Last update: December 3, 2018

Fostering Success in First Year University: What does SRL Have to Do With It? 

What does it take for first-year students to successfully transition to life and learning at a demanding post-secondary institution like UBC? What can faculty and staff do to assist learners in that transition? This plenary address will take up these two questions. To begin, participants will be supported to consider what students are bringing to UBC, with particular focus on big picture implications of the redesigned K-12 curriculum in BC, how expectations on learners are similar or shifting in their transition to UBC, and what it takes for first-year students to navigate that transition successfully (and where it can break down). Building from that backdrop, participants will imagine what SRL looks like in their contexts, and then apply a model of “self-regulated learning” (SRL) to consider how to design courses and supports in ways that empower learners to succeed. A focus on SRL fits well with UBC’s priority to foster transformative learning. As is the case in BC, across North America, self-regulation is being associated with the kinds of adaptive expertise that schools need to foster in learners, if today’s students are to experience success from primary grades through the adult years. Self-regulation is critical because it entails learners’ adaptive engagement in both individual and social forms of learning in a wide variety of activities, both within and outside of schools. Participants will leave the plenary with a multidimensional overview of practices supportive of SRL, and some initial, powerful takeaway strategies they can use tomorrow in their contexts.


About Deborah L. Butler

DEBORAH L. BUTLER is a Professor in the Faculty of Education here at UBC. Across a 10 year period, she served as Director for the Centre of Cross-Faculty Inquiry, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, Associate Dean for Strategic Development, and Senior Associate Dean. She is past Co-President of the Canadian Association for Educational Psychology (2012-14). Currently she coordinates the Faculty of Education’s innovative inquiry-based programs designed to support educators interested in fostering self-regulated learning (see In her collaborative research with educational partners for just shy of 30 years (K-12 and post-secondary), she has studied how to support academic success by students within inclusive classrooms, how and why supporting self-regulated learning is so key to empowering learners, and how educators can work together to construct practices that achieve positive outcomes for students. Her recent award-winning research-practice book, Developing Self-Regulating Learners, is being used as a text in both post-secondary courses and community-based settings as a resource to help educators mobilize knowledge about SRL in the K-12 system.