Tag Archives: professional growth

A teaching-focussed career in higher education (non tenure-track)

When I am interacting with people who are not familiar with post-secondary environments and they learn that I work at a university, they generally assume I am a faculty member and that teaching is my main responsibility.

I am not a faculty member and have never aspired to have a tenure track faculty position, even when I undertook a PhD. Yet, the focus of my work is teaching and learning.

This spring, because of my professional path as an educational developer, I was invited to be a panelist at two different conference sessions. Both were designed for a graduate student audience. In this post, I’ve captured some of what I shared.

Graduate Students in Teaching Mini Conference 2019

Grad student mini conference panel

The purpose of this session was to highlight different types of teaching-focussed careers in academia. Bits and pieces I shared:

  • If you are attracted to a career the involves teaching, seek out opportunities to teach!
  • Think broadly about teaching. Explore and consider what type of teaching brings you enjoyment. Categories may include: adults, children, classroom, formal, group, one-on-one, facilitative, content-expert, training, planning…
  • Inform people that you want to do more teaching. If volunteering or doing guest lectures are options for you, let people know. Unless you do so, organizers may feel shy to invite you when they know they don’t have a budget to compensate you.
  • Share which topics/areas you’re interested in teaching. If you are teaching people who are not topic specialists, make sure you can speak on the topic in a way that is relatable to others.
  • Get over the belief that teaching is reserved for those with a faculty appointment! Teaching is part of so many roles and positions.

Note: The mini-conference was organized by my colleagues Drs. Shaya Golparian and Joseph Topornycky at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of British Columbia. Thank you for inviting me to be part of this session! Co-panelists were Drs. Rowshan Rahmanian, Lacey Samuels and David Oliver. Conference link. 


Life after your PhD: Jobs beyond the academy

The purpose of this session was to hear the career narratives of four people who had graduated with PhDs in Education and whose primary role was not a tenure-track faculty member. Bits and pieces I shared:

  • Within the academy, there exists a strongly held belief that landing a faculty position is the (most) desirable outcome. Even if, intellectually, one doesn’t buy into that belief, I think it still affects the self-perception of those of us who intentionally choose not to pursue traditional faculty roles.
  • Take full advantage of any institutional career support you have for your career growth.
  • When seeking employment, reach out to your network.
  • LinkedIn has many features that allow you to grow your network, share your expertise, and develop your brand. Learn how to use it in a way that feels good to you (and be willing to stretch and/or try things out).
  • If you are lucky enough to have a supervisor who is willing to mentor you, gladly accept and enjoy this partnership in whatever ways are possible (co-publications, conferences, introductions, committees…)

Photo above: Isabeau with co-panelists Ernesto Pena and Lucia Terra (also Shaya Golparian, not in picture).

This session was organized by Dr. Christine Kampen Robinson (below) who served as LLRC 2nd VP along with Casey Burkholder under the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies (which is part of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education). Thank you for inviting me to be part of this session!

Christine Kampen Robinson organizer and Isabeau

Instructional Skills Workshop

Professional Growth: Instructional Skills Workshops + Narrative Skills Workshops

Workshop participation

Workshop participation

I have been an Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) facilitator since 2004.

As part of my involvement with the ISW network, I have participated in various ISW-specific professional development activities. These include:

  • Flexible ISW ProD session (January 13, 2015. 2 hours).
  • ISW Institute and 35 Year Celebration (September 26-28, 2014)
  • Narrative Skills Workshop (July 10, 2013) Glynis Boultbee. See here for a summary document of the NSW by Glynis.
  • ISW Joint Professional Development Day (October 22, 2012; December 3, 2008; February 25, 2008; May 17, 2007; December 6, 2006; December, 2005; May 18, 2005)
  • Workplace Fairy Tales: An exploration (May 2, 2007) Glynis Boultbee
  • ISW Fall Institute (Bowen Island, November 24-25, 2006)
  • Bowen Island Retreat for new facilitators (Fall, 2005)
  • Facilitator Development Workshop (5 days, June 2004)
  • Instructional Skills Workshop (3 days, April, 2004)


Creative Commons Licensed Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ideaconstructor/9293826708/

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Professional Growth: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
What is the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning. And What's Happening at BrockU? [visual notes]

Depending on how one defines SoTL, I may or may not be actively participating in this initiative. Yes, I have been involved with “systematic study of teaching and/or learning and the public sharing and review of such work through presentations, performance, or publications” (McKinney, 2006, p. 39) and, yes, my work, which focuses on enhancing teaching and learning, involves research, reflection, and dissemination (see here for further definitions). However, I do not belong to formal SoTL networks.

My involvement with SoTL programs has included:

  • CHES Cross-Professionals Collaborations in Health Education Scholarship Initiative. This full-day event was designed to promote discussion between individuals, with any role in health professions education at UBC, who want to apply a scholarly lens to considering an educational issue of importance across the health disciplines. November 14, 2014.
  • SoTL Journal Club (CTLT). In 2013-2014, I attended when possible. I facilitated a session based on an article titled “Practising what we preach: Towards a student-centred definition of feedback” on February 11, 2014.
  • Centre for Health Education Scholarship Celebration of Scholarship Day. October 17, 2013. Vancouver, BC. (I was invited [and accepted] to lead a round-table discussion on “Tips for conducting good semi-structured interviews.)
  • Centre for Health Education Scholarship Celebration of Scholarship Day. October 2, 2012. Vancouver, BC.
  • Surviving and Succeeding as an Early Career Faculty Member: Findings From an International Study. Presentation by Kathryn Sutherland, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand (2010. UBC ISoTL).
  • How Does one Change a University? Presentation by Torgny Roxa, University of Lund, Sweden. (November 18, 2008. UBC ISoTL)
  • Learning with the Literature. Session with Margot Parkes, Post-Doctoral Fellow with the UBC Department of Health Care and Epidemiology (October 24, 2007, UBC ISoTL)
  • Engaging Students Outside of Class as a Tool for Enhanced Learning. Presentation by Dan Bernstein, University of Kansas (November 22, 2006. UBC ISoTL)
  • The Plight of First-Year Students: “Causes and Consequences”. Presentation by Ray Perry, University of Manitoba (October 3, 2006. UBC ISoTL)
  • Linking Discipline-based Research and Teaching to Benefit Student Learning. Presentation by Mick Healey, University of Gloucestershire, UK (May 8, 2006. UBC ISoTL)
  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Academic Careers. Presentation by Mary Taylor Huber, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Friday, March 10, 2006. UBC ISoTL)

Photo by y giulia.forsythe* https://flic.kr/p/e4roar

McKinney, K. (2006). Attitudinal and structural factors contributing to challenges in the work of the scholarship of teaching and learning. New Directions for Institutional Research, 129 (Summer), 37-50.














*Creative Commons Licensed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/8571539827/


Professional Growth: Facilitation

As an educational developer, I use facilitation in various ways: I regularly use facilitative teaching in workshops, and also engage in process design and facilitation when I consult with instructors and when I work with my colleagues on teaching and learning initiatives for the UBC community.

I am especially attracted to creative facilitation approaches, such as those that use storytelling, music, and movement. I am often keen to try out new things as long as the purpose for using them is clear — and then to be more courageous about this when co-facilitating.

In order to grow as a facilitator, I participate in ongoing professional development. Some of the workshops I have participated in are below*:

Facilitation and Process Consulting Workshops

  • The Covid pandemic prompted me to grow my skills in online facilitation. I have done so in various ways, including by participating in the Vancouver LS User Group sessions and those offered by the Virtual Facilitation group.
  • Effective Group Facilitation. This course offered a comprehensive framework for group facilitation with many opportunities to practice. To read a blog post I wrote about the course, see here. To read my daily notes, see:  Day 1 notes. Day 2 notes. Day 3 notes. (Facilitator: Julian Griggs. February 22-24, 2017; Offered by SFU Continuing Studies).
  • Facilitating Effective Meetings. As a follow up to this session, I wrote two blog posts: one on using Desired Meeting Results and the other on Ground Rules. Facilitator: Charles Holmes, CE Holmes Consulting (May 2016, offered by UBC AAPS).
  • Design Tips for Virtual Facilitators. This 1-hour webinar demonstrated and engaged the learners in a number of engagement strategies I had never experienced online. Facilitator: Cynthia Clay, Netspeed Learning Solutions. (March 31, 2016)
  • Liberating Structures Immersion Workshop. A workshop that explored approaches and techniques to facilitated group processes. Facilitators (various). (February 17-19, 2016). See here for blog post post-session.
  • Leadership Team Coaching to Develop Capacity. Facilitators: David Rubeli and Barbara Berry. (STLHE Conference Session, 2015).
  • An Integrated Approach to Educational Development. Facilitators: Jessica Earle-Meadows, Janet Dhanani and Erin Yun. This session explored the use of process consultation approaches in educational development (January 2015).
  • Inclusive Leadership. In this session, participants built a shared understanding of leadership and identified expectations and values around what it means to be a leader. Facilitated: PeerNet BC (November 13, 2014).
  • Conflict Theatre Summer Series. This series allowed participants to explore how to use Conflict Theatre to work with/through conflict in the workplace. This session was based on the work of David Diamond and Theatre for the Living. Facilitated and organized by: Julia McLaughlin and UBC HR. (Summer 2014, 8 weeks)
  • Introduction to Process Design and Facilitation. (Part 1: February 5, 2014; Part 2: March 5, 2014) Facilitators: Joseph Topornycky and Jessica Earle-Meadows. Workshop notes and reflections
  • Advanced Facilitation Skills. Facilitation skills for senior educational developers. (October 28-30, 2013. Educational Developers Caucus Institute, UBC). Facilitator: Ruth Rodgers
  • GroupWorks: Using the Group Works deck to facilitate (June 29, 2013). Facilitators: Various
  • Process Consulting: Designing the Activities and Facilitating the Process (June 25, 2013). Facilitator: Janice Johnson
  • Facilitation and Facilitators: We Focus on the Journey, Rather than the Destination! (November 8, 2012). Facilitator: Janice Johnson
  • Facilitation Opportunities and Challenges (November 29, 2012). Facilitators: Janice Johnson and Cindy Underhill.

*Unless otherwise noted, the event was offered through the UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.

Instructional Skills Workshops (ISW)

For a list of workshops I have taken through the ISW Networksee here.

Creative commons licensed photo by girlray. http://www.flickr.com/photos/girlray/8908825980/





My career as an educational developer began when I was hired for a 4-month contract to work on a teaching portfolio initiative at the University of British Columbia’s teaching and learning centre. That project started my interest in portfolios. And though that initiative wrapped up a long time ago, my interest in portfolios has remained alive.

Below are some workshops/webinars I have participated in related to portfolios.


    • Academic Branding: Improving Your Visibility, Network, and Career Opportunities. (February 25, 2015. Webinar offered by Academic Coaching and Writing).
    • WordPress training (ongoing since 2009)
    • ePortfolios for Learning and Assessment web conference (Dr. Trent Batson and Dr.Helen Chen, September 28, 2008)
    • Developing and Evaluating Teaching Portfolios web Conference (Dr. Amy Goodburn, October 26, 2007)
    • Opportunities for Reflection and Community-Building Using Emerging Technologies Presentation by Helen Chen, Stanford University; Friday, March 3, 2006; 1.5 hours)
    • Creating Electronic Portfolios using iWebfolio 3.0 (September, 2005)
    • e-Portfolios at UBC (Full-day conference, UBC Robson Square, November, 2004)