Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 30, No.1

September 15, 2005


Welcome to 43 new hires

All “oriented” and eager to face their classes

By Barbara Black

Sean Gurd and Claudine Mangen

Sean Gurd (Classics) and Claudine Mangen (Accountancy) were among the new faculty members invited to a daylong orientation session on Aug. 23 in the Renaud Science Complex.
Photo by Kate Hutchinson

The first day is always a bit unnerving, according to Olivia Rovinescu. “Even people who’ve been teaching for 20 years get nervous on their first day.”

Imagine what it’s like when it’s your first time ever.

At an orientation session held Aug. 23 for more than 30 new hires, Rovinescu, who is director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Services (CTLS), emphasized how crucial first impressions can be.

“Enthusiasm is what draws them in,” she said. “They can make up their minds after the first class — even after the first five minutes — whether they like you or not.”

The CTLS offers a range of services to help professors communicate their own intellectual passion to their students. These include one-on-one consultations, 15-minute video demonstrations by veteran teachers, and a range of specialized materials.

They even have the services of theatre teacher Kate Bligh, who can show inexperienced speakers some ways to improve what is, in fact, a performance in the classroom.

The CTLS runs workshops to improve teaching, open to all faculty members. They range from small groups on specific topics to an intensive five-day course design program with McGill that was highly successful last year, and will be offered again.

The Centre also administers the course evaluations filled out at the end of each course by the students.

CTLS are constantly adding to their bag of tricks, and faculty members who would like to benefit from their services should go to

The orientation day included short presentations by a number of key people, starting with a welcome from incoming President Claude Lajeunesse, who joked that some of the new hires had been at Concordia longer than he had.

The speakers emphasized the importance of informing students about what constitutes plagiarism, and being sensitive to special needs.

They urged professors to be imaginative by initiating interdisciplinary research projects and international exchanges.

They also talked about the need to balance research with teaching, and professional pursuits with an enriching personal life.

After the session, the organizers in the CTLS said they were encouraged by the energy and optimism of the new faculty members, who seemed keen for the challenge.