Teaching Excellence Framework

Teaching Excellence Framework

Instructors at Lethbridge College are adaptive and respectful, work collaboratively with their colleagues, and take an active role in the greater LC community. And, perhaps most importantly, LC instructors are passionate about what they do and seek opportunities for further innovation and professional growth. The Instructor Role Description (2019) sets out the following four professional commitments at Lethbridge College:  

  1. Instructional Responsibilities
  2. Institutional/Discipline Service 
  3. Professional Development  
  4. Applied Research 

These responsibilities are reflected in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), with a focus on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes used in teaching at the college. The TEF affirms the influential impact instructors have on student success and on college improvement through their multifaceted roles as instructors, subject matter experts, advocates, collaborators, leaders, and mentors. 

Teaching Excellence Framework image. Multicoloured circle.

What is the TEF?

Lethbridge College demonstrates an ongoing commitment to advancing excellence in teaching and learning. The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is an important resource developed through collaboration with Lethbridge College instructors. The TEF supports instructors as they seek out opportunities to engage in continuous professional development and lifelong learning to improve their teaching practice and benefit student learning.

The Purpose

The purpose of the TEF is to: 

  • identify the foundational body of knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of instructors at Lethbridge College as they grow and develop in their teaching careers; 
  • aid instructors in determining and prioritizing areas of development to support their professional growth; 
  • increase awareness of internal professional development opportunities and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes participants can expect to develop in alignment with the TEF; 
  • encourage and support reflection on instructor teaching practice; and 
  • clarify and affirm instructors’ influence on student learning. 

Dimensions

Six dimensions make up the heart of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Think of the dimensions as the “big ideas” that shape the types of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that instructors at Lethbridge College are encouraged to develop. 

Each dimension contains focus areas that help point instructors to the knowledge, skills and attitudes deemed necessary to support their teaching practice. 

Click on each dimension for more information and indicators of effective practice.  

Learning Environment

This dimension describes how instructors foster a supportive, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for all learners.

Instructional Skills

This dimension describes how instructors plan, develop, reflect on, and revise a variety of teaching methods to facilitate learning for all students.

Course & Curriculum Design

This dimension describes how instructors design, revise, and keep courses up to date given the larger frames of program curriculum and the needs of diverse learners.

Assessment

This dimension describes how instructors assess and evaluate student learning while considering institutional policies and procedures.

Subject-Matter Expertise

This dimension describes how instructors remain current within their respective fields, professions, and/or industries and how they share their expertise for the benefit of student learning, college improvement, and applied research initiatives. 

Scholarly Teaching & Scholarship

This dimension describes how instructors engage in the practice of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) to reflect on their teaching practice, teaching philosophy, and research interests for the benefit of student learning. 

How to use the TEF

The Teaching Excellence Framework recognizes that instructors are best positioned to prioritize their own learning needs based on their awareness of the unique and varied contexts in which they teachInstructors planning their professional development are encouraged to use the TEF as a source of inspiration to identify potential areas of future growth and to reflect on existing areas of strength that could be further developed. 

Sample indicators of effective practice within each TEF focus area illustrate how instructors might apply the focus area in their own teaching contexts. Sample indicators help instructors to pinpoint the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they already possess and those they would like to further develop. 

Sample indicators are organized into three levels: Involved, Engaged, and Leading. Levels are not dependent on the length of time instructors have been teaching; Lethbridge College instructors begin their teaching careers with varied professional and academic backgrounds. Instead, as instructors move from Involved to Engaged to Leading levels, the complexity of demonstrated skills and tasks increases. 

As the TEF project continues, future tools will include methods for instructors to map themselves onto the TEF framework and connections between the TEF and the Lethbridge College professional development handbook and planning process. 

Click on each dimension, above, for more information and indicators of effective practice. 

Intended impact

The short-term goal of the TEF is to support reflective teaching practice among instructors and to improve the efficiency of the PD planning process. 

In the mid-term, the TEF framework will enable the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI) to offer more targeted professional development offerings—in alignment with the dimensions and focus areas identified in the TEF. 

The intended long-term impact of the TEF is to advance instructors’ knowledge and skill as educators to provide an all-around better learning experience for both instructors and students. 

How was the TEF Developed?

With support from college leadership, the TEF was developed by the Teaching Excellence Working Group, comprising faculty from each academic centre and the Educational Development Team, located in the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI). In addition to the working group, a variety of other stakeholders were consulted including Human Resources, Student Affairs departments, and the Lethbridge College Faculty Association. 

Milestones in the engagement process included: 

  • a presentation at a Lethbridge College Town Hall meeting in February 2020 to update all staff and faculty on the project purpose and goals and offer an opportunity for written feedback. 
  • four information sessions to update instructors on the project purpose and to seek focus-area feedback on the dimensions, areas of focus, and the visual representation of the framework. 

Thank you to Gillian Comchi, Julie Deimert, Jim Laing, Ronald Papp, Shane Roersma, and Ibrahim Turay for their engagement as part of the Teaching Excellence Working Team. 

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