BCTLC: Advocating for Educators

We recently caught up with Paula Hayden and Anne Sommerfeld, the new co-chairs for the British Columbia Teaching and Learning Council (BCTLC), to learn about their plans for the BCTLC amidst this changing world.

Post by BCcampus’ editorial team

The BCTLC is a community of leaders from post-secondary institutions in B.C., focused on enhancing teaching and learning cultures throughout the system.

“BCTLC is a strong partner for BCcampus,” explained Mary Burgess, executive director at BCcampus. “Working together, we’re able to facilitate communications, participate in provincial committees, and be part of the partnerships they’re creating to improve B.C.’s post-secondary system. Previous co-chairs, Dr. Catharine Dishke Hondzel and Dr. Sophia Palahicky, have done an amazing job of setting up Anne and Paula for success, with mentorship and guidance to ensure they have everything they need to maintain their momentum. We’re excited to see where Anne and Paula will lead the council.”

Life After Pandemic

“The COVID catalyst is bringing change in bucketloads,” shared Anne Sommerfeld, director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). “We used to have much more time to prepare, but the current pandemic has created a tsunami of change. The initial pivot to online was one thing, but now we’re looking at more long-term change for institutions across the province. We’re inviting local educators to come together with BCTLC to be involved, join a meeting, and chat with peers who understand what you’re going through, so you don’t feel like you’re in a silo. We’re small, but mighty.”

“I’m new to the province, but not new to teaching,” said Dr. Paula Hayden, Director of the Centre for Teaching & Learning at the College of New Caledonia (CNC). “One of the things I loved about the BCTLC was the sense of community and acceptance. I felt like I was welcomed and valued. I’d like to continue to work on community building, allowing everyone to contribute without pressure. This is one of those times where it’s OK to take more than you give. Use what you need now, and if you can give back in the future, great.”

“Catharine and Sophia, our previous co-chairs, have been incredible mentors throughout the transition,” shared Anne. “We’re grateful that they’ll continue to support and guide us throughout our term.”

Building Awareness for OER

“To plan for the future, we need to know where we are today as a cohesive group in the province,” explained Paula. “There’s been a lot of work done over the past ten years in terms of open educational resources. It’s become much more relevant provincially due to COVID-19, with a financial impact on institutions and students. BCcampus has a robust OER bank, and I’d like to learn what the vision is for OER and what the BCTLC can add to that.”

“I’m excited that we’re doing this as co-chairs,” said Anne. “It’s not just one person’s agenda: it’s a shared process between the previous chairs and the current. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I am giving back, and I’m honoured to be able to do that. Hopefully, when it’s safe, we’ll have more face-to-face meetings and events like the Festival of Learning to celebrate learning and raise awareness in the value of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). We’ll also be looking at ancillary resources — the materials, question sets, and test banks that go with open textbooks and make OER better.”

“To help the educators and institutions of B.C. make full use of what BCTLC provides, we’ll be adding more information to the website,” said Anne, “and initiating conversations to facilitate the sharing of resources and ideas amongst faculty and educators. Our first step is to have the conversations to delve into the questions, so we can find the right answers for their particular situation.”

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Previous BCTLC leadership: