Get to Know CTL's Interim Executive Director!

21 November 2023

Welcome to our special feature where we dive into a friendly chat with Dr. Deanna Davis, the newly appointed interim Executive Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Let's get to know her better!

Dr. Davis, congratulations on your new role! Can you share a bit about your journey before joining CTL?

Thank you! I'm thrilled to be here. Before CTL, I worked in Organizational Development at HRHSE, leading programming that recently won an international award for learning excellence. I've also been heavily involved in graduate education at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS; formerly FGSR), where I led significant initiatives and award winning programming, including the implementation of Canada’s first professional development requirement for graduate students.

What are some of your notable achievements during your tenure at GPS?

At GPS, I led the redesign of the Ethics and Academic Citizenship Requirement, which was not only a pioneering effort to integrate Indigenous content, but also offered differentiated learning for masters and doctoral students. I also oversaw the redevelopment of the Graduate Teaching and Learning Program, enhancing its structure and learning curriculum to support a range of teaching and learning activities for graduate students who serve as a primary point of teaching contact for undergraduate students on our campus.

With such a rich teaching background, what insights do you bring to CTL?

With nearly 20 years of classroom experience across different levels, including in the Department of Music, I've gathered a diverse perspective on pedagogy and course design. I'm passionate about Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research and have been involved in developing and facilitating diverse learning programs for faculty and staff.

Can you tell us about your involvement in university committees and any awards you've received?

Certainly! I've served on various committees focusing on teaching and learning, including the EDI review of teaching awards and the PhD learning outcomes committee. I'm also honored to have received numerous academic awards, including the 2023 APO Recognition Award for my contributions to the university.

What unique skills do you bring to your role at CTL?

I believe my certifications in EQi 2.0/360, Serious Lego Play, and coaching, coupled with my diverse experience, equip me well for this role. I’ve led development and implementation of several campus-wide initiatives that have distinguished the U of A in the post-secondary sector and have supported U of A’s teaching and learning culture. I’ve also been referred to as a “convenor” of people in the work I do, and I'm looking forward to this continued collaborative approach that supports innovative, practical and transformational approaches to teaching and learning at the U of A.

How do you spend your time when you are not leading teaching and learning initiatives?

I sing in the award winning chamber choir, Chronos Vocal Ensemble, spend time at my cottage in northern Manitoba, and am busy with my two beautiful teenage children.

What three words describe your U of A experience?

Transformative–When I stepped onto the Augustana campus as an 18-year-old kid from northern Alberta, never did I imagine that I would have the diverse experiences that have profoundly shaped my personal and professional life.

Inspiring– I’ve been privileged to work with faculty and staff at all levels of the university and I have marveled at the talented, committed, and innovative people who support U of A’s teaching and research mission every day.

Gratitude–I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to our U of A community and to engage in work that is impactful and deeply meaningful to me.

Finally, what excites you most about your new role?

I care deeply about teaching and learning at the U of A, and I'm excited to work with the talented team at CTL and to contribute to shaping the future of teaching and learning at our university. I’m honoured to have been entrusted with guiding the work of the team and to the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on our shared commitment to facilitating excellence in teaching and learning, discovery and citizenship.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Dr. Davis a little better! Her vast experience and passion for education promise exciting times ahead for CTL and the University of Alberta.