Dr. Shailoo Bedi: UVic Libraries and LTSI


- Melanie Groves


Bringing the Strategic Framework to life

The second in a series of articles that explores how staff and faculty across campus are implementing the university's Strategic Framework.

Q and A: Dr. Shailoo Bedi, UVic Libraries & Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation

Tell us about your work at the university.

I’ve been at the university for 14 years, most of that with UVic Libraries. For the last year and a half I’ve had a split role, as Director of Academic Commons & Strategic Assessment at UVic Libraries (.5), and Director of Student Academic Success with the centre for Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) (.5).

I feel like I’m the luckiest person to be able to work in a hybrid position. At the library I manage a complement of CUPE and PEA staff, focus on assessment, and also do space planning and facilities work to improve the student experience. At the LTSI, I’m involved in initiatives to support student academic success, and support the Centre for Academic Communication, the JCURA program and the Arbutus Review journal as managing editor.

I engage a lot with the Strategic Framework in part because I see a diversity of the UVic community and have quite a broad reach through my dual role. I am also quite familiar with the framework as I was part of the advisory group during 2017-2018 that helped to develop it. I’m also excited to be co-chairing Connect U, the university’s all-staff conference, which will take place in May this year.

How do you see the Strategic Framework helping or connecting to your work, and the work of your unit?

I feel really closely connected to the framework, especially the strategies within the Intensify Dynamic Learning section (3.1-3.5) that I feel guide my work. I see the framework like the frame of a picture—it gives support and structure to our creativity.

The LTSI is a really joyful place to be, supporting instructors in becoming excellent teachers who can infuse their teaching in diverse ways and use research-enriched teaching to promote student success. We’re committed to providing the supports for dynamic learning so that students can be academically successful here at UVic and also beyond here—whether they go on to a professional career, or graduate work or research.

This year with the LTSI I’m working with a team to coordinate the 10th anniversary of the Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards (JCURA). Over a decade, more than 1,000 students have become involved in empirical research through JCURA. It’s a truly interdisciplinary initiative that engages students in dynamic learning and hands-on research outside the classroom, which helps to set them up for academic, professional and personal success.

It’s amazing where integrated experiential learning is happening at the university—not just in the obvious areas like coop terms and practicum placements. The library is transforming along with the academy to facilitate new types of learning and integrate experiential learning through space-based learning, part of our “extraordinary academic environment” (1.5). We added a silent piano, which can be played using headphones, and that’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. To be able to offer students the opportunity to play music for a class, to create a composition or have some recreational time has been fantastic. It’s in constant use!

In future years our service planning will be closely modelled around the framework. It creates clarity and provides a set of priorities for decision making.

Does the work you do correspond to particular strategies in the framework?

Although I relate closely to the Intensify Dynamic Learning strategies because of my work on the academic side, I can see myself in all the areas of the framework—the interconnections and crossover between them strongly inform my work.

A good example and a project I’m really excited about is the Arbutus Review, the undergraduate interdisciplinary research journal that I manage with editor Madeline Walker through the LTSI. We’re doing a special issue to showcase the work of Indigenous undergraduate students that will come out in spring 2020. I’ll be mentoring an Indigenous PhD student who will be the special editor for that issue and we’ll be coaching Indigenous graduate students to peer review submissions.

This is an exciting experiential opportunity and a chance for all of us to learn together. I am grateful to Dr. Charlotte Loppie and Maria Shallard with the Indigenous Mentorship Network for connecting with us. Through the Arbutus Review collaboration we’ll be able to provide an experience for Indigenous students in scholarly publishing and will also be learning ways to respectfully incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and practices to continue our work and efforts to decolonize the academy. I think that’s the best part about working in higher ed, the reciprocity of learning and collaboration. This project reflects on many areas of the framework, particularly the areas of dynamic learning and fostering respect and reconciliation.

The Connect U conference (May 22-23) is another project that is weaving the themes of the framework into its programming. Our staff are so instrumental in creating our extraordinary academic environment and I hope everyone comes out to take part in this fantastic community learning opportunity. It’s a chance to meet other colleagues and broaden our perspectives beyond our own units. It’s an opportunity not to be missed!


In this story

Keywords: Strategic Framework, staff, administrative

People: Shailoo Bedi

Publication: The Ring

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