I am pleased to share with you the important progress the College made in 2014.
Communicating with the Public
In the 18 years since the College began operating, it has made considerable effort to communicate with its membership. Over the years, limited attention was paid to broadening awareness within the wider public and, as a result, public awareness of the organization remained low.
When former chief justice Patrick LeSage conducted his review of the College’s discipline policies and practices in late 2011/early 2012, his first of 49 recommendations was to develop a communication strategy to increase public awareness of the College. Council approved the recommendation and, in 2013, created a set of principles to guide a public awareness initiative.
We’re proud of the public awareness initiative we launched in 2014. It included a comprehensive print, radio and online communications program that — through a series of advertisements — educates the public about who we are, what we do, how we regulate teaching in Ontario and, most importantly, how highly qualified members are.
The College supported this paid media effort with a substantial earned media initiative that included outreach to school trustees and parent councils, community event participation in an effort to build a subscriber base for our public newsletter The Standard, and a substantial parent blogger presence.
The College has made significant upgrades to improve timelines, efficiency and transparency regarding our disciplinary role. The proposed provincial Bill 103, The Protecting Students Act, incorporated significant amendments that would have reinforced the College’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its investigation, disciplinary and reporting processes. Unfortunately, this proposed bill died because of the Ontario election. We are looking forward to the reintroduction of a bill to amend our Act that will allow us to continue to improve our efficiency.
Honouring Exceptional Dedication
The Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program recognizes excellence in teacher education through the awarding of scholarships, bursaries and prizes to assist in the education of teachers or those wishing to become teachers.
Hélène Lefrançois was the 12th recipient of the Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education in 2014. The College awards the Atkinson scholarship annually in honour of the College’s second registrar Joseph W. Atkinson. To win, teacher candidates must be in their final year of study at a faculty of education in Ontario and achieve outstanding academic success in their undergraduate studies while demonstrating a high level of preparedness for teacher education.
Lefrançois, a teacher candidate in the consecutive education program at the University of Ottawa, is known as an accomplished researcher with an impressive track record and a true dedicated passion for today’s youth.
Her vast experience, which includes teaching primary grades in Québec, helping immigrant children learning French, and planning and leading a course on the power of language at the University of Ottawa for high school students, taught Hélène to always keep an open mind and to respect others.
Rosalind McCanny was the recipient of the 2014 Ontario College of Teachers Primary/Junior or Junior/Intermediate Scholarship. McCanny, a teacher candidate in the consecutive education program at Queen’s University, has worked passionately with children and teens in a variety of roles including caregiver, private tutor, camp counsellor and workshop facilitator.
The recipient of the Ontario College of Teachers Intermediate/Senior Scholarship last year was Stephanie Lum, a teacher candidate in the consecutive education program at the University of Ottawa. Lum is passionate about positively impacting children’s lives. She has been a summer camp activity leader in science and engineering and a science teaching assistant.
Susan Robertson and Mel Greif’s terms on College Council ended in 2014 and Bill Kirkwood resigned to become Chair of the Public Interest Committee. We welcomed three new public appointees for three-year terms: Elizabeth Edgar-Webkamigad, Godwin Ifedi and Ronna Warsh. Four appointed members — Jean-Luc Bernard, OCT, E. Clyde Glasgow, Pauline Smart and Dobi-Dawn Frenette — had their terms extended.
As well, three elected members — Ahmed Bouragba, OCT, Maria Bouwmeester, OCT, and Monika Ferenczy, OCT — resigned and were replaced by Evie Basztyk-Benishek, OCT, Adannaya Nwaogu, OCT, and Merzak Damou, OCT, respectively.
In 2014, there were two vacancies of government-appointed member positions on our Council. This created a significant drain on our appointed Council members in their efforts to meet College timelines and act in the public interest.
The College’s mandate is clearly set in legislation through our 11 objects. In an effort to improve transparency so that the public understands what the College is achieving within that mandate, Council and senior staff together created a mission, vision and values for the organization. Our four strategic priorities are achievable and measurable and are key components in our role to protect the public interest.
Council members took great pride in setting these priorities for the organization. College staff developed its action plan and the Registrar reported on these deliverables publicly at each Council meeting. Through this process, we demonstrate our accountability and responsibility to achieve our vision to be trusted to regulate the profession in the public interest.
Council members have shown a steadfast commitment to regulate the profession in the public interest. College staff works hard to support the work of Council and its committees, and to ensure our members get the best service possible.
To all of them, I offer my sincere gratitude for the commitment and expertise that they bring to their roles every day. I offer special thanks for the progress we’ve made and a job well done in 2014.
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