Significant Networks: Making Space for Support and Productive Discomfort in our Teaching Practice

with University of Calgary Associate Deans Teaching and Learning,
Dawn Johnston, Jennifer Lock and Leslie Reid

Purpose:  This interactive session will focus on the significant relationships and networks that help us develop and enhance teaching practice – those that promote social, emotional, and pedagogical growth. Through identifying the significant people in your teaching and learning network, you will explore the importance of ensuring a diverse and challenging network to foster your growth.  You will be asked to reflect on your own network, thinking about how opportunities are created and embraced to foster productive discomfort that nurtures growth within safe and trusting relationships.

Questions explored in this session include:

  • Who are the people in my teaching and learning network?
  • How do they support me?  How do they challenge my thinking?
  • How might I enhance my network?
  • How do I cultivate high quality relationships and connections in my network?


  • Identify your advocates, influencers and mentors that support your development in teaching and learning
  • Enhance your own network through interactions provided in the session
  • Identify areas for growth in developing your personal-professional teaching and learning network


Dr. Dawn Johnston is a senior instructor in the Department of Communication, Media and Film and the associate dean teaching, learning and student engagement for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary. Her leadership activities include developing, promoting, implementing, and evaluating initiatives that advance these areas. As associate dean teaching, learning and student engagement, Dr. Johnston builds and maintains relationships between the Faculty of Arts and other faculties and units in the University of Calgary to develop and advance initiatives related to teaching, learning and student engagement. Dr. Johnston’s research and teaching interests include gender and sexuality in popular culture, food culture, popular culture and pedagogy, television studies and critical media studies, as well as activism and media.

Dr. Jennifer Lock is the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.  Dr. Lock is also the academic program coordinator for a graduate certificate program entitled Active Learning Environments: Learning Commons, Makerspace, & Design Thinking. Dr. Lock’s research interests are in the following four areas: 1) E-learning with a specific focus in online learning communities and building capacity of online educators; 2) Technology integration in education and teacher education that involves designing learning in technology-enhanced learning environments and online collaboration; 3) Educational development in higher education; and 4) Change and innovation in education (teaching, learning and leading) with a specific interest in leading innovation in K-20 classrooms, schools and organizations, involving educational technology.

Dr. Leslie Reid is a teaching professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary and joined the Dean’s Office in 2012 as an associate dean teaching and learning. As associate dean, she supports the creation of educational development programs that help enhance learning and teaching experiences for students and staff. Her scholarly work focuses on STEM teaching at the undergraduate level and educational development. From 2007 to 2012 she was the Tamaratt Teaching Chair in Geoscience—the first position of its kind at the University of Calgary. While in this position, she led a number of projects investigating the impact of formative assessment on student learning, how to improve student engagement in large enrollment STEM courses and how to engage STEM faculty in educational development initiatives. In 2011, Leslie was awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship and in 2014, she received a University of Calgary Teaching Award for Educational Leadership.