Focus On Teaching Banner, Sparking Ideas and Igniting Passion, image of sparkler

Focus on Teaching Conference

Look forward to the 2022 conference and let’s make it an incredible experience!

Excellence in teaching and engaging students in learning is both challenging and exciting. The Focus on Teaching Conference has traditionally provided a forum to:

  • celebrate the work of teachers in a fun, engaging, and rewarding way;
  • dialogue with colleagues from across disciplines;
  • engage in informed and constructive conversations related to the complexities of teaching and learning; and
  • share strategies and insights that increase teaching and learning effectiveness.

Fireside Chat with Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes and Kevin Weaver

We sat down with our past president Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes and incoming president Kevin Weaver to ask them some hot questions while eating even hotter wings!

Celebrating our achievements

About the Focus on Teaching Conference

What a year and now more than ever, we want to recognize all the ways our Georgian community work together, create and share knowledge, and connect learning. 

Each year the Focus on Teaching Conference brings together our Georgian community to share practices, experiences, and insights about learning and teaching. The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges and has inspired immense learning and growth around teaching and learning.  Growing levels of academic burnout in faculty and students means the need for sparking ideas and igniting passion has never been greater.  Thus, we invite you to join us in sharing innovative ideas and developing new passions that re-invigorate our teaching practice and our lives.  We are excited to support and inspire our community of teachers and celebrate as we recognize all the ways we work together, create and share knowledge, and connect learning inside and outside the classroom. 

Last year, for the first time ever, we held the Focus on Teaching Conference virtually over three days and invited our colleagues from other Ontario colleges.  

This year, we invite you to attend virtually on May 3 and 4 to spark new ideas and ignite your passion in teaching and learning.  Keynote talks, sessions, activities and collaboration opportunities will be scheduled between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days. Details to come. 

Keynote speaker

Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Sarah Rose Cavanagh is the Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning in the Center for Faculty Excellence at Simmons University, where she also teaches in the Psychology department as an Associate Professor of Practice. Before joining Simmons, she was an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience (tenured) at Assumption University, where she also served in the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence as Associate Director for Grants and Research.

Sarah’s research considers the interplay of emotions, motivation, learning, and quality of life. She is author of The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion (2016) and upcoming Our Monsters, Our Selves: Encouraging Youth Mental Health with Compassionate Challenge (2022). She gives keynote addresses and workshops at a variety of colleges and regional conferences, blogs for Psychology Today, and writes essays for venues like Literary Hub and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She’s also on Twitter too much, at @SaRoseCav.

Sarah Rose

Teaching Excellence Awards

The Teaching Excellence Award formally recognizes innovative and creative ideas developed by our inspirational professors, librarians and counsellors at Georgian College.

The awards are designed to celebrate people or teams who: 

  • demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching practice, facilitating student learning, or supporting teachers and teaching excellence; and
  • inspire the larger teaching and learning community at Georgian College through sharing of practice, mentoring, or otherwise providing support to colleagues.
Teaching Excellence Award plaque 2021

Previous year (2021) recipientsGeorgian College Chevron
Clement Bamikole

Clem Bamikole

Rob Davidson

Rob Davidson

Mary Dobson

Mary Dobson

Jill Esmonde

Jill Esmonde

Daphene Francis

Daphene Francis

Eleanor Gittens

Eleanor Gittens

Marilyn Nigro

Marilyn Nigro

Janette O’Neill-Scott

Marilyn Watson

Marilyn Watson

Larry White

Team Award - Hairstyling

Hairstyling team


The commitment to excellence can be in one or several of the following categories of teaching practice: 

Innovative teaching strategiesGeorgian College Chevron
  • Implements innovative practices that might involve interdepartmental, inter-program, or interdisciplinary collaborations 
  • Facilitates student learning through collaborations with community partners, professional bodies, or other organizations  
  • Employs innovative strategies to engage learners in various learning modalities (e.g. face-to-face, hybrid, online) 
Educational technologyGeorgian College Chevron
  • Skillful and meaningful integration of technology that enhances student learning 
  • Advances educational technology through practice and sharing of evidence-based best practices
Active learningGeorgian College Chevron
  • Implements experiential learning (i.e. project-based learning, case-based learning, simulations, field studies, etc.) in a way that enhances student engagement and retention
  • Uses ongoing active learning to facilitate development of higher levels of learning 
  • Displays creativity in engaging learners in active learning across learning modalities 
Equity, diversity and inclusionGeorgian College Chevron
  • Fosters an inclusive learning environment, in which learners feel a sense of belonging 
  • Demonstrates a commitment to equity by supporting full participation of all learners and removing barriers where they exist 
  • Use of decolonizing, anti-oppressive, culturally responsive, and/or universal design for learning (UDL) teaching practices to support achievement by all learners

ChangemakingGeorgian College Chevron
  • Facilitates, leads or structures student opportunities to examine how they make a positive impact related to social or environmental change 
  • Uses teaching strategies that empower students to develop changemaking skills and mindsets – empathy, collaboration, creativity, resilience, systems thinking, leadership 
Humanizing/creating connections and community Georgian College Chevron
  • Demonstrates commitment to connecting with learners, and building opportunities for connection between learners 
  • Leads with empathy, compassion, and heart to support students in meeting learning outcomes 
  • Demonstrates commitment to connecting students with course content in meaningful ways, inspiring students to high levels of achievement and personal growth
ResearchGeorgian College Chevron
  • The research involves the collection and analysis of data or information as well as the synthesis of findings to advance understanding or practice 
  • The research endeavour, in some way, enhances student learning or teaching practice 

Eligibility and process 

  1. All college professors, librarians and counsellors are eligible for these awards. Consideration may be given to members of the college community who have demonstrated extraordinary levels of support to teaching and learning at Georgian. The nominator must be Georgian faculty, administration or support staff member.
  1. Up to five awards will be given each year.
  1. Each award will have no monetary value.
  2. Nomination submissions can be completed by using the online form and should include the following sections: 
    • Nominee information
    • Description of the nominees teaching practices and their impact on the larger teaching and learning community at Georgian
    • Supporting evidence, in the form of at least three quotes from three different people (i.e. colleague, manager, community member, past student) describing and supporting the award criteria  
    • Past recipients of a Teaching Excellence Award are not eligible for nomination for the next three years

Please consider nominating a deserving colleague today. TEACHING EXCELLENCE AWARDS will recognize the award winners at the annual Focus on Teaching and Learning Conference on May 3 to 4, 2022.

Nominations due by April 8, 2022 at 4 p.m.

If you have any questions, please email Kelly Fox in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Call for proposals

Submit your session proposal by April 15

The call for proposals is now open and we encourage all interested presenters to consider sharing their ideas and passion through an interactive workshop or lightning learning session.  The deadline to submit your session proposal is April 15 at 4 p.m. Learn more about the types of sessions below.

Interactive workshop (60 minutes)Georgian College Chevron

Length: 60 minutes 

A workshop is an educational seminar that includes interaction and exchange of information between and among participants. In this structured session, share your passion and expertise or experience about a topic and encourage engagement from the participants. The 60-minute interactive breakout session can focus on things such as the following: 

  • Sharing effective practices used in courses or programs
  • Brainstorming ideas related to a particular aspect of teaching practice
  • Exploring innovations (both technology and non-technology based) that can be used to support teaching and learning
  • Sharing what you have learned through research into some aspect of teaching or learning 
  • Facilitating a discussion around relevant teaching and learning issues
  • Lessons learned in the virtual teaching experience
Lightning learning (25 minutes)Georgian College Chevron

Length: 25 minutes (20-minute presentation and five-minute Q and A) 

The 25-minute lightning learning sessions focus on an innovative and creative ways you are connecting with students and creating community. You will facilitate the dialogue around the topic allowing participants to ask and answer questions, explore aspects of the topic, or share suggestions and common thoughts.  

Here are some ideas (but not limited to this list) for themes in the Lightning Round rooms: 

  • Educational technology
  • Digital innovation
  • GCFlex experiences
  • H5P
  • Classroom community development ideas
  • Digital case-based learning
  • Digital tools for assessment
  • Innovative online assignments
  • Faculty collaborations
  • Connection with community
  • Authentic assessment examples
  • #Changemaking

We are inspired by the generosity of past presenters, and we look forward to your submissions for this year’s conference. Our teaching and learning community is enriched by your willingness to share your expertise and experiences.

To submit a proposal, use the QR code below or click the link to go to the submission form: 

QR Code
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