Meet the Learning Portfolio fellows

Seven instructors representing all Faculties and the Arts and Science Program,  have been selected as McMaster’s first-ever Learning Portfolio fellows.

With the support of Forward with Integrity funding, MIIETL (The McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning) created the fellowships to research and support the implementation and impact of the Learning Portfolio.

The fellows have each developed research proposals that study the utility and effectiveness of the Learning Portfolio.  They will also serve as advocates for sharing best practices to support the use of the portfolio within the Faculties and will participate as members of the Learning Portfolio Advisory Group, working in partnership with MIIETL and other Learning Portfolio champions at the University.

“The research being undertaken by the Learning Portfolio fellows is a critical first step in the implementation of the Learning Portfolio,” says Catherine Swanson, Program Director for Learning Portfolios, MIIETL. “These early studies will generate valuable data sets that will help inform the development of pedagogy around the Learning Portfolio and help us better understand the ways in which it might enhance student learning.”

Fellows were each awarded $7,500 to support research and advocacy activities during the one-year tenure of the fellowship, and an additional $2,000 to support travel to a Learning Portfolio related conference or course.

Support has been provided to fund one fellow from each Faculty per year for the next three years.


2014/15 Learning Portfolio Fellows




Teal McAteer, Associate Professor, Teaching Track, DeGroote School of Business

Proposal: Students will develop a Leadership Learning Portfolio to document all leadership learnings and course required evaluation components to determine how the Learning Portfolio might help in the skill development of undergraduate commerce students as they engage in leadership training.





Rosa DaSilva, Department of Biology & Life Sciences Program

Proposal:  This fellowship proposes to establish a centralized database of Alumni and student experiences captured using the Learning Portfolio. These experiences can then be used by students to formulate effective learning and career action plans. We will study whether a meta-analysis based learning portfolio database can contribute to undergraduate student career action plans and whether learning portfolios can enable long-term peer-to-peer mentoring between McMaster students and Alumni.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGary Dumbrill, Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Proposal:  Using the Learning Portfolio, Gary will work with School of Social Work, the Hamilton Catholic Children’s Aid Society (an important source of placements for social work students, and a key employer of program grads) and with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (an organization that coordinates training for all Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario) to map a Child Welfare pathway through the McMaster undergraduate social work program, and create opportunities for students to use the Learning Portfolio to identify, reflect on and articulate their child welfare-salient learning across and beyond the curriculum.




John Maclachlan, Assistant Professor, Arts and Science Program

Proposal: While a number of Faculties are introducing the Learning Portfolio into selected courses, the Arts and Science Program has opted for a program-wide implementation of the portfolio. This proposal will study whether the Learning Portfolio can be successfully implemented program-wide into the first year experience of the Arts and Science Program.





Tracey Jewiss, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Proposal: The study will compare students’ experiences with the Learning Portfolio in the first year of implementation to their experiences from the second year of implementation. The study will evaluate what impact modifications made in the second year may have had on the student experience. The study will also examine community partners’ interest in and reaction to student Learning Portfolios and how a portfolio could have an impact on an agency.


Potter 2


David Potter, Associate Professor, Booth School of Engineering Practice

Proposal: The study will test whether significant achievements in learning outcomes using an experimental pedagogy occur when the level of cognitive processes required are at Bloom’s evaluate and create levels. Through the Learning Portfolio, students will reflect on their learning and track their progression in cognitive process over a time period and then reflect on their progression.





Catherine Anderson, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics and Languages

Proposal: Two questions will be addressed. The first will examine how introducing the Learning Portfolio to level 1 Humanities students could support students’ development as leaders. Second, how does using the Learning Portfolio in in the McMaster English Language Development Program (MELD) support students’ development of English language proficiency and does it contribute to their success in academic programs?