clear need to have follow-up sessions."

In addition to an overview of instructional, assessment and presentation skills (which were offered in break-out sessions) those in attendance could discuss their concerns about teaching, as well as attend sessions on the academic code of conduct.

Cohen said that participants were almost equally divided between those with over 10 years experience, those with less than five years and those in between.

One of the sessions that might have attracted the more experienced CUPFA members was on Generation Me.

"Lots of our members are commenting on the ways that students have changed. We have to change the way that we are thinking about them as well."

Cohen said the session was made possible through the CUPFA Professional Development Fund, supported by Concordia.

Bligh offers several workshops on presentations skills, giving students feedback, and other subjects. Cohen hopes to offer CUPFA members workshops over the next term, as well as sessions on Moodle.

She underscores that CUPFA members cannot often attend sessions during the work week and need parallel opportunities on weekends and evenings.

In the future, CUPFA would like to offer weekend orientation sessions, allowing for full-length versions of popular sessions as well as orientation on university policies and practices for new part-time faculty. For information or to offer suggestions, email


Concordia University