Delegates take part in a forum on education at UFV last week.

Delegates take part in a forum on education at UFV last week.

UFV hosts education forum

Event brought together educational leaders and guest speakers

The University of the Fraser Valley hosted an interactive and engaging forum on learning outcomes and assessment last week at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre.

Organized in conjunction with school districts from across the Fraser Valley, the forum brought together educational leaders at the local level, plus guest speakers from as far as Ontario, to examine how learning outcomes are being developed and used in both K-12 and post-secondary in the Fraser Valley and in other provinces.

“We’re looking at what can we do together to highlight ways to further student success,” explains Peter Geller, UFV vice-provost and associate vice-president academic.

“The forum will provide an opportunity to explore how to work better together to enable students to see their own learning as they progress on their educational journey.

“We’re building the people who are building students.”

Titled “Forum on Learning Outcomes and Assessment in the Fraser Valley: Developments and Intersections between K-12 and Post-Secondary Education,” the event’s concept was created during a meeting between UFV provost Eric Davis, vice-president students Jody Gordon and local school superintendents.

Abbotsford School District superintendent Kevin Godden is embracing the opportunity to lead by example.

“At a time when our society is calling for talented and creative leaders, we must ensure that our K-12 and post secondary systems align our efforts to providing students with the skills and competencies they will need to thrive in the world,” he says.

“Abbotsford School District and the University of the Fraser Valley can be provincial and national leaders in this endeavour.”

Seating was assigned to ensure a balance of professional strengths at every table, with time scheduled for hands-on discussion and development following the delivery of key principles and ideas.

“The big picture for us will start with defining learning outcomes: the knowledge, skills, and abilities a student can demonstrate as a result of completing a series of learning opportunities,” says Geller.

The all-day event included presentations from Tracy Penny Light (executive director, Centre for Student Engagement and Learning Innovation, Thompson Rivers University); Fiona Deller (executive director, policy and partnerships at Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario); Jan Unwin (B.C. superintendent of graduation and student transitions); Larry Espe (B.C. superintendent of careers and transitions); and Maureen Wideman, UFV’s Director of Teaching & Learning.

UFV students also presented on their experiences with the university’s relatively new Co-Curricular Record, which recognizes students’ experiential learning and on-campus contributions outside of the classroom.

“The goal is to have a shared dialogue that expands seamless transition beyond K-12,” says Geller, who notes the event creates an excellent opportunity for networking.

“I hope a principal might connect with one of our faculty members, and forge relationships to aid student success for years to come.”

The forum’s end goal was to identify tangible actions to be put in motion at every level of education.

“You need a group of people to carry this forward, and we hope those people are going to be here.”

Participating school districts include Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Fraser-Cascade, Langley, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, and Mission.

“By allowing UFV to better understand where Fraser Valley schools are in terms of graduation requirements, ideally we can better match and map Grade 12 graduates competencies with UFV requirements; students can then better see how their learning progresses and maps to UFV’s program learning outcomes and Institutional Learning Outcomes.”

UFV’s ILOs are designed so all graduates will be able to:

-demonstrate information competency

-analyze critically and imaginatively

-use knowledge and skills proficiently

-initiate inquiries and develop solutions to problems

-communicate effectively

-pursue self-motivated and self-reflective learning

-engage in collaborative leadership

-engage in respectful and professional practices

-contribute regionally and globally

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