Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are informal cross-disciplinary groups, facilitated and run by faculty members, that meet regularly to explore teaching topics in depth. Participants in FLCs learn from each other, investigate and assess teaching methods within a supportive cohort and reflect and become more purposeful about their current practice.

Whether you are a new faculty member looking to learn teaching tips, or an experienced faculty member seeking new insights, FLCs are a fun way to connect with other instructors and gain new perspectives. By meeting regularly (for example, every three weeks), FLCs allow you to dig deep into questions about teaching and learning and become more purposeful about your teaching.

2019-2020 Faculty Learning Communities:

The Heart of Higher Education is an opportunity to gather as a DU community to share the challenges and opportunities of transcending the institutional, professional and personal choices that tend to separate core identity/integrity from day to day actions. The meetings are open to all faculty (of any rank) and staff (of any title).  The Conversations are hosted by the Office of Teaching and Learning and facilitated by OTL Faculty Teaching Fellow, Professor Paul Michalec from the Morgridge College of Education. The Heart of Higher Education Conversations create a positive and constructive space where staff and faculty can explore ways of re-connecting calling with professional responsibilities. Our time together is bounded by norms designed to create an open invitation to share while respecting individual choices to not share at a particular time. Prior to each meeting an agenda and brief reflective reading is sent out.

Come late or leave early.  This is an invitation for self-care.  No guilt necessary.   

Does the idea of “work-life” balance make you want to laugh – or cry – as you juggle raising children and your academic workload? You are not alone! The Parenting and Productivity group will foster a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere to tackle the specific challenges facing academics who are parenting children (or anyone else who provides time-intensive and physically demanding dependent care). Join us for donuts and a hot beverage as we watch and discuss NCFDD’s four-week series on Parenting and Productivity.

This Faculty Learning Community is centered around Asao B. Inoue and Mya Poe’s book Race and Writing Assessment (2012).

Facilitated by the Director of Inclusive Teaching and the Director of Faculty Learning Groups and Scholarships, community members will read the edited collection of established and up-and-coming scholars in composition studies to explore how writing assessment needs to change to account for the increasing diversity of students in college classrooms today.

Please join us in exploring how to incorporate the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning into the balance of your work at DU. Blending your teaching and research agendas is a great way to invigorate your course design through a systematic approach.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Community will meet approximately every 3 weeks to engage in discussion around systematically studying our teaching and student learning. We will be using the following two texts:

Chick, N.L. (2018). SoTL in action. Illuminating critical moments of practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Bishop-Clark, C. & Dietz-Uhler, B. (2012). Engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning. A guide to the process, and how to develop a project from start to finish. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Please join us if you are new to this topic or have been involved for years. 

The Office of Teaching and Learning and the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education are jointly sponsoring a faculty learning community (FLC) for the Assistant Professor ranked faculty hired for the academic year 2018-19 and 2019-20. The name of this FLC is Teacher-Scholar Faculty Learning Community. Our goal is to provide clarity in the complex navigation of a mid-size university. We also want to make explicit the duality of the teacher-scholar role. We believe that a FLC will build a sense of community and at the same time minimize the possible feelings of isolation. The long-term outcome is the increased likelihood of retaining highly-qualified talent.

 

Our goal is to support and engage new assistant professors in a year-long professional development experience that specially addresses the following topics:

  1. Beginning research as a DU Faculty
  2. DU IRB processes
  3. Seed Grant overview
  4. How to plan your time to accomplish good teaching, research and writing
  5. Promote accountability partners among this group

This Faculty Learning Community is centered around Z Nicolazzo’s book Trans* in College: Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion (2017).

 

Facilitated by the Director of Inclusive Teaching and the Director of Faculty Learning Groups and Scholarship, community members will read the text alongside critical pedagogy scholarship to develop a deep understanding of students’ needs and best practices in responsive curriculum design, classroom management and assessment of teaching and learning.

This Faculty Learning Community is centered around Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility book. DiAngelo brings “language to the emotional structures that make true discussions about racial attitudes difficult [and] in doing so, [she] moves our national discussion forward with new rules of engagement.”

We will explore how the phenomenon of white fragility impacts how we show up in the classroom, and how we make space for all our students to grow and thrive. Our goal is to unpack “how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively” to increase our intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness and enact Inclusive Excellence.

Co-facilitated by OTL Directors Dr. Valentina LaGrave and Dr. Karen Swanson. This is a collaborative Faculty Learning Community structured around book chapters. Participants will take turns leading the discussion, and will receive a copy of DiAngelo’s book once registration is closed.

We will meet every other week on Tuesdays, beginning on September 17th in the OTL Conference Room. Please feel free to bring your lunch and anything else to be comfortable in the community.

The 14-Day Challenge is an opportunity for you to experiment with daily writing, online community, and supportive accountability. It’s very simple:

  1. You commit to write every day for at least 30 minutes.
  2. At the beginning of your writing time, you login to our online community, start the timer, complete your writing, and post your progress at the end.
  3. You take 5 minutes to support other writers in your group by commenting on their progress.

This is NOT for you if: 1) you don’t want to post your progress on a daily basis and/or 2) you don’t want to interact with other people.

If you’re up for the challenge, then we can’t wait for you to join us!

A corner stone of the DU approach to faculty development is the Peer-To-Peer (P2P) conversation which faculty are encouraged to host every three years.  Complete information on hosting these conversations is located on the Faculty Senate website at: https://www.du.edu/facsen/faculty-development/index.html. The intention of the P2P conversations is to promote a form of professional engagement that is often missing from higher education communities because of current political, economic, and social constraints. P2P conversations are not intended to replace other forms of faculty to faculty conversations which occur in less formal settings or gatherings. The P2P conversations differ in that they are formally structured around key moments in the life of a faculty, focused on professional development, and are bounded by norms of confidentiality. A P2P committee consists of one-host (the faculty convening the conversation) and 3-4 committee members who use Open/Honest questions to help the faculty convener gain wisdom, perspective, and deeper understanding of their professional/personal problem of practice.

The Office of Teaching and Learning in collaboration with Paul Michalec from the Morgridge College of Education hosted general training sessions and two P2P full-sessions in 2018-2019. 

2019-2020 Next Steps

During the 2019-2020 academic year the Office of Teaching and Learning will host three general training/information sessions, once each quarter (dates yet to be determined).  All faculty are invited to attend.  Participation in the general information session does not presume that faculty will host a full P2P session.  The session will provide, however, a complete understanding of the process and potential benefits of faculty participation. 

Complete information (training documents and rationale) are available on the DU Faculty Senate website: https://www.du.edu/facsen/faculty-development/index.html  Additionally, Paul Michalec at paul.michalec@du.edu and Kate Willink at Kate.Willink@du.edu are available for further conversation, resource materials, or questions about the P2P process. 

For the last several years, FSEM, ASEM, Writing Program, and Honors faculty members have piloted an ePortfolio curriculum with a reflective framework. Out of this group of faculty, the ePortfolio Faculty Learning Community was formed as a way to stay connected and informed about ePortflios and High-Impact Practices and to also have a place to learn more about ways to effectively integrate them into our classrooms and across campus. Learn more at http://portfolio.du.edu/eFLC.

In the spring of 2019 DU faculty were invited, through the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) to join Paul Michalec (Morgridge College of Education) and Paula Adamo (Languages and Literature) for a conversation and exploration of Laura Rendon’s book; Sentipensante: Sensing/Thinking.  Her book offers a rich description of a teaching philosophy and engaged pedagogy that favors holism, integration, and community while also attending to critical thinking and rigor.  Core to her reconceptualization of teaching and learning in higher education is the Aztec understanding of “difrasismo”, where two allied concepts (subject and object) are pulled together forming a third unified concept (knowing in relationship).  Rendon’s goal is to free the hearts and minds of professors and students in service of learning.  She brings to the conversation her experience in higher education as well as data from conversations with faculty who teach in ways counter to more traditional forms of pedagogy in the academy. 

2019-2020 Next Steps

Paula Adamo and Paul Michalec are continuing the conversation through the creation of a Faculty Learning Community (FLC).  All faculty, regardless of whether or not they read the book or participated in the book study, are welcome.  The Sentipensante Faculty Learning Community will meet from 12:00-1:00 in the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) conference room located on the third floor of Anderson Academic Commons.  Bring your lunch. 

Additional Information...

Inclusive Classroom Communication
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Research Group
Sentipensante Faculty Learning Community
  1. Safety and trust. In order for participants to connect with one another, they must have a sense of safety and trust. This is especially true when participants reveal weaknesses in their teaching or ignorance of teaching processes or literature.
  2. In an atmosphere of openness, participants can feel free to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of retribution.
  3. In order to coalesce as a learning community, members need to feel that they are valued and respected as people. It is important for the university to acknowledge their participation by financially supporting community projects and participation at FLC topic–related conferences.
  4. Members must respond respectfully to one another, and the facilitator(s) must respond quickly to the participants. The facilitator should welcome the expression of concerns and preferences and, when appropriate, share these with individuals and the entire FLC.
  5. The importance of collaboration in consultation and group discussion on individual members’ projects and on achieving community learning outcomes hinges on group members’ ability to work with and respond to one another. In addition to individual projects, joint projects and presentations should be welcomed.
  6. Learning outcomes are enhanced by relating the subject matter of the FLC to the participants’ teaching, courses, scholarship, professional interests, and life experiences. All participants should be encouraged to seek out and share teaching and other real-life examples to illustrate these outcomes.
  7. Expectations for the quality of FLC outcomes should be high, engendering a sense of progress, scholarship, value, and accomplishment. Sessions should include, for example, some in which individuals share syllabi and report on their individual projects.
  8. Activities must include social opportunities to lighten up and bond and should take place in invigorating environments. For example, a retreat can take place off-campus at a nearby country inn, state park, historic site, or the like.
  9. Esprit de corps. Sharing individual and community outcomes with colleagues in the academy should generate pride and loyalty. For example, when the community makes a campus presentation, participants strive to provide an excellent session.
  10. A sense of empowerment is both a crucial element and a desired out- come of participation in an FLC. In the construction of a transformative learning environment, the participants gain a new view of themselves and a new sense of confidence in their abilities. Faculty members leave their year of participation with better courses and a clearer understanding of themselves and their students. Key outcomes include scholarly teaching and contributions to the scholarship of teaching.

Cox, M. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. In M. Cox & L. Richlin, Building faculty learning communities, pp. 5-23.  New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 97. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Who to contact?

Contact our office if you have an idea or are interested in facilitating a Faculty Learning Community.

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