Madelyn Law to take lead of Brock’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation

Madelyn Law is no stranger to the culture of high-quality teaching and learning that runs through every area of Brock University.

After completing her undergraduate studies at Brock in Sport Management, Law (BSM ’99) earned her Master of Arts from Queen’s University and her PhD from the University of Toronto, specializing in health administration. Since returning to Brock in 2002, she has spent nearly two decades cultivating projects to enhance and grow the University’s teaching and learning practices — complementing her own teaching, research and graduate student supervision in the area of health administration.

As well as serving as a member of the Department of Health Sciences since 2005, and as the Experiential Education Faculty Associate from 2015 to 2019, the Pelham native will begin a two-year term this summer as the University’s Associate Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning.

The position will see Law take the reins of Brock’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) July 1, followed by the retirement of Director Jill Grose at the end of July. In addition to the new slate of responsibilities, Law will also continue as Director of Brock’s Interprofessional Education for Quality Improvement Program (I-EQUIP), which provides Brock students from any Faculty the opportunity to work together with health system professionals on two-year system improvement projects. The experiential education program’s work with Niagara Health was formalized in a memorandum of understanding signed recently.

“I feel excited,” said the Associate Professor of Health Sciences, who throughout her career has been presented with many of Brock’s major teaching awards, including the Don Ursino Award for Large Class Teaching, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Chancellor’s Chair of Teaching Excellence. “I hope to continue to support, highlight and celebrate innovative teaching activities that are happening on campus while also looking for new ways of teaching to help shape how we respond to our current and future students.”

CPI aims to bring Brock faculty, teaching assistants and staff together to explore effective teaching and learning practices in the classroom and online.

As Law assumes academic and administrative oversight of the Centre, she plans to draw on her previous experience and campus networks, which include collaborating on the development of the University’s Experiential Education definitions and assisting in the tracking and reporting of this data for Brock’s strategic mandate agreement metrics.

“I want to look at the data around our teaching at Brock, discuss new ideas with faculty members and students, and think about innovative pedagogy that will allow us to achieve the goals of Brock’s Strategic Plan,” she said.

Law is also a member of the Open Educational Resources Committee and participated on the Senate’s Teaching Evaluation Working Group that recently developed a new teaching evaluation approach. At the provincial level, she was a member of Brock’s collaborative team from CPI and Co-op, Career and Experiential Education that led three Council of Ontario Universities pilot projects on Experiential Learning, High-Impact Practices and the Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum.

The team also successfully secured more than $800,000 in Career Ready funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development in order to enhance curricular innovation, experiential learning and employer development at Brock.

Anticipating the transition to the Associate Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning role, Law said she is ready to learn from her new colleagues in CPI.

“I am so looking forward to working with the CPI team. They all have their own unique roles and expertise, but together they serve tirelessly to achieve the overall goal of making Brock a fantastic place for teaching and learning,” she said. “Jill has created a really high-performing and cohesive team that I feel honoured to be able to work alongside.”

Throughout her time at Brock, Law has written dozens of scholarly papers; taught 15 different courses in a wide range of environments, including large first-year courses, experiential education with community partners outside of the classroom, and blended and fully online courses; while also supervising 10 graduate students.

She said that diversity was made possible though growth supported by CPI.

“Their consultations on course development and learning outcomes for students as well as their online expertise has been integral to me as I continue to grow my skills as a professor and work to deliver courses that students find useful and enjoy.”

Law said she would not have been able to work effectively with so many others had she not received help from several key mentors in education.

“My mom Nancy is a school board trustee and was a teacher,” she said. “She has always been so supportive of my path in academia, and I think she is just as excited about my new role as I am.”

She experienced similar support from colleagues within the University.

“I feel a great debt of gratitude to my Department colleague, Professor Brent Faught, who has been a tremendous advocate. Our joint endeavours — co-teaching, publishing and presenting together, have provided a tremendous foundation from which to experiment and take pedagogical risks — trying out new ideas and new ways to enhance student learning and the student experience.

“And Anna Lathrop has been an incredible mentor who gave me my first chance to teach at Brock and has been there every step of the way.”

Lathrop, Brock’s Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success, said in many ways, Law’s appointment comes at a critical juncture for the University.

“Under the Directorship of Jill Grose, CPI has played an immense role in raising the profile of teaching and learning on campus and responding to the call for flexible and technology-enabled student learning opportunities,” said Lathrop. “Everyone on the CPI team is student-centred and faculty-focused, and they have been able to embrace teaching technology and innovation without sacrificing the instructor-student connection.

“Madelyn will be asked to lead a team that is seasoned, exceptionally capable and well-respected by faculty and teaching assistants on campus. The next stage in Brock’s teaching and learning mission will be to fulfil the priorities in our own Institutional Strategic Plan. This presents an exciting new canvas of possibilities.

“Madelyn has a demonstrated record as a scholar, an outstanding teacher and a collaborative administrator. She has forged working collaborations with many teaching, learning and student success networks on campus, which will ensure that the transition as the CPI lead will be a seamless one.”

Law said she is ready to hit the ground running.

“Brock is in an exciting time to continue to grow as a leader in many aspects of teaching and learning in post-secondary,” she said. “There are external pressures for reporting on our quality and performance and I see this as an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what we are already doing well and to focus on where we can do even better.”

Law will assume the new role on July 1, while Grose will formally retire at the end of July. A retirement party in Grose’s honour will be held July 9. Further information will be forthcoming.

To learn more about CPI, visit the centre’s website.

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