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Faculty Learning Communities

To join a faculty learning community or any of the groups listed below, contact the facilitator or faculty mentioned in the description. If you have questions about faculty learning communities, want to form a new one, or already facilitate or participate in a group that we could add to this list, talk to the Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment Jamie Landau or Instructional Consultant Chris Odato.

New Faculty Learning Community

The Faculty Development Committee’s Spring 2016 report called for a redesign of the college’s former year-long programming for new tenure-track, clinical, contract, artist-in-residence, contract, and post-doc faculty. As a result, a New Faculty Learning Community launched for Academic Year 2016-2017. This is an intensive year-long cohort-based faculty learning community that addresses the specific needs of faculty who are in the first year of their jobs at Keene State College. The discussion topics and activities of the New Faculty Learning Community are shaped by the participants but, at least initially, they are facilitated by the Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment and other invited speakers. The New Faculty Learning Community gathers every three weeks for events such as a panel with new assistant professors from the previous year, receiving tips for promotion and tenure from deans and faculty at different stages of their careers, learning best practices for advising and mentoring students, and teaching with academic technology or high-impact pedagogy.

Current faculty members in this learning community include Karen Alix, Brian Bethel, Colin Brown, Gina Chase, Priyanka Chwodhury, Meenalosini Cruz, Allison Davidson, Lance Neeper, Christopher Parsons, Dena Shields, Tammy Warner, and Christina Wright.

Peer Mentor Faculty Learning Community

The Faculty Development Committee’s Spring 2016 report called for a redesign of the college’s mentoring program for new tenure-track and clinical faculty. As a result, a Peer Mentor Faculty Learning Community launched for Academic Year 2016-2017. During the spring semester, all current tenure-track faculty are solicited as to whether they want to volunteer to be a peer mentor to an incoming new tenure-track or clinical faculty. Over the summer, the Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment asks the incoming new faculty whether they want a peer mentor. Mentoring matches are made using research on faculty mentoring. The mentors and mentees gather for the first time in person for a luncheon and mentoring workshop during new faculty orientation, meet one-on-one throughout the academic year, and are invited to other social gatherings off campus. The Peer Mentor Faculty Learning Community is topic-based since it addresses the specific needs of mentors and mentoring. The discussion topics and activities are shaped by the participants and facilitated by the Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment.

Current faculty members in this learning community include Jeannie-Marie Brown, Sue Castriotta, John Finneran, Elvis Foster, Renate Gebauer, Carolyn Keller, Mark Long, Craig Sylvern, Peggy Walsh, and Susan Whittemore.

LLC Faculty Learning Community

During Academic Year 2015-2016, a Living and Learning Community (LLC) Task Force was charged by the Provost to implement the Strategic Plan’s recommendation to build a LLC program at Keene State College. This LLC Task Force, now known as the LLC Oversight Committee, is made up of faculty and administrators from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. They recruited faculty from more than 10 different disciplines across the college to propose and teach these 2016-2017 First-Year LLCs in the Living-Learning Commons. The Living and Learning Commons is the newest residential hall built on campus. The building opened for the Fall 2016 semester with a state-of-the-art design that is meant for first-year LLCs. For the Fall 2016 semester, Jamie Landau is facilitating the LLC Faculty Learning Community and Graham Warder will facilitate it during the Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 semesters. They are members of the LLC Oversight Committee and currently teaching LLC courses. This learning community is topic-based since it addresses the specific needs of faculty teaching LLCs.

Some current faculty members in this learning community include Philip Barker, Paul Baures, Chris Burke, Pat Dolenc, Renate Gebauer, Steve Harfenist, Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez, Randall Hoyt, Manpreet Kaur, Jamie Landau, Irene McGarrity, Emily Robins Sharpe, Emily McGill-Rutherford, Kim Schmidl-Gagne, Deb White-Stanley, Graham Warder, and Jill Weiss.

Teaching Innovation Studios

During Academic Year 2015-2016, a group of junior faculty expressed interest in forming a community of practice with colleagues to support each other in learning and applying innovative pedagogy. They partnered with Instructional Consultant Chris Odato to hold a series of Teaching Innovation Studios. These are opportunities for faculty to join in-depth exchanges of ideas around a selected topic related to college teaching, with a focus on participants sharing their strategies (e.g. successes and challenges) and engaging in discussion with their colleagues about ideas, questions, and recommendations. Sample past topics were student empowerment and learner-centered teaching, active learning strategies, enhancing student participation in class, self- and peer assessment, alternative approaches to final assessments, and structuring successful group work. Two Teaching Innovation Studios will occur in the Fall 2017 semester. Visit this site for descriptions and resources from past studios.

Current faculty members in this learning community include Dudley Blossom, Irene McGarrity, Sarah McGregor, and Caitlyn Parmelee.

Team-Based Learning Group

In March 2017 the Teaching Innovation Studios group organized a workshop (supported by a Faculty Enrichment Grant) on Team-Based Learning (TBL), a collaborative learning strategy that engages students in higher-order thinking during class. Inspired by the workshop, a group of faculty, in collaboration with Instructional Consultant Chris Odato, decided to form a learning community for faculty who plan to implement some form of TBL in their courses, including meeting to workshop TBL materials for their courses and supporting each other through the course redesign process.

Faculty members participating in this learning community include Irene McGarrity, Dudley Blossom, Sarah McGregor, Craig Sylvern, and Chris Burke.

Teaching and Learning Book Club

During Academic Year 2015-2016, a few faculty from different disciplines along with Instructional Consultant Chris Odato recognized the need for a book club that would help them learn from recently published books about college teaching and larger issues in higher education. They formed the Teaching and Learning Book Club to engage in cross-disciplinary discussions once a month and apply what they learn to their individual courses, with the potential to initiate broader implementation across their departments and campus. Books read in the past include Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty by James M. Lang (Harvard University Press, 2013), How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, & Marie K. Norman (Jossey-Bass, 2010), Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel (Belknap Press, 2014), and The First Generation Student Experience by Jeff Davis (Stylus, 2010).

Current faculty members in this learning community include Chitra Akkoor, Cynthia Hays, Sarah McGregor, Loren Launen, and Susan Whittemore.

Teaching Writing and Thinking Learning Community

During the Fall 2016 semester, Kate Tirabassi and Mark Long formed the Teaching Writing and Thinking Learning Community as a follow-up to May 2016 workshops run by the Center for Writing and the Integrative Studies Program. They co-facilitate this topic-based faculty learning community that meets a few times a semester to discuss books and other published research about how to teach writing and critical thinking. They are currently reading and discussing the book, Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom by John Bean (Jossey-Bass, 2011).

Faculty members who have participated in this learning community include Michael Antonnuci, Rick Foley, Darrell Hucks, Steve Kessler, Rose Kundanis, Mark Long, George Russell, Fred Taylor, Tanya Sturtz, Kate Tirabassi, and Mike Wakefield.

Open Pedagogy Learning Community

The Open Pedagogy Learning Community is a group of interested faculty who meet regularly to read about, discuss, and practice the principles of open pedagogy. An open pedagogical approach emphasizes collaboration and community, and encourages students to participate in their learning with an audience that goes beyond just their professor, their classroom, and their institution. In doing so, it changes the way students think about and take ownership of their learning, fostering an environment for students to become creators, not just consumers of knowledge. We will share ideas and experiences, discuss the philosophy of ‘Open’, wrestle with the problems and challenges it presents, and read about what others around the world are doing to transform student learning using open pedagogy. This topic-based learning community will be facilitated by Karen Cangialosi, Professor of Biology and Faculty Fellow in Faculty Enrichment for the Spring 2017 semester, in collaboration with Instructional Consultant Chris Odato. Please contact Karen if you are interested in joining us.

Pedagogical Journal Club

During the Spring 2017 Chitra Akkoor, Associate Professor of Communication and Faculty Fellow in Faculty Enrichment for the Spring 2017 semester, and Instructional Consultant Chris Odato will be facilitating a Pedagogical Journal Club focusing on scholarship about first-generation college students. Each month we will select a peer-reviewed academic journal article to read and discuss as a group, with discussion focusing on how we can apply insights from this research to make our classrooms more effective learning environments for this student population. Please contact Chitra Akkoor or Chris Odato if you are interested in joining us.

Humanities Faculty Research Group

During Academic Year 2012-2013, several junior faculty in the humanities expressed the need for research and writing groups when asked for feedback from the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research about how to support faculty in their research agendas. Jamie Landau, who at the time was an Assistant Professor, applied for and received an Indirect Cost Reinvestment Grant to cover expenses related to the formation and first gathering of the Humanities Faculty Research Group. Jamie Landau and Lisa DiGiovanni co-facilitate this group that includes faculty who span in ranks and have various humanities backgrounds. Once a month every semester, this group meets for 1.5 hours on a late Friday afternoon to workshop a scholarly manuscript-in-progress that is written by one of its members so as to revise it for publication, motivate their research agendas, and engage in cutting-edge interdisciplinary conversations.

Current faculty members in this learning community include Sasha Davis, Amber Davisson, Lisa DiGiovanni, Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez, Ashley Greene, Taneem Husain, Jamie Landau, Sander Lee, Emily McGill-Rutherford, Emily Robins Sharpe, John Slefinger, Marin Sullivan, Paul Vincent, and Jim Waller.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies Study Group

The Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGS) Study Group began years ago as educational public outreach by the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. When the college launched a Holocaust and Genocide Studies major for academic year 2010-2011, the study group grew to include even more faculty and students from Keene State College. This group gathers monthly during the fall and spring semesters (usually on Thursdays toward the end of the work day) to read scholarly literature or other texts related to the Holocaust and genocide, including research written by participants in the group. The HGS Study Group is co-facilitated by full Professors of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Paul Vincent and Jim Waller, or the Cohen Center Director Hank Knight.

Some past and current faculty members in this group include Larry Benaquist, Philip Barker, Rosemarie Bernardi, Lisa DiGiovanni, Renate Gebauer, Ashley Greene, Peter Greene, Carolyn Keller, Hank Knight, Jamie Landau, Sander Lee, Irina Leimbacher, Emily Robins Sharpe, Therese Seibert, John Sturtz, Jim Waller, and Paul Vincent.

Open Classroom Days

In Spring 2017 Faculty Enrichment piloted an Open Classroom Days program. This was an opportunity for faculty across all ranks and disciplines to open their classrooms to colleagues who are interested in exploring how others approach their classes and observing different teaching strategies and instructional tools. Thirteen faculty from across the campus volunteered to open their classrooms for their colleagues to visit and observe their courses during the two-week open house period. Open Classroom Days engaged the whole Keene State community in the effort to promote and facilitate conversations among faculty, to make teaching a more public practice on our campus, and to recognize our faculty’s dedication to teaching and learning. We will have another Open Classroom Days program in Fall 2017.

Workshops on peer faculty observations of teaching

During Academic Year 2015-2016, Dottie Bauer and Pru Cuper, both full Professors in the Department of Education, collaborated with Instructional Consultant Chris Odato to design and run a series of workshops to support faculty in preparing, conducting, and debriefing peer faculty observations of teaching. When carefully planned and delivered, peer observations of teaching allow a distinct opportunity for faculty to support and enhance their classroom practices. The initial workshop, "Peer Observation: An Opportunity for Productive Dialogue and Development,” presents a framework for peer observations that includes a pre-observation meeting to plan the observation and, following the observation, a self-reflection by the instructor being observed prior to the debriefing meeting with the observer. The follow-up workshop, "Debriefing Peer Observations: Constructive Conversations for Professional Growth," focuses on providing effective, constructive feedback. The workshop series continued this Fall 2016 semester and the co-facilitators will work with particular departments and groups of faculty during the Spring 2017 semester.

Programs on first-year and first-generation students

A First-Generation Student Panel will occur on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Huntress 12. At this panel, faculty will have an opportunity to hear from four first-generation students at Keene State who are at different stages in their college careers. They will discuss and answer questions about challenges they’ve encountered and the strategies that have helped them succeed. This panel was organized by Faculty Enrichment in collaboration with Aspire. In addition, during the Spring 2017 semester, Faculty Fellow Chitra Akkoor will conduct research, facilitate a faculty learning community, and offer workshops on teaching first-generation students.

Speak Outs and Great Conversations on faculty enrichment

The Faculty Development Committee recommended a Speak Out to solicit feedback on the future of faculty enrichment. The goal of a Speak Out is to hold a public event to which everyone is welcome and everyone’s voice matters, since the discussion topics and action steps are shaped by participants. At this Speak Out, there will most likely be discussion about all aspects of the college that might affect faculty enrichment, ranging from organizational structures to how to make peer faculty mentoring more effective to ideas for programming themes and workshops. During Academic Year 2015-2016, representatives from the newly elected Faculty Enrichment Committee and the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment will facilitate at least one Speak Out. Great Conversations are another public forum for campus-wide discussions about faculty enrichment. Two Great Conversations took place during the Spring 2016 semester, such as one that focused on academic standards that was led by faculty on the Academic Standards Task Force. A proposed topic for a Great Conversation this academic year is support for international faculty.


Contact Faculty Enrichment

Linda Farina
Program Support Coordinator
Office: Hale Building 104
Phone: 603-358-2900
E-mail: lfarina@keene.edu
Mailstop: 3535