On 9th August 2021, the Centre for Pedagogical Excellence (CPE) at Habib University launched Faculty Reboot Week. Spread over a week, it comprises training sessions aimed at professional development for faculty to “learn, unlearn, and acquire new skills that help in creating pedagogical experiences in line with the needs of the modern day,” according to Dr Anzar Khaliq, the Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning and Research at Habib University.
Wasif A. Rizvi, President, Habib University, inaugurated the event, emphasizing the need for inspiration and an innovative approach to teaching. Dr. Khaliq, highlighted the importance of reflecting on the changes to teaching and learning, since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The weeklong sessions will include not only the University’s faculty, but also globally renowned pedagogical experts.
The CPE is instrumental in facilitating Habib University’s core value: student centricity. Essentially, the CPE aims to ensure that students’ learning experience meets the highest standards yet remains contextualised and relevant to the modern world and community. The CPE not only addresses the issues of a lack of student-centred frameworks but also the rapidly changing nature of teaching and learning, a process accelerated by the shift to online learning due to the pandemic.
While the CPE has stipulated goals for improving teaching, the Faculty Reboot Week has two main aims; inducting and equipping young faculty members and creating contextualised, new learning experiences for students in line with the institution’s culture. For the new faculty members, sessions will focus on the essentials of teaching and learning as well as an introduction to the unique liberal core of Habib University. In addition to this, all faculty members will be involved in community collaboration sessions which aim to produce prototypes for better practices – particularly as the pandemic poses a disconnect between faculty and students.
The aim is to equip faculty with elements critical to sustainability focusing on the wellbeing of faculty and students, leveraging design thinking to create new experiences, and redesigning the First Year experience. The desired outcome is to assist faculty in understanding the challenges the student community faces and the consequences of the pandemic on higher education – encouraging them to formulate solutions.
The inaugural session on Monday, showcased the courses of faculty members who are recipients of the Inaugural Teaching Excellence Awards: Manahil Huda, Junaid Memon, and Dr Muhammad Irfan. This session was curated to celebrate the award recipients and discuss their teaching excellence, which made students connect so well with the course. The second session was conducted by Dr Humaira Jamshed, a health professional, who discussed practical stress management strategies and provided resources to self-assess mental health.
The day ended with a session titled, “The Future of Learning” which included a panel comprising Terry Johnson from UC Berkley, Dr Jennifer Friberg from Illinois State University, and Dr Sabieh Anwer from LUMS. The session discussed how global institutions are reimagining their pedagogy as a consequence of COVID-19, how technology will be used to innovate, and which immediate and long term challenges have emerged.
These sessions will continue till August 13th, encouraging collaboration and innovation between Habib University’s faculty and global institutions.