Letter of Support from Ann Gagné

Thompson Rivers University Tenure and Promotion Committee

Re: Dr. Brenna Clarke Gray, letter of support tenure and promotion, external

Dear Committee Members:

My name is Dr. Ann Gagné and I am Educational Developer, Universal Design for Learning and Accessible Pedagogies at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). This letter is in support of recommending Dr. Brenna Clarke Gray for tenure and promotion. I have known Dr. Gray in many professional capacities since 2010, first as a member of the Association for College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), and now as a colleague within the discipline of educational technologies and faculty development. Dr. Gray is a strong advocate for inclusive and ethical education and educational technologies. Her commitment to open pedagogies, open technologies, and open academic processes, makes her a leader and a mentor to many in higher education across Canada and the United States.

Dr. Gray’s impact and contributions to the field are vast and interdisciplinary. She has published ground-breaking articles on inequitable labour practices within the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as organized a wildly successful teach-in event highlighting the inequities of proctoring software, the resources and discussions during which have been referenced by scholars and colleagues in the field for the last two years. The event modelled an inclusive pedagogy, through the concept of a teach-in, to directly demonstrate via the accessibility supports in place how to respect and engage many scholars, thinkers, and educational advocates from around the world. Dr. Gray is also seen as a leader in academic podcasting in Canada. I have used resources and tips from her TRU focused Podcast “You Got This” in my educational developer work at UTM. The Digital Teaching Summer Camp at TRU that she supported and highlighted on social media, particularly Twitter, became the inspiration for the Teaching & Learning Collaboration (TLC) Summer Camp for Instructors at UTM which we started in the summer of 2020 and will now have it’s third iteration in a few weeks.

Dr. Gray is a people and concept connector, and she does this with her conference papers, workshops, and social media presence. Her conference and workshop presentations, such as “Ethics, EdTech, and the Rise of Contract Cheating” and “How Can we Help?: The Educational Technologist as Accessibility Activist” at CSSHE 2021 and keynotes such as “Things Unsaid: Exploring the Margins and Limits of Open” at OTESSA 2022, have become points of necessary conversation building within educational technology and higher education in Canada and internationally. Dr. Gray consistently invites us to have the conversations that need to be had for the sake of ethics and inclusion, in order to make our institutions and fields of research more accountable to learners and to the world.

She actively shares resources and knowledge for the higher education community internationally within social media spaces such as Twitter, and also as a guest on leading HigherEd podcasts such as Gettin’ Air, Teacher of the Ear, and Secret Feminist Agenda. On these podcasts, she has shared advice and resources on digital tools and privacy, academic integrity, and inclusive pedagogical strategies that are used by instructional technologists, educational/faculty developers, and instructors across Canada. Her service to the educational technology and faculty development community as an open collaborator continued with her involvement in MyFest2022 this summer, where she facilitated a workshop with Anne-Marie Scott on ethical EdTech. Original in its design, MyFest allows for sharing practices and resources, and has provided a much needed space for reflection on critical digital pedagogies.

The ethical as foundational focus of Dr. Gray’s work has become her signature pedagogy, and she expands on this in her work and advocacy for open educational technology, instructional technology procurement policies, and academic integrity considerations. I have used her framing of “it starts at procurement” in my advocacy for accessible pedagogical and technological considerations at UTM.

Her background as a Professor of composition at Douglas College, teaching a diverse demographic of students, has given her the insight to support instructors and higher education community members in making culturally inclusive and accessible choices in their pedagogies. She has leveraged her meaningful connections to the English language, composition, and literature instructors in Canada, to reinforce the rich network of scholars dedicated to multimedia and Open Educational Resources (OER) in institutions across the country.

Dr. Gray asks the questions and looks for the answers that educational technology and faculty development need. She is a valued colleague to many, and an inspirational contributor to academic educational technology praxis.

Please contact me if you require further information in support of this letter. Sincerely,

Dr. Ann Gagné
Educational Developer, Universal Design for Learning & Accessible Pedagogies Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC)
Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP)
University of Toronto Mississauga