Recognized as one of Canada's most innovative and most research intensive universities, McMaster has a long standing record of excellence in teaching and learning. The "McMaster model", a student-centred, problem-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning has been adopted by universities around the world. As one of the top 100 universities in the world McMaster University is graduating students who will become the leaders of tomorrow. However, we cannot afford to rest on our past success, hoping that the McMaster name alone will propel us into the future. McMaster is not unique among Canadian universities in the challenges it faces including competition for students, for faculty and for the financial resources needed to excel.
It is therefore timely that we re-examine the effectiveness of teaching and learning practices across the university as a whole. We must take stock of our current strengths and weaknesses, identify the 'ideal' teaching and learning environment we would like to develop at McMaster, and devise strategies and directions to help us achieve that ideal.
Our current environment offers many opportunities for such self-examination and growth – we have many new leaders to help direct and implement change including a new Provost, new Deans of Engineering and Graduate Studies, a new VP research, new Teaching Professors, and new directions for our library system. We also face many challenges at McMaster including the enhancement of effective teaching and learning practices during a period of growing student enrollments and severe budget constraints.
The Provost's Task Force on Teaching and Learning (TOTAL) will explore and develop new strategies and approaches to teaching and learning that will enable McMaster to "move beyond it's current position among the more innovative universities in Canada ...(and)... take its place on the world stage as one of the most important centers for the creation of new knowledge"
Submissions from 2008
Initial Observations and Recommendations, Jeffrey Trzeciak and Carolyn Eyles