Faculty Learning Communities
A Learning Community is an active group of colleagues who work collaboratively on an on-going basis, focusing on a particular pedagogical or research topic, issue in higher education, or other topic of shared interest. By design, learning communities promote collegiality, and they also encourage innovation by providing a safe space to explore new ideas, experiment, and reflect with your colleagues.
Faculty Enrichment staff facilitate some learning communities, but we support learning communities in a variety of other ways: selecting topics, identifying possible members, promotion and communication, logistical and financial support (including the use of Huntress 12 as a meeting space), research, help with data collection, and as participants in the groups.
To join a learning community or any groups listed below, contact the facilitator mentioned in the description. If you have questions about 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 Karen Cangialosi or Instructional Consultant Chris Odato.
Open Classroom Days
Our annual Open Classroom Days program is an opportunity to observe your colleagues and learn from each other. This a two-week open house in which faculty from all ranks and disciplines open their classrooms for their colleagues to visit. Faculty Enrichment initiated this program in the Spring 2017 semester in response to input from faculty themselves who wanted another structure to informally observe each other’s teaching as a catalyst for discussion and collaboration, as an effort to promote and facilitate these conversations, and to recognize our faculty’s dedication to teaching and learning. Open Classroom Days this fall is scheduled for the two-week period of October 1 to October 12, 2018. This year, 15 faculty have volunteered to open 18 courses to visitors. You can see the list of open courses, and sign up to visit (to ensure that volunteers do not have more visitors than they can accommodate), at this link.
Teaching Innovation Studios
Teaching Innovation Studios 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. Examples of past topics include student empowerment and learner-centered teaching, active learning strategies, self- and peer assessment, alternative approaches to final assessments, structuring successful group work, efficient course design strategies, and making larger classes feel small. The Teaching Innovation Studios will continue in AY 2018-19. Visit this site for descriptions and resources from past studios.
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, promotes student agency, 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 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 is facilitated by Karen Cangialosi, please contact Karen if you are interested in joining us.
The Daily Writing Habit
After attending the college’s first-ever Faculty Writing Retreat in summer 2017 that was co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Faculty Enrichment, Assistant Professor of Communication Amber Davisson decided to form and facilitate a faculty learning community for writing. She solicited participants from across campus, which resulted in two Faculty Writing Accountability Groups meeting throughout Academic Year 2017-2018. Members of these groups commit to writing for at least 15 minutes every weekday and to meeting once a week for 30 minutes to check in, discuss ongoing projects, and hold each other accountable to daily writing habits that help maintain their research agendas. As a guide, the groups use Wendy Belcher’s 2009 book, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success.
Exploring Creative Writing
This faculty learning community, co-facilitated by Meriem Pages and Irene McGarrity, supports faculty who are exploring creative writing styles that are different from their primary scholarship. This group provides a non-judgmental, supportive environment. Members of this group commit to working on their writing and checking in with each other in person every week for 30 minutes to discuss their progress and concerns, to provide support and accountability, and to workshop their writing. On the fourth week of each month, the group gathers for an hour to provide lengthier feedback on each other’s writing, or to meet with a guest speaker. Contact Meriem Pages if you are interested in joining.
Teaching Writing and Thinking Learning Community
Kate Tirabassi, Director of the Center for Writing, and Mark Long, Director of the Integrative Studies Program continue to co-facilitate this ongoing 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. One example includes, Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom by John Bean (Jossey-Bass, 2011).
Book Authoring Support Initiative
This group supports faculty who are in the process of writing, or planning to write, a book. Contact Elvis Foster for more information or if you are interested in joining.
Teaching and Learning Book Club
The Teaching and Learning Book Club provides participants with an opportunity to learn from recently published books about college teaching and larger issues in higher education. They engage in cross-disciplinary discussions 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), The First Generation Student Experience by Jeff Davis (Stylus, 2010), and The New Education by Cathy Davidson. Please contact Chris Odato if you are interested in joining us.
Pedagogical Journal Club
Each month we 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 Chris Odato if you are interested in joining a journal club.
Department Chair Roundtables
Department Chair Roundtables addresses the specific needs of new department chairs, other current department chairs, or faculty who might soon become chair. Department Chair Roundtables occur two to three times a semester and are co-facilitated by peer department chairs, the Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment, and other invited faculty or administrators who offer expertise on a particular topic. Sample discussion topics include what are the responsibilities of department chairs and specific strategies to succeed at those tasks, developing and implementing long-range department goals and vision, how to cultivate community and teamwork, conflict management and interpersonal communication, resource allocation and budget management, and tips for marketing and promotion. Contact Coordinator of Faculty Enrichment, Karen Cangialosi, if you are interested.
LLC Faculty Learning Community
This LLC Task Force, now known as the LLC Oversight Committee, is made up of faculty and administrators from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Faculty from more than 10 different disciplines across the college taught 2017-2018 First-Year LLCs in the Living-Learning Commons. The Living and Learning Commons is the newest residential hall. The building opened for the Fall 2016 semester with a state-of-the-art design that is meant for first-year LLCs. Graham Warder leads the group since he is the current faculty co-chair of the LLC Oversight Committee and has also taught LLC courses before. This learning community is topic-based since it addresses the specific needs of faculty teaching LLCs.
Team-Based Learning Group
Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a collaborative learning strategy that engages students in higher-order thinking during class. This group of faculty, in collaboration with Instructional Consultant Chris Odato, supports each other in implementing TBL in their courses, including meeting to workshop TBL materials for their courses and supporting each other through the course redesign process. Contact Chris if you are interested.
Humanities Faculty Research Group
Lisa DiGiovanni facilitates 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 scholarship-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.
Holocaust and Genocide Studies Study Group
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 Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Jim Waller and the Cohen Center Director Hank Knight.