New name, same service
A highly anticipated change is now a reality for DELTS, as the department is adopting a new name effective May 2, as the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). Memorial’s Vice-Presidents Council approved the change at a meeting in March.
In recent years, the scope of the unit’s work has evolved and expanded to meet demands in support of teaching and learning, and to engage learners and educators both online and on campus. As a result, the inclusion of “distance education” within the unit’s name became out-dated and impacted how the unit was perceived by the university community. The goal is to adopt a new identity – one that is modern and encompasses all services, but is also easily understood by all stakeholders.
“The way people teach and learn, and the tools and technologies we use to facilitate teaching and learning are fluid and change over time. As the primary unit that supports those activities, it is only natural that we, too, must evolve”
“Since joining DELTS in 2012, it became apparent to me that the name presented challenges for the unit’s growth,” said Susan Cleyle, director of the unit now know as CITL. “While it is important to acknowledge and emphasize our history in distance education and providing rural areas of the province with access to Memorial University, it is clear that the distance education vernacular has become out-dated with the evolution of teaching and learning practice and delivery.”
The DELTS name also presented challenges for the unit in positioning its unique collection of services as a whole.
“Many members of the Memorial community know us for one or two services, which results in fragmented perceptions of what we do, as well as the role and value we bring to the institution,” added Ms. Cleyle.
“As the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, our new identity will encompass all of our services, be easily understood by the university community and the higher education industry alike, and be better positioned to carry forward as the primary academic support unit of Memorial’s Teaching and Learning Framework.”
The need to revitalize the unit’s name was not a decision that came quickly. Consultations with staff began in 2014, and members of the department also conducted research on potential names and environmental scans of other similar units in Canadian institutions. As a result of these efforts, not only was it apparent that the unit’s service model is one that other similar units in Canada are trying to mirror, but also that the name of the unit had not evolved along with its services.
“Since our unit began offering credit courses to rural communities in 1969, it has gone through a plethora of name changes due to shifts in services,” said Ms. Cleyle. “It’s the nature of what we do as a department. The way people teach and learn, and the tools and technologies we use to facilitate teaching and learning are fluid and change over time. As the primary unit that supports those activities, it is only natural that we, too, must evolve.”
Despite the change in the name, there is no change to the service and support the department currently provides to the Memorial community. This includes administration and delivery of all online courses and programs, professional development opportunities for educators and instructional and technical services for the learning technologies supported by Memorial online and on campus.
Although the change to CITL is effective today, May 2, staff will be working throughout the next few months to fully integrate the new name into their operations and to ensure the name change is reflected in relevant university documentation and materials. This work includes a new website that will launch this spring to better support the students, faculty and staff it serves.