I started the Continuous Teaching Improvement Community of Practice in 2016 after identifying a possible area for growth in our centres offerings. During consultations with sessional instructors, I recognized that these instructors, though committed, are not fully embedded in their departments and therefore miss the chance for casual conversation and connection with colleagues about teaching. As a sessional instructor myself, I decided to take the matter into my own hands and started the Continuous Teaching Improvement Community of Practice (CTICOP).
Within CTICOP, I am a peer. The group functions more like a COP than a Educational Developer facilitated workshop. Though I book times and rooms and set up registration, we all take turns in facilitating the sessions and deciding on themes of focus. Our vision and group description was co-developed by our founding members, and anyone is welcome to join. Generally, our sessions follow a common format:
- 1 week before session: I send out prompting questions provided by the facilitator
- 12:00-12:10 – participants introduce themselves (as we regularly have new members)
- 12:10-12:50 – participants engage in discussion around the theme
- 12:50-1:00 – participants decide upon next discussion topic and a participant volunteers to facilitate.
CTICOP has expanded and welcomes all instructors (not only sessionals), however, it has remained a safe space to discuss issues that are very specific to sessional workload and contracts.
Although still in early days, I am optimistic about the potential for this group. For instance, recently we had a request for advice from a sessional instructor and I have been able to connect this instructor with our group, connect her with one of our members who has experienced similar issues, and will likely make her specific issue a future themed session. Without this group, we would still do our best to provide advice but might not be able to connect her with someone with firsthand experience in the same situation.