What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?

We have heard concerns from some current lecturers about what we are calling “Pedagogical and Professional Development activities,” or “PPD.” They are worried that, in the Policy 76/77 revision process, FAUW is pushing for research to be a required part of the job for lecturers who move into the new professorial teaching-stream ranks.

This is not the case.

What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?

FAUW and the administration have not agreed to specific lists of activities yet. Here is just a sample of some activities that FAUW believes should count as PPD:*

Pedagogical development activities:

  • Exploring, developing, and/or implementing new teaching practices;
  • Designing or redesigning a course;
  • Participating in curriculum development or review;
  • Participating in teaching initiatives in your department or faculty; at the university; or at other universities;
  • Attending or participating in workshops and conferences on pedagogy;
  • Taking on internal or external educational leadership roles (e.g. teaching fellowships or invited teaching at other universities);
  • Performing disciplinary or pedagogical research/scholarly work (see “Where traditional research fits in” below).

Professional development activities:

  • If applicable, maintaining professional licences or accreditations (e.g. in engineering, pharmacy, accounting);
  • Other activities required to maintain professional standing in a field.

Where traditional research fits in

Policy 77 currently states about both professors and lecturers:

University teaching is informed and enriched by the research and scholarship of the professoriate. The University expects its regular faculty members to be active participants in the evolution of their disciplines and professions, to keep academic programs and courses current with developments in their fields, and to communicate both their discoveries and their commitment to scholarship and research.

FAUW believes that, to be “active participants in the evolution” of their fields, teaching-stream faculty should be encouraged to, for example, attend disciplinary conferences. And, if teaching-stream faculty want to engage in traditional forms of dissemination of research/scholarly work—either in their discipline or in the scholarship of teaching and learning—it too should “count” as pedagogical development.

But, to be clear, FAUW is not advocating that teaching-stream faculty must do research.

What is the Pedagogical and Professional Development (PPD) term?

You are probably familiar with the fact that professors currently have a “research term” every third term. This is based on Policy 76:

Regular full-time faculty in the professorial ranks are normally assigned formal teaching duties in two of the three terms in which the University operates … During a term for which formal teaching duties are not assigned, faculty members are expected to increase their scholarly activity.

In a similar fashion, FAUW is asking that professors in the teaching stream have a “pedagogical and professional development term” (PPD term) every sixth term.

This PPD term will allow teaching-stream professors time to do the important work listed above—work that, under our current tentative agreements with the administration, will be required for progression through the teaching-stream ranks.

With this available time, they will be better, more innovative teachers; they will work—alone or with their peers—on pedagogical development; they will stay current with “the evolution of their disciplines and professions”; they will be able to experiment with new teaching approaches and technologies; they will demonstrate leadership in teaching.

So, the PPD term is not a “term off”—any more that a research term is a “term off.” Teaching-stream professors will engage in self-directed pedagogical and professional development activities that contribute to teaching, to students, and to the academic mission of UW.

This is FAUW’s aspiration. Please let us know what you think in the comments.


*Note: FAUW has based this vision on what teaching-stream faculty members do at other U15 universities (such as McMaster and Toronto).

2 thoughts on “What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?

  1. I think it is important to reference Policy on what constitutes the 4 equally important forms of scholarship and not redefine this by calling it a PPD term. Its a scholarship term, but focussed on the other 3 forms of scholarship (other than research, the most valued around here) are what we should be referencing for teaching stream faculty.

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  2. These two example PPD activities have me wondering:
    “Participating in teaching initiatives in your department or faculty; at the university; or at other universities;
    Attending or participating in workshops and conferences on pedagogy;”
    and
    “Taking on internal or external educational leadership roles (e.g. teaching fellowships or invited teaching at other universities);”

    Does this effectively mean that faculty would get credit at UW for taking on ‘invited’ sessional teaching positions at other Universities?

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