Graduate Students as Consultants: Implementing Alternative Teaching Approaches through Collaborative Partnerships

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In an educational development intervention at McGill University in Canada, three doctoral students specializing in faculty development offered consultation to newly appointed professors with minimal formal pedagogical training. The larger research project from which this study emanates (University Teaching: Meeting Challenges and Demands funded by The Max Bell Foundation) is currently being conducted at three research-intensive universities in Canada (McGill, Queen’s, Dalhousie) where new faculty are involved in several pedagogical development activities following an intensive 5-day Course Design and Teaching Workshop (CDTW).

During the Winter-2007 academic term, professors delivered the course they designed in the December-2006 CDTW. Three doctoral students, who were also assistants in the CDTW, observed their assigned professors throughout the entire Winter-07 term and provided weekly consultation sessions involving discussion and feedback of classroom observations and related issues. Professors were encouraged to explore the teaching methods outlined in their individual CDTW Course Plan and designed to help their students attain specific learning outcomes. Overall, these weekly observation and consultation sessions were meant to increase professors’ awareness of what they do in their classrooms, help them critically evaluate the impact of their teaching, and consider alternatives once they became aware they did not implement their intended plans.

The authors wish to acknowledge the Max Bell Foundation of Canada for supporting this research.


Keywords: Faculty Development, Consultation for Teaching Development, Higher Education
Stream: Teacher Training and Professional Development
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Graduate Students as Consultants


Elaine Laflamme

McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Doctoral student in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Dr. Alenoush Saroyan

McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Professor of Educational Psychology; Director of the Cognition & Instruction Program in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Ref: L09P0081