College instructor education: A model for effective student learning.


  • Sharmaine Itwaru George Brown College
  • Donald Scott University of Calgary



instructor education, pedagogy, professionalisation, college student learning, policy and practice


The interconnection between teaching and learning in higher education has been the subject of academic investigation for some time. However, within the community college context, the effectiveness of pedagogically trained instructors on student learning has remained an under-examined area of scholarly research. This study advances a greater understanding regarding the importance of quality teaching within the community college system in Ontario and explores how institutional policy and practices support or impede the promotion of quality teaching.

A mixed methods sequential explanatory design was employed at a Toronto college to gauge the perspectives of participants in three sub-groups of the College strata: administrators, instructors, and students. A pragmatic approach was utilised from which multiple methods of data collection (i.e., semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and online questionnaires) were selected to exhaustively address the primary research question.

Key findings revealed that formal academic development in pedagogical education was perceived by the majority of participants as foundational to effective teaching practice and that more comprehensive academic development was needed to improve both current practice and student academic achievement. Most instructors and students concurred that learner-centred approaches, both in class and in field placements, led to a deeper level of learning. From a leadership standpoint, participants also believed that college policies and practices were misaligned with promoting quality instruction and that greater progress towards alignment was necessary; thus, there were serious leadership implications. This study adds to the current instructor education discourse by providing impetus for institutional change towards the professionalisation of college instructors and also recognises the inextricable tie between instructor education and student learning.

Author Biographies

Sharmaine Itwaru, George Brown College

Dr. Sharmaine Itwaru is currently a professor at George Brown College in the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies. She holds graduate degrees from both the University of Toronto (OISE) in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (M.Ed.) and the University of Calgary in Adult Education (EdD). For the past sixteen years, she has served in a dual capacity as both teaching faculty and academic coordinator at the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies. Within these roles, she has designed and taught in instructor education programs as well as led faculty development initiatives. Her research focuses on decolonizing higher education pedagogy and instructional efficacy.

Donald Scott, University of Calgary

Dr Donald E. Scott is an Associate Professor in Leadership, Policy, and Governance, at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Don has 30 years of K-12 teaching and administration experience, as well as close to a decade of post-secondary teaching and program development experience. Don’s research focuses on professional, academic, and leadership development in schools and the higher education sectors. His research explores the influence and potential of ICT in supporting the capacity building of teachers, academics, and leaders; student assessment; quality teaching and learning; and inclusive leadership.




How to Cite

Itwaru, S., & Scott, D. (2022). College instructor education: A model for effective student learning. International Journal for Leadership in Learning, 22(2), 31–67.