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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.09b - Faculty mentoring for teaching and the role of teaching climates and cultures in encouraging the development and enhancement of teaching practices.

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This session focuses on findings from a descriptive and exploratory research study that examined the phenomenon of faculty mentoring for teaching at a large Canadian university. This research included examinations of cultures of teaching and learning, one of the conference threads and focused on continuing appointment faculty (full-time in one of the Tenure or Teaching streams). Two levels of inquiry guided our research study: (1) What are the formal/informal experiences of faculty as teaching mentors and/or mentees?, and 2) What are current promising practices, gaps, challenges and recommendations for mentoring for teaching at our university? This study was situated within a broader comprehensive review of the literature we conducted related to mentoring for teaching. Included here was Boice’s (2000) seminal work and Austin, Sorcinelli and Yun (2007) who focused more broadly on faculty mentoring, but there exists only a small number of studies that address the specifics of mentoring for teaching (e.g., Carbone, 2014). Roxå and Mårtensson’s (2009) research notes that strong cultural support within departments and institutions tends to increase the number of mentorship partners who engage in teaching and learning-focused discussions. Our session will start with an overview of this key literature focusing on teaching-related approaches, programs and models. We will then focus on a central theme that emerged from interviews with forty-four (n=44) faculty regarding their mentoring for teaching experiences -- that of the role of teaching climates and cultures in en/discouraging the ongoing development and enhancement of teaching. We will share examples in which faculty discussed the role of such spaces (physical and literal) that pose challenges for faculty of all career stages to enhance their own teaching practices. The flip side is that there exist many supportive environments in our institution that offer opportunities to openly discuss teaching-related topics in both formal and informal settings, and at one-to-one, peer, departmental and broader institutional levels.


Austin, A., Sorcinelli, M.D., & McDaniels, M. (2007). Understanding new faculty: Background, aspirations, challenges and growth. In R. Perry, J. Smart (Eds.), The Scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education (pp. 39-89). Dortrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Boice, R. (2000). Advice for New Faculty Members. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Carbone, A. (2014). A peer-assisted teaching scheme to improve units with critically low student satisfaction: opportunities and challenges. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(3), 425-439.

Roxa, T., & Martensson, K. (2009). Teaching and learning regimes from within. In Carolin Kreber (Ed.), The University and its Disciplines: Teaching and Learning Within and Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries (pp.209-218). New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this presentation, session participants will have,

- Learned about one institution’s challenges and promising practices with respect to mentoring for teaching gaps and approaches

- Shared their own experiences of the role of both formal and informal mentoring for teaching that plays a role in developing strong teaching and learning communities and cultures.


Megan Burnett

Associate Director, CTSI, University of Toronto
Megan Burnett is the Associate Director of the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) at the University of Toronto. In addition to working as an educational developer, Megan is the financial officer and HR manager for the unit. She oversees staffing, programming and initiatives... Read More →

Cora McCloy

University of Toronto, Canada
Cora McCloy is a Research Officer & Faculty Liaison (staff) for the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation at the University of Toronto. She supports faculty in all teaching-related matters and conducts research on teaching and learning topics.
avatar for Carol Rolheiser

Carol Rolheiser

Director, University of Toronto Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation
Carol Rolheiser is the Director of the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto, and Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, and former Associate Dean, Teacher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT
UCC 63