From Eileen Herteis (Mt. Allison U, Feb 26 2008; reprinted by permission)


The Faculty Development Committee of the Association of Atlantic Universities comprises [officially] one representative from each teaching centre or quality of teaching committee in the region. I should point out that this is not exclusionary, as many of the centres in our region have only one educational developer on staff. Where there is more than one ED person, members keep their committees or colleagues well in the loop about discussions and developments.

Our membership also includes the campuses of the University of the West Indies. A list of the 17 members is available on the AAU website just scroll down and choose "Faculty Development Committee" from the side menu.

As you'll see, the Atlantic region has some large, well-resourced universities such as Dal, Memorial and UNB; however, we also have some small universities, which as yet have only nascent teaching centres (such as Mount Saint Vincent or Saint Thomas) or no centre at all, just a volunteer committee, such as St. Francis Xavier or the NS Agricultural College.

The Committee does not have a constitution, but our terms of reference are an accurate description of our usual activities. They are also available at:

As you can see from the T of R, the Committee meets face-to-face three times a year to share best practices and common concerns; to learn from each others' experiences (things like adopting Moodle, developing first-year experience plans, evaluating teaching); to share ideas for guest speakers; and to select our annual award winners. We have also started discussions about creating a consortium that will overarch and help bring together some of our individual activities related to SoTL.

Each fall, we have an annual conference (Teaching Showcase) which moves around the region. It is a peer-reviewed conference with published proceedings. This conference is well attended by both educational developers, graduate and even undergraduate students, faculty and librarians, and student services folks, such as counsellors or writing centre staff.

We do all of these things largely independent of our VPs. While each member on the Committee will likely report interesting developments or discussions to their VP, and decisons that VPs make influence individual's day-to-day work, the VPs have no formal role on the Committee; therefore, the Committee as a whole does not find ourselves constrained by the VPs' wishes or agendas.

The AAU itself, our parent organization, is funded through contributions from member institutions. It has a permanent executive staff of three people. The Presidents of the 17 member institutions form the AAU Council, but again they do not have a direct say in the work of the Faculty Development Committee, except insofar as decisions they make on their home campuses might impact the day-to-day activites or priorities of individual educational developers who are committee members. The Committee has a liaison to AAU Council who reports twice or three times a year about our activities. The President of the Committee chair's home university serves as liaison; therefore, for the next three years it is Robert Campbell from Mount A.

So, I'd say that our structure is pretty flexible and that our senior university administrators do not drive our agendas our compromise our autonomy.

Hope this is what you need to know.

Best wishes,