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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 Pru Cuper who is the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment during the Spring 2017 semester, 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. For Academic Year 2016-2017, the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment Jamie Landau responded to that recommendation by forming a New Faculty Learning Community at the start of the Fall 2016 semester. 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 Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment and other invited speakers. This Fall 2016 semester, the New Faculty Learning Community will gather every three weeks for events such as a diversity workshop to learn how to make the classroom more inclusive, Halloween party with their mentors and families, visit to the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Q&A with new assistant professors from last year, and tips from deans and faculty representatives on promotion and tenure committees across campus. As the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment for the Spring 2017 semester, Pru Cuper will facilitate the New Faculty Learning Community during that time frame.

Current faculty members in this learning community include Dave Beaudry, Allison Davidson, Jillian Descoteaux, Harlan Fichtenholtz, Ashley Greene, Erin Greeter, Amanda Hickey, Jayme Hines, Taneem Husain, Manpreet Kaur, Caitlyn Parmelee, and Thomas Webler.

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 faculty. For Academic Year 2016-2017, the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment Jamie Landau responded to that recommendation by forming a Peer Mentor Faculty Learning Community at the start of the Fall 2016 semester. The initial planning for this new mentoring program began in late Spring 2016 when the Associate Provost solicited all current tenure-track faculty about whether they were interested in volunteering to be peer mentors to incoming tenure-track faculty. Over the summer, the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment asked the incoming tenure-track faculty whether they wanted a peer mentor. Mentoring matches were made using research on faculty mentoring and other factors (e.g. CVs). The mentors and mentees gathered for the first time over lunch during new faculty orientation and meet one-on-one during the academic year. The mentors were also invited to a Halloween party with their mentees and families and an end-of-semester social gathering at a restaurant downtown. 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 Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment. As the Interim Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment for the Spring 2017 semester, Pru Cuper will facilitate this faculty learning community during that time frame.

Current faculty members in this learning community include Paul Baures, Fitni Destani, Jerry Jasinski, Sander Lee, Mark Long, Therese Seibert, Margaret Smith, Kate Tirabassi, Susan Wade, and Peggy Walsh.

Open Classroom Days

In Spring 2017 Faculty Enrichment is piloting an Open Classroom Days program. This is 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 our campus have volunteered to open their classrooms for their colleagues to visit and observe their courses during the two-week open house period from March 27 - April 7, 2017. All faculty are invited and encouraged to take part in this 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. The list of open class sessions and sign-up form (to ensure that faculty volunteers don’t have more visitors than their classrooms can accommodate) is available here.

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, and alternative approaches to final assessments. Two Teaching Innovation Studios will occur in the Spring 2017 semester on the topics of structuring successful group work and facilitating successful group dynamics.

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

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) and 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). The book selected for the Fall 2016 semester is Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel (Belknap Press, 2014).

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.

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: Cheshire House 101 at 67 Winchester Street

Phone: 603-358-2900
Email: lfarina@keene.edu