U of G to Bring Community Leaders ‘Back to Class’

January 18, 2012 - News Release

Guelph’s government, business and community leaders will head “Back to Class” at the University of Guelph Jan. 25 as part of a project to showcase innovative undergraduate teaching and learning at Ontario’s universities.

Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic), and Serge Desmarais, associate vice-president (academic), will host the invitation-only event. Running from 2 to 4 p.m., it will begin in the McLaughlin Library and end with a student poster session highlighting undergraduate teaching and research in the University Centre.

Participating “students” will be Guelph MP Frank Valeriote; Michael Chong, MP for Wellington-Halton Hills; Guelph MPP Liz Sandals; and Guelph mayor Karen Farbridge.

“Back to Class” is an initiative of the Council of Ontario Universities to reinforce universities’ commitment to quality undergraduate teaching and learning and to student success. U of G is the first university to participate; similar events will be held on campuses across Ontario.

“Having our local leaders hop on to a virtual school bus for a day is an opportunity for us to show people first-hand why Guelph continues to be a pioneer when it comes to providing students with a first-class learning experience,” Mancuso said.

It’s also a chance to show how learning at university has evolved, she said. “Many Ontario universities have been engaged in a creative redesign of the learning experience. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all.’ We recognize that students learn in different ways, at different speeds and for different purposes.”

At U of G, the group will attend a lecture, visit a design studio, participate in a first-year seminar and learn about undergraduate research that evolved from classroom projects.

Part of the University’s overall strategic plan is balancing teaching and research, Mancuso said. “Students come to university to acquire knowledge and participate in the discovery process. While they are here, they learn skills of critical thinking and innovation. Every student deserves to be taught by faculty who are at the leading edge of knowledge in their fields — in other words, engaged in research.”

President Alastair Summerlee, chair of COU, added: “The hallmarks of effective teaching are the ability to inspire students with a passion for their subject and for life-long learning. These events will highlight effective teaching and demonstrate the passion that effective teachers have to inspire student learning and acquire the critical thinking skills necessary for the job challenges of today and for the jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1