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Teaching & Learning Resources at Camosun: Development

Your role in educational quality development

As chair, you can play an important role supporting high quality teaching and learning experiences within your department.

Encouraging faculty professional development

There are many ways you can support faculty development. Perhaps you might decide to incorporate professional development opportunities into your department meetings, by bringing in a guest presenter. Or you might hear about research opportunities to share with your faculty.

Faculty may want to develop in the areas of:

  • Organizational contributions: You can share information about college committee work that faculty might be interested in, such as the Research Ethics Board, Education Council, Board of Governors, Faculty Association, etc.
  • Disciplinary expertise: You can encourage the mutual sharing of information within your department about upcoming conferences in your discipline, online resources and journals, and community organizations that may have volunteer opportunities (such as board members, guest speakers, etc.)
  • Teaching skills: As a leader in your department, you can encourage faculty to enhance their teaching skills by participating in some of the opportunities provided through the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), such as:


Supporting departmental alignment with college initiatives

Camosun’s strategic initiatives are enacted on many levels, and as a chair, you have some influence as to how these initiatives come alive in your department. Though strategic goals and initiatives may change from time to time, here are a few that are worth becoming well acquainted with:

Chair and program leader development

Over your time as chair, you will find yourself going through different stages in terms of your own growth and development. Initially, you may be in survival mode, and on a steep learning curve with the basics of the job. Hopefully the resources outlined here will give you a place to start. But as you settle in to the position, you may find you have some space to consider developing additional skills, such as refining your leadership abilities. Later, you may consider how to contribute to mentoring others into a leadership role, and succession planning. When your appointment comes to an end, you might even look at other leadership opportunities, such as associate dean, dean or union service.

Personal professional development plan

It can be helpful to create a professional development plan that includes short term, mid-term and end of term goals. Setting goals will likely be part of the evaluation process you engage in with your dean. The Human Resources Organization & People Development SharePoint site has excellent resources for your ongoing leadership development, such as: information about required courses, mental health training, finance training, conflict management, and change management. They offer a variety of workshops to help develop your leadership skills, and you can sign up to receive a monthly newsletter letting you know about upcoming opportunities. The Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning offers programs such as the Chairs Institute and the Chair Share Community of Practice, and lots of other great resources.

The Circle of Courage is a useful model that has been adapted as a framework in a number of areas across the college (including the New Employee Portal). This model of positive development was first described in Reclaiming Youth at Risk (2012) co-authored by Larry Brendtro, Dr. Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Brocken. The Circle of Courage draws from Native American philosophies of child rearing and resilience research in identifying four universal growth needs: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. These four areas are valuable in reflecting on the elements of any developmental journey.

Questions to ask yourself at each stage:

  • Belonging: What information, resources, and connections do I need to help me feel like I am a part of this group? To feel more comfortable and welcome in my role as a leader?
  • Mastery: How can I gain the skills I need to do my job effectively?
  • Independence: How can I build on my successes, and deepen my understanding?
  • Generosity: How can I share my learning with others, and encourage their growth?


The role of chair can be demanding, and pull you in a number of different directions at once. Throughout your term, remember the importance of looking after yourself. Check out HR’s resources for Health Benefits and Employee Wellness. Managing workload and expectations can be challenging. Remember, that as chair, you are entitled to the same vacation, scheduled development benefits, and workload provisions as other faculty. If you find it harder to fit the time in, consider requesting a deferral, carry over, or assignment of an acting chair.