Islamabad : A two-day training workshop on High Impact Practices (HIPs) and collaborative learning was organized by the USAID-funded Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) here.
Designed for the faculty of 15 partner universities of HESSA, the training-of-trainers activity benefited 30 full-time teachers engaged in faculty development and supporting the improvement of teaching in their respective universities. The workshop, which was titled ‘Strengthening Teaching and Learning of Soft Skills in Higher Education,’ constituted Phase-2 of the on-going online bootcamp with a focus on the fundamentals and practices of teaching and learning. The instructors introduced HIPs as a tool to promote collaborative learning, and to increase student learning of soft skills.
Dr. M. Aslam Chaudhry, Chief of Party of HESSA, welcomed the participants and shared the thrust of the HESSA project. He highlighted the pivotal role of the faculty in improving the lackluster system of higher education in Pakistan. International trainers visiting Pakistan to impart the training comprised Dr. Lisa Pawloski, Dr. Delores Robinson, Dr. Karri Holley, and Dr. Dana Patton from the University of Alabama.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Saima Hamid, Vice Chancellor of the Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), Rawalpindi, shared how FJWU incorporated and adopted certain practices to promote student engagement, and to address the evolving needs of student bodies. Dr. Sadia Sulaiman from Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr. Farahnaz Beg from the Institute of Business Administration, and Dr. Naukhez Sarwar from National University of Science and Technology also shared their experiences and lessons learnt in implementing HIPs and collaborative learning in their respective institutions.
Spread over three phases, the workshop enlightened the participants on becoming effective teachers; understanding student learning; designing courses; creating learning assessments; teaching for motivation and engagement; ensuring equity and inclusion; and developing engaging lecturers. This was followed by a question-and-answer session which made the discourse more enlightening. The event concluded with award of certificates to the participating faculty members.
The workshop also introduced the participants to the University of Alabama, ahead of the group’s study tour to the US in September this year. The visiting team of university teachers will serve as the foundational network for future expansion of training and the establishment of strengthened centers for teaching excellence.
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