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Transformational Teaching and Learning Day

Transformational Teaching and Learning Day at Memorial

Join Memorial’s Chairs in Teaching and Learning on Thursday, April 27, from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. for a day of reflection, conversation, transformation and community building, as we explore our individual and shared experiences as educators at Memorial. The day will begin with a keynote address from David Helfand, educator, astronomer, and former president of Quest University Canada, followed by interactive conversations and activities centered on the ideas of transformation and community building in teaching and learning at Memorial.

The event will take place in Room 1M102 in the Faculty of Medicine on the St. John’s campus. Please contact Janet Goosney at or 864-3166 for details on how to participate remotely from another Memorial campus.

The event is open to all educators at all campuses of Memorial University.

Space is limited, so please register now using the online form: [].

Download the schedule for the day here.

Keynote speaker: David Helfand – educator, astronomer and former president of Quest University Canada

“QUESTions Instead of Answers: A Process-based Curriculum for the Twenty-first Century”

The design of Quest University Canada began with a blank sheet of paper and a question: How do we create the most effective and engaging education for today‘s students who will graduate into a rapidly changing, globalized world? Our answer was to center education around the formulation of good questions and the processes by which one attempts to address them, rather than focusing instruction on the delivery of information. This leads naturally to having tutors who teach, rather than professors who profess, and to seminar rooms rather than lecture halls. It leads to dissolving disciplinary boundaries so good questions can easily cross them in a student-centered, project-based curriculum of exploration, rather than a fact-based transfer of information and its subsequent regurgitation. It leads to a collaborative rather than a competitive learning environment. And it produces students with highly developed skills in written and oral communication who are instinctively collaborative, inherently trans-disciplinary in their approach to problems, and engaged in their local and global communities.

David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University for 40 years, has served half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy.

He is the author of 200 scientific publications and has mentored 22 PhD students, but most of his pedagogical efforts have been aimed at teaching science to non-science majors. He instituted the first change in Columbia’s Core Curriculum in 60 years by introducing science to all first-year students. In 2005, he became involved in the effort to create Canada’s first independent, non-profit, secular university, Quest University Canada. He was a Visiting Tutor in the University’s inaugural semester in 2007 and served as President & Vice-Chancellor from 2008 to 2015. He also recently concluded a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society. His recently released book, “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age” provides the essential tools informed citizens must acquire to combat the tsunami of mis- and dis-information that threatens rational approaches to personal decision-making and the formation of good public policy.

Check out David Helfand’s TEDx Talk: Educations as We’d Like To Know It : David Helfand at TEDxHavergalCollege