1.0 Teaching and learning

Enhance the transformative power of teaching and learning

Enhancing the transformative power of teaching and learning requires a focus on attracting, supporting and retaining local and international students, and attracting, supporting and retaining academics who are teaching and research innovators and leaders.

1.1 Increase retention and degree completion


EXECUTIVE SPONSOR:
Provost & VP Academic

PROJECT LEAD: 
Pemberton Cyrus, Associate Vice-President (Acting) and Senior Advisor on Retention & Director of Student Academic Success, Student Affairs (Heather Doyle)

STATUS
(June 2019): 

  • Due to exceptional work in academic advising, Dalhousie one of 15 worldwide institutions invited to attend “Unleashing Greatness” Retreat at Florida Atlantic University
  • On Track programs, 2018/2019 compared to 2017/2018: Demonstrated improvement in Back on Track participants’ persistence, with Back on Track students retained at 85% (compared to 69% for nonparticipants, and up from 81% in 2017/2018) and 75.8% receiving better marks in Winter term compared to Fall; 7.4% increase in students registered for Back on Track; 9% increase in students registered for Stay on Track; 51% increase in student advising appointments completed on average as part of Stay on Track; Start on Track (online) had 918 unique student completions, up 44%, with 29% of incoming students completing modules and total of 4,488 modules completed (up 71%) and average of 4.9 modules completed per student; Career on Track piloted with FASS, Science and Computer Science, focusing on career development, with 67 students registered and 81.8% participation rate
  • In January 2019 alone, Bissett Student Success Centre (BSSC) advisors had meaningful contact with 1,071 unique students; 3,295 unique students in total for 2018/2019 (up until February 28, 2019), a 41% increase from 2017/2018; 61.9% increase in advising appointments in BSSC compared to 2017/2018; as of February 2019, over 54% of first-year FASS and Science students have been seen for advising in the Centre
  • Advising professional development: 2019 advising symposium held in February on incorporating Appreciative Advising and social justice into advising practice; filled to capacity with a waitlist
  • Early assessment: Pilot in Engineering showed early assessment results were strongly predictive of end of semester results; Dal Analytics working to determine if this correlation holds true in other participating faculties
  • Currently consulting academic deans through Associate Deans’ Academic Council on transitioning academic dismissal to conditional continuance; once feedback incorporated, will be presented to Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
  • Pedagogical best practices: 25 Active Learning Grants awarded, with all faculties represented
  • English as Another Language (EAL) supports and interventions:  Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA) pilot launched in Engineering in Fall 2018;  215 students participated; early analysis shows DELNA scores predictive of students’ end of semester grades, with strong correlation between reading speed and overall Fall term performance; DELNA offered in Winter semester to students in Agriculture and Computer Science; Dal Analytics performing deeper analysis of results
  • Retention-targeted financial aid: $2.5M raised for residence bursaries; infusion of additional funds to Student Assistance Program for areas with identifiable shortfalls; as of February 2019,almost $111k in On Track micro-bursaries awarded to 228 students, with most common reasons for application cited as living expenses and academic tools and resources
  • First- to second-year retention is 84% in 2018/2019, up from 83.4% in 2017/2018
  • First- to third-year retention increased to 75.2% in 2018/2019, up from 73.9% in 2017/2018
  • International student retention is 84%, up from 83.4% last year

Read more about priority 1.1

INFLUENCED BY: 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 3.2, 3.3, 4.2, 5.6
INFLUENCING
: 1.3, 1.4, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5

DESCRIPTION

Dalhousie's percentage of students who successfully move from first to second year lags the U15. Retention rates for international students pose specific concerns. There is a need to better understand the academic and non‐academic factors which influence retention and degree completion of students in Dalhousie's direct‐entry programs.

The multi‐faceted strategy will ensure the effective development of a "culture of retention" across Dalhousie's campuses. The strategy will focus on effective analysis and proactive student success strategies; enrolment approaches from a retention and completion perspective; and continuous development, implementation and evaluation of all institution‐wide and faculty‐based student support practices.

SPECIFIC GOALS

  1. Improve student success year over year, with a focus on those students, identified by analysis, as being the most likely to be aided by defined strategies and organizational cultures. One measure of success would be increased retention and increased degree completion.
  2. Increase first year student retention rates for both Canadian students and international students above the U15 averages by 2018.
  3. Increase the completion time rates for 6 years or 7 years, as appropriate by program, to above the U15 average by 2018.

 


1.2 Focus on strategic student recruitment based on discipline, level and diversity


EXECUTIVE SPONSOR
: Provost & VP Academic

PROJECT LEAD:
Vice-Provost Student Affairs (Ivan Joseph)

STATUS
(June 2019):

  • Student Success Strategy framework established to develop and renew institutional plans to optimize recruitment, retention and graduation of highly capable and diverse learners, including historically underrepresented students
  • Record attendance across recruitment events, both general (open houses) and targeted (for instance specialized events for Indigenous and African Nova Scotian students and Faculty Preview Days)
  • Integrated Marketing Team assembled to formalize efforts to increase alignment and effectiveness of academic planning, student recruitment and communications and marketing, with major projects to date including qualitative path to enrolment research and a web optimization review
  • First successful electronic transfer of grades from Nova Scotia high schools took place in February, streamlining the application process for local students and reducing processing loads for the Registrar’s Office; success of this initiative will have application for electronic delivery and receipt of post-secondary transcripts and other types of academic credentials, and supports the interests of the Groningen Declaration global agreement to increase student mobility
  • Process map developed to support the Indigenous Student Access Pathway (ISAP) offered on the Agricultural Campus
  • Agreed-upon “Definition of a Student” passed at Senate in the spirit of increasing affinity, access and support to those not formerly recognized as students on campus (e.g. English Language Upgrading)
  • Scholarships and bursaries for undergraduate students (including the NS Bursary Program) was $26.9M in 2018/2019 compared to $24.7M in 2017/2018
  • Enrolment increased to record 19,148, a 1.6% increase over 2017/2018
  • Enrolment of international students increased to 21.9% of student body in 2018/2019, up from 20.4% in 2017/2018

Read more about priority 1.2

INFLUENCED BY: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5
INFLUENCING
: 1.1, 3.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.2

DESCRIPTION

Dalhousie has seen considerable enrolment success over the past decade as a result of strong strategic enrolment management planning. The university has invested thoughtfully in domestic and international student recruitment, aiming to achieve optimal enrolment across all academic programs, seek diversity in the student population, and promote Dalhousie as a world-class university.

Dalhousie’s significant strategic enrolment management efforts have yielded an enrolment growth of over 24% from 2002 to 2012, giving Dalhousie the highest enrolment of any university in Atlantic Canada. The university’s recruitment approach has been based on and informed by institutional data, market research and evaluation, and best practices. Efforts have been coordinated across the institution with strong support from faculties and Communications and Marketing. Growth has varied by faculty; while enrolment in some programs has grown quickly, there continues to be unfilled capacity in others. The university’s ability to grow enrolment in some high demand programs, such as Nursing, is limited by government capacity regulation.

The geographic origin of students who choose Dalhousie each year is unique among Canadian universities and is a direct result of where we have invested our recruitment and marketing efforts. Over 50% of Dalhousie students come from outside of Nova Scotia, giving the university the highest proportion of out-of-province students of any major university in the country. Atlantic Canada’s major demographic for university enrolment (18-25 year olds) is in decline and projected to continue to decline over the next two decades.

SPECIFIC GOALS

Our goal is to deliver an exceptional Dalhousie student experience.

  1. Develop a smart growth plan/enrolment strategy by spring 2015 to guide Dalhousie’s recruitment planning to 2018. The strategy will include program-level enrolment targets developed in consultation with faculties and schools with an aim to maintain market share in Atlantic Canada, as well as outside the region and internationally, while also identifying opportunities for future growth.

Download the charter [PDF-141kB]

 


1.3 Strengthen student experience, leadership development and additional support for our locally diverse and international students


EXECUTIVE SPONSOR
: Provost & VP Academic

PROJECT LEAD
: Vice-Provost, Student Affairs (Ivan Joseph)

STATUS
(June 2019):

  • Targets for student access to primary and mental health support remain positive in Fall term, with goal of <1-day access to interprofessional primary and mental health support achieved 100% of the time and target of < 36 students on the waitlist for ongoing psychological therapy met on average with 27.8 students (high of 57/low of 15)
  • Launched Behavioral Intervention Team to complement Student Crisis Team and enhance care for students with complex needs
  • Partnered with the Atlantic Association of Universities and the province of Nova Scotia to launch e-mental health support for students, including Good2Talk and TAO (Therapist Assisted Online) support
  • Campus consultation on Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy carried out in Winter 2019, program slated to launch in July 2019; increased targeted programming for students through Dal After Dark and the Keep it Social campaign with a focus in residence in partnership with Residence and Student Life
  • In partnership with Mental Health Commission of Canada and CSA, participated on national technical committee developing new Standard for Psychological Health and Safety for Post-secondary Students; campus consultations Winter 2019; anticipated launch 2020
  • Ask a Chaplain program launched offering students opportunity to ask team of chaplains in Multifaith Services questions about faith and spirituality
  • Multifaith Services’ Monday Night Meal program continued at maximum capacity; an opportunity for students to connect with each other and the chaplains and enjoy a delicious free meal at the International Centre
  • Student Impact awards in 23 award categories recognized 31 students and 8 student groups

Read more about priority 1.3

INFLUENCED BY: 1.1, 1.5, 3.1, 3.2
INFLUENCING
: 1.1, 1.5, 3.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 5.2

DESCRIPTION

Fulfilling our mission of teaching and learning requires supporting our students' academic success and providing them with a compelling out‐of‐classroom experience. At Dalhousie, this includes academic support services such as advising, counselling and The Writing Centre, and non‐academic services such as residences, athletics and recreation, Health Services and the International Centre. Feedback from the 100 Days consultations and other data point to several opportunities and gaps including: scholarships and financial support; support for international students, graduate students, rural students, and mature students; writing support; athletics and recreation opportunities; and employment skills development. As we evaluate the next set of investments and initiatives in these areas, we should focus on those that will have the greatest impact on student success. Other considerations should include the impact on NSSE scores and on our overall enrolment.

SPECIFIC GOALS

Our goal is to deliver an exceptional Dalhousie student experience.

  1. Conduct a review of Student Services that considers and makes recommendations on how the unit can best be organized, particularly in light of the new Provost model, to deliver an exceptional student experience that meets the needs of our diverse student body.
  2. Develop a strategic action plan for Student Services that targets the student populations that our analyses show are most at risk of not completing, recognizes the diversity of our students, values their well‐being and ensures alignment with the academic mission of the university.

Download the charter [PDF-135kB]

 


1.4 Embark on strategic program reviews to enhance the effectiveness and student focus of our program offerings


EXECUTIVE SPONSOR
: Provost & VP Academic

PROJECT LEAD
: Associate Vice-President Academic (Pemberton Cyrus (Acting))

STATUS
(June 2019):

  • Senate policy on Faculty Reviews of Academic Programs passed on December 10, 2018
  • 6 programs accredited in 2018 including Bachelor of Science Nursing (Halifax and Yarmouth sites), Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Administration (Management)
  • 5 programs have undergone accreditation review and are pending results: Post-Graduate Medical Education (PGME); all programs in the Rowe School of Business (BMgt, BComm, MBA Corporate Residency, MBA Financial Services/Leadership)
  • Internal program reviews completed in 2018/2019: 4 Undergraduate, 5 Master’s, 4 PhD, 2 Professional

Read more about priority 1.4

INFLUENCED BY: 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 2.4, 5.3
INFLUENCING
: 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 3.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 5.3

DESCRIPTION

Dalhousie has more undergraduate programs per student than other U15 members. This diversity can be a strength, but it is a potential weakness if we distribute scarce resources over too many programs. Although other universities have chosen a process of centralized program review, Dalhousie has selected Faculty-based program reviews in the context of academic program planning, aligning with relevant Senate policies, and with some central coordination to develop and support overall principles and practices and to monitor and learn from similar efforts at other universities.

A systematic process is required to ensure Dalhousie maintains relevance and academic vibrancy.

SPECIFIC GOALS

  1. Establish core principles, framework and criteria for Faculty Academic Program Plans in 2015. Using these core principles, etc., Faculties develop individual Academic Program Plans.
  2. Engage in Faculty-led strategic reviews of their program portfolios, through implementation of the Academic Program Plans (including their frameworks for review), with all Faculties completing their review by December 2018.
  3. Ensure that cyclical program reviews are aligned (yet non-concurrent) with all cyclical Senate Reviews of Faculties by 2018.
  4. Develop a suite of recommended core elements in direct-entry undergraduate programs. Examples might include experiential learning, research / inquiry-based learning, work integrated learning.

Download the charter [PDF-151kB]

 


1.5 Foster and support innovation in program development and excellence in teaching and pedagogy


EXECUTIVE SPONSOR
: Provost & VP Academic

PROJECT LEAD
: Associate Vice-President Academic (Pemberton Cyrus (Acting))

STATUS
(June 2019):

Program Development:

  • Completion of review and Senate approval of modifications to the Dalhousie Certificates Framework, aimed to foster different levels of education and ensure nimbleness and flexibility, while ensuring institutional consistency and standards
  • Work integrated learning: 9 awards for undergraduate research in the Arts and Social Sciences awarded in 2018/2019
  • FASS/EX developed to provide Arts and Social Sciences students with information about experiential components of their degrees

New Programs:

  • New programs approved: MSc in Business; Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Minor in Equine Studies
  • New programs in development: Master of Business Administration (new combined MBA program); Master of Digital Innovation; MSc in Occupational Science; PhD in Resource, Environment and Sustainability
  • New certificate programs approved: Certificate in Biomedical Engineering; Certificates in Nursing (Acute and Critical Care; Mental Health; Oncology; Public Health), Certificates in Management (Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Leading People and Organizations; Managing Data and Information; Marketing Management; Public Sector Management; Interdisciplinary Management)

Teaching and Pedagogy:

  • Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grants: 15 projects, totaling almost $43k
  • Standardization of TopHat classroom response system; used by 4,548 students in 79 courses in Fall 2018 and 4,432 students in 61 courses in Winter 2019
  • Lecture Capture now available in 24 classrooms (up from 18) and used in 55 classes (up from 42), with a total enrolment of 9,432 (up from 8,832)
  • Hired new Manager, Educational Technology and Design (ATS, Libraries)
  • Hired Curriculum Developer for Graduate Professional Skills (FGS, supported by CLT)
  • E-learning Strategy created
  • Held Building Belonging Forum Gatherings following each forum to discuss teaching and learning aspects of the forum
  • Curriculum renewals:  Computer Science, Pharmacy, Social Work
  • Survey on active learning in September 2018 showed that most professors use some type of active learning technique, but the more difficult techniques are not in wide use
  • Hosted 23rd annual Conference on University Teaching and Learning (DCUTL) (May 2019), with the theme “Diving Deep: Engaging Students Through Active Learning"
  • Active Learning Workshop Series held in Winter term
  • Sessional and part-time orientation held twice a year
  • Hosted Association of Atlantic Universities Conference at Truro Campus with the theme “Engaging Learners through Experiential and High-Impact Practices"
  • Faculty Certificate in Teaching and Learning (started January 2018) now has 98 registered participants with 2 faculty about to complete the program; 8 studio courses offered as part of the certificate
  • Certificate in University Teaching and Learning for graduate students graduated 13 this year
  • Teaching Assistant Enrichment Program had 16 graduates
  • 3M National Teaching Fellowship: Dr. Anne-Marie Ryan (Earth Sciences)
  • Dalhousie Teaching award recipients: Dalhousie Alumni Association Award of Excellence for Teaching, Matthew Schnurr; Award for Excellence in Education for Diversity, Suzanne Zinck; Dalhousie University Early Career Faculty Award of Excellence for Teaching, Scott Comber; Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, Susan Howlett;  Contract and Limited-Term Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Roderick (Rory) Chisholm; Sessional and Part-Time Instructor Award for Excellence in Teaching, Mark Wall and Samantha Cukier; President’s Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, Asmita Sodhi, Michael Beh and Landon Getz
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants: 4 grant recipients; Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grants: 15 recipients; Change One Thing Challenge: 1 recipient
  • K. Lynn Educational Conference Presentation Travel Grant (new travel grant for faculty presenting on their teaching at conferences): 1 recipient
  • Active Learning Grants: 25 recipients totaling $39k

Read more about priority 1.5

INFLUENCED BY: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.4, 5.3, 5.6
INFLUENCING
: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 5.6, 5.7

DESCRIPTION

Maintaining our relevance and academic vibrancy requires that we continue to innovate in teaching, including new pedagogy, and develop further interdisciplinary programs and e‐learning opportunities. The current Academic Innovation Initiative has undertaken this work and we need to continue it, to better share practices across the institution and to determine the next set of new investments in academic programs. We also need to respond to the technological changes that many believe will transform higher education, developing a clearer strategy and approach to e‐learning that sifts through the hype and brings together best practices from inside and outside Dalhousie.

A university's success is directly tied to high quality and relevant differentiation in programs and tied to pedagogical excellence.

SPECIFIC GOALS

  1. Develop an institutional academic program plan, stemming from Faculties’ approved program plans.
  2. Adopt a Dalhousie Learning Charter for students and professors (expectations and evaluation methods) for each Faculty.
  3. Provide career‐long learning opportunities for pedagogical development through CLT available to all faculty.
  4. Develop and adopt teaching and learning initiatives that support student success.

Download the charter [PDF-136kB]