Keynote & Plenaries

This page contains links to recordings of our 2019 conference keynote and plenary sessions, as well as any other resources (such a slides and handouts) the facilitators have chosen to share. Click on the session titles to access recordings of recently concluded conference sessions. Please note that these recordings have not been edited and may contain “dead air”, interruptions, or unrelated conversation. You can navigate to different time points in the recording by “scrubbing” or sliding the time point indicator along the timeline displayed at the bottom of the video screen. Recordings include a live transcript of the chats that were happening within each session on the top right of the screen. Full text versions of the chat are linked after each session description, as are additional resources.

Opening Keynote: Appreciative Resilience and Educational Development

51y1+f5+xeL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Join Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell for a dynamic web-talk on their recent work in Appreciative Resilience. Educational Developers do powerfully important work inside organizations. They see the innovation on the horizon and translate it for individuals, teams and the entire organization. One of the innovations institutions are calling out for at this time is the practice of resilience as a process to help sustain the work of higher education. Appreciative Resilience takes the power of appreciative inquiry and embeds it into resilience practices as individuals and organizations journey through hope, despair and forgiveness. You will leave our time together with new ideas and ways to practice resilience.

PhotoSession7Joan & Jeanie's headshots for printing__previewJoan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell are Co-Presidents of Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting. They profoundly believe that education is the most powerful force for social and economic good in the world. Together they have more than 50 years of experience in higher education and have taken that experience into their consulting practice. They specialize in collaboratively design­ing strategies to surface the wisdom of individuals, groups and organizations in order for them to build positive futures and to respond effectively to change. They are authors, facilitators, speakers and thought leaders. Both have held positions from faculty to administration in the Canadian College system with Joan going on to be a college president. They have authored many articles on appreciative inquiry and leadership. Also, they have published two books: Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: A Transformative Force and Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness.  You can find out more about them and read the first three chapters of their resilience book here

Link to full transcript of chat.

Link to presentation slides.

Award Winner Plenary: Maze or labyrinth? Reflections on walking this path

Facilitators: Jill Grose (presenting by video); co-facilitators: Lianne Fisher and Jennifer Kopczinski, Brock University

This session highlights the need for fostering mindfulness and contemplative activitiesjill grose 6 in higher education as one possible way to support ourselves, our communities, and those we serve. Building a labyrinth is a tangible example of a recent educational development initiative on our campus to help the university focus on well being, health, and contemplative pedagogy. It’s a new path in the making, and one that I wouldn’t have predicted when I began my ED journey. Utilizing the maze and the labyrinth as metaphors for educational development work, this session is a reflection on the teaching and learning paths we create, and the values and relationships that help build them.

Link to full transcript of chat.

Link to video presentation.

Closing Plenary: Getting Gritty: Fostering Resilience in Educational Development

Contemporary postsecondary education is a dynamic enterprise: who our learners are, what they need to learn, how we are engaging them in that learning, and where that learning takes place are not only changing, but also interacting to create complex teaching and learning environments. In turn, educational development practice has grown as we support individuals, programs and our institutions in responding to the opportunities and challenges that emerge. There are many (and sometimes competing) demands on our time and resources. Developing “grit” (Duckworth, 2016) – learning to maintain our passion, perseverance and stamina over the long term – is one way to develop the resilience needed to learn from the challenges we encounter. Such learning requires us to reflect on our work and to foster a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006). By adopting Bronfrenbrenner’s (1977) framework to look at our work from the micro (individual), meso (centre), macro (organization) and mega (national) level, we can begin to examine strategies that will enable educational development to flourish even in demanding times. How do we develop the positive emotions that give our work personal meaning even in the face of obstacles? How do we create the habits of mind to foster grit and resilience?  How can we build relationships that support resiliency? How do we position ourselves for success in the long term by setting realistic goals? These are just some of the questions we will address in this interactive plenary focussing on grit and resilience in the workplace. (See references at end of page).


Debra Dawson is the Director of the Centre for Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at Western University. For close to 20 years Deb was the Director of the Teaching Support Centre at Western. Her work throughout those years was enhanced by developing grit, recognizing the effort it takes to succeed, and looking for gritty role models in the EDC community (there are many). Her research has focussed on the scholarship of educational development, competencies of educational development and student learning. She is the past Chair of the EDC and is currently the coordinator of STLHE’s 3M National Teaching Fellowship. An award-winning teacher Deb was delighted to receive the Christopher Knapper Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 from STLHE.

Lynn Taylor-114Lynn Taylor was a founding member of the EDC, and she attributes shared work and relationships in our community as a critical factor in sustaining her own resiliency. A common thread in Lynn’s career is the development of learning and teaching, academic programs, and institutional cultures that support and recognize educational practice, leadership and scholarship. She has served as director of learning and teaching centres at Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba, and most recently retired from the University of Calgary as vice-provost (teaching and learning). In 2018, Lynn was honoured to receive the STLHE Christopher Knapper Lifetime Achievement Award.

Link to full transcript of chat.

Link to presentation slides.


Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American psychologist32(7), 513-531.

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.

Duckworth, A.L., & Eskreis-Winkler, L. (2013). True Grit.  Retrieved from

Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Personality Processes and Individual Differences, 92, 1087.

Dweck, C.S.  (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. NY: Random House.

Dweck, C. S., Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G.L. (2014).  Academic tenacity: Mindsets and skills that promote life-long learning. Retrieved from

Elliot, A.J. Dweck, C. S., & Yeager, D.S. (2017). Handbook of Competence and Motivation. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.