FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITIES


Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) bring faculty together to work on projects of mutual interest1. This coming year, we offer several new FLC opportunities. Each FLC consists of a facilitator and a group of 8-12 faculty.  All faculty are eligible to participate. The groups meet over the course of a semester or year, working on either collaborative or parallel projects. At the conclusion of an FLC, a product that can be publicly shared typically results. Most communities are cross-disciplinary and utilize technological means of communication to enhance face-to-face gatherings.

Facilitators and participants receive a professional development allocation, as indicated in the descriptions below. The FLC also enjoys a budget of up to $250 per semester for supplies, books, meals, etc. The FLCs are supported by the staff of the Pew FTLC as described in the application materials. Each FLC has its own application deadline, so read below for additional details.

 

2013 - 2014 Learning Communities

 

Teaching with Open Education Resources 

Description: Students, parents, faculty, and administrators are painfully aware of the high cost of traditional textbooks. In addition to the expense, commercial teaching resources may be unnecessarily restrictive from a teaching point of view.

Open education resources (OER) provide a cost-free alternative and create important pedagogical opportunities. For example, professors using OER in their teaching can select, combine, and even adapt the content to develop the most effective course materials. Using/developing OER can also foster increased student involvement in the course by creating opportunities for collaboration or student-driven content. Many faculty members choose to create OER for use in their courses and beyond.

Whether you’d like to create your own, or use existing open education resources, this faculty learning community will provide a forum to explore the issues surrounding OER such as Creative Commons licensing, perpetual access, publishing/hosting, and integrating OER into your teaching.

We seek participants for this FLC of 6-12 faculty that will meet regularly, working over the course of the 2013-14 academic year to:

•   share experiences on using (or developing) open education resources in the classroom
•   review scholarly sources for the design, implementation, and assessment of open education resources
•  craft an individualized plan for either integrating existing OER into your teaching, or developing an open education resource
•  discuss and develop plans for building OER awareness at GVSU

Facilitators for this Faculty Learning Community are Sarah Beaubien, University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Outreach Coordinator and Charles Lowe, Professor of Writing.

Participants will attend regular meetings, participate in discussions and shared activities, and prepare a publicly disseminated final report, class activity handout, presentation, or other product. Active participants will receive a $100 stipend per semester ($200/total).

To apply as a participant, submit a letter of interest to Christine Rener at renerc@gvsu.edu. Briefly describe your interest in participating in an open education resources FLC, listing the aspect of OER you are most interested in pursuing.

Application deadline: Friday. September 20

 

Creating Community and Increasing Student Engagement in the Online or Hybrid Classroom

Facilitators: Amy Schelling and Linda McCrea, College of Education

Description: This faculty learning community (FLC) will be comprised of a group of faculty working over the course of the Fall 2013 semester to consider best practices in creating a fully engaged online/hybrid classroom.

Faculty will explore multiple strategies and tools to engage learners with the content, one another, and the instructor to improve student learning. Faculty will explore the research on best practices for online/hybrid instruction and learning and share their experiential knowledge of the same to increase student: engagement; satisfaction; and retention across the GVSU community. One goal of the FLC will be to create an artifact/product to share with other faculty (to be determined by the group).

We are especially interested in working with faculty from across the university in multiple disciplines teaching in an online/hybrid format

Tentative meeting dates are the following Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm: September 19; October 17th; November 14th; and December 5th. Participants will be paid a stipend of $100.

To apply, submit the following via email to Christine Rener, Pew FTLC at renerc@gvsu.edu.

1.     Name, department, contact information

2.     A brief description of your experience with online/hybrid teaching

3.     Why do you wish to participate in this FLC?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Amy Schelling, Linda McCrea or Christine Rener.

Application deadline: Monday, September 16, 2013 

 

Strategies for Engaging Undergraduate Students in Qualitative Methods of Inquiry in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Facilitator: Melissa Morison, Classics

Description: In collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS), we are able to support a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) related to strategies for conducting qualitative research with undergraduate students. 

In their report The Heart of the Matter, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences recognize the role of the physical and biological sciences in contributing to scientific achievements, but charge the higher education community to invest “invest more time, energy, and resources in research and education in the humanities and the social sciences” (pg. 9)  This FLC will take on that charge by exploring methods and approaches that are effective in preparing and working with undergraduate students in qualitative methods from disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Examples of such strategies include networking, identifying a question or problem of interest that can benefit from qualitative inquiry, group inquiry, scaffolding skill development in data collection, frequent meetings and clear expectations.

We seek participants for this FLC comprising a group of 6-12 faculty that meet regularly, working over the course of the 2013-14 academic year to:

  • share experiences with teaching undergraduate students how to conduct independent research with qualitative methodology
  • review scholarly sources for the design, implementation, assessment of effective strategies
  • craft an individualized plan for adoption of effective strategies

Participants will attend regular meetings, participate in discussions and shared activities, and prepare a publicly disseminated final report, class activity handout, presentation, or other product. Active participants will receive a $200 stipend per semester ($400/total). 

Application Process:

To apply, submit a letter of interest to Christine Rener at renerc@gvsu.edu. Briefly describe your interest in participating in a qualitative research FLC, listing the types of research activities and strategies you are most interested in pursuing. 

Application deadline: Friday, September 6. 

 

Motivating and Supporting Adult Learners

Facilitators: Judy Whipps, Liberal Studies and Glenna Decker, Instructional Designer, IDeL and part-time faculty, Adult and Higher Education

Description: This faculty learning community (FLC) will be comprised of an interdisciplinary group of faculty working over the course of the Fall 2013 semester to understand best practices in educating adult learners (by this term, we are referring to students who are over 25, who have been in the workforce for a number of years, and who are typically returning to further their education.)

Returning adult learners usually have multiple commitments and challenges, and their learning styles and strengths are often different than our traditional age students. They also bring a variety of experiences that can enhance the classroom learning for all students. In this learning community faculty will explore the literature on effective learning methods for adult students, as well as learn from each other’s experiences. We will explore how we can design our courses to be inclusive of and responsive to adult learning, in both online and in-seat classroom environments. Proposed readings will be from Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn by Raymond Wlodkowski, Margery Ginsberg’s work on Culturally Responsive Teaching, and/or Stephen Brookfield’s Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults. We also look forward to your suggestions.

This learning community is primarily focused on teaching undergraduate students and we welcome faculty who work with veterans on our campus. Faculty who are interested in teaching accelerated courses for adult students are particularly encouraged to participate.

Tentative meeting dates are the following Mondays from 3:00-4:00 pm: September 23; October 21; November 11; and December 8. Participants will be paid a stipend of $100.

To apply, submit the following via email to Christine Rener, Pew FTLC at renerc@gvsu.edu.

1.     Name, department, contact information
2.     A brief description of your experience with teaching returning adult students
3.     Why do you wish to participate in this FLC?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Judy Whipps or Christine Rener.

Application deadline: Monday, September 16, 2013

 

An Alternative to Lecture: Peer Instruction using Clickers

Facilitators: Scott Grissom, Computing and Information Systems (FLC A); Brad Ambrose, Physics (FLC B)

Description: Two independent faculty learning communities (FLCs) will include instructors wanting to explore best practices in peer instruction including classroom management techniques, anatomy of effective questions and supporting technology.

Peer Instruction is an active-learning pedagogy in which most lecture time is replaced with students responding to multiple-choice questions displayed on the classroom screen.  As directed by the instructor, students discuss their thinking with a neighbor, each attempting to convince the other that his or her own reasoning is correct.  Changes in student responses from before to after the peer dialogue guide the instructor to decide whether to spend more time on the topic.  Students have had a positive reaction to this approach in several disciplines including physics, chemistry, computer science and mathematics.

Peer instruction is often implemented using standalone ‘clickers’.  However, recent innovations allow students to use their phones, tablets and laptops instead of a clicker, called Bring Your Own Device.  GVSU recommends one of two software vendors: Top Hat and Learning Catalytics.  FLC members can choose to use physical clickers or one of the two BYOD solutions.  Student fees can vary from no cost to $30 per year depending on instructor choices.

To promote lasting change, the FLCs will continue to meet during Winter 2014.  FLC members will be encouraged to learn more about the approach and convert a few lectures during Fall 2013.  Course conversion will continue in Winter 2014 as instructors become more comfortable with the approach.  With special NSF funding, participants will be paid a stipend of $400 for the year.

Tentative meeting day/times for Fall 2013 are:

FLC A – Thursdays 1 – 2pm, dates TBD, Allendale

FLC B – Fridays 11am – 12pm, dates TBD, Allendale

To apply, submit the following via email to Christine Rener, Pew FTLC at renerc@gvsu.edu.

1.     Name, department, contact information
2.     A brief description of your experience with peer instruction
3.     Why do you wish to participate in this FLC?
4.     Which meeting time are you available, FLC-A, FLC-B or both?

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Scott Grissom, Brad Ambrose or Christine Rener.

Application deadline: Monday, September 16, 2013

 

The Inverted/Flipped Classroom: A Gateway to Student Engagement and Lifelong Learning

Facilitator: Robert Talbert, Mathematics 

Description: The inverted or "flipped" classroom is a course design model in which information transfer takes place outside the class meetings and assimilation of information takes place inside the class meeting. Rather than focus class time on listening to lecture and taking notes, students encounter course material on their own schedules through print and video resources, usually stored online. And with the time freed up in class, students can engage in the most challenging material while under the direct and active coaching of the professor.

In this FLC, participants will:

- Study and discuss the theoretical frameworks that support the inverted classroom;

- Examine implementations of the inverted classroom in a variety of disciplines and explore best practices for designing and managing an inverted classroom; and

- Develop short- and long-term plans for inverting at least one of their own classes, in whole or in part.

We will meet together regularly to discuss readings, share ideas and experiences, and develop skills needed to design and run an inverted classroom. The final product of the FLC will be a set of materials that will be used to invert one class from each participant.

The tentative time for meeting is Wednesdays from 3-4pm (dates TBA) in Allendale. If you are interested in the FLC but have a conflict with this time, please indicate an alternative time slot in your email application.

To apply, submit the following via email to Christine Rener, Pew FTLC at renerc@gvsu.edu.

1.     Name, department, contact information
2.     A brief description of your experience with active learning
3.     Why do you wish to participate in this FLC?
 

Application deadline: Monday, September 16, 2013

 

Effective Pedagogies in STEM Undergraduate Research Labs

Facilitators: Merritt Taylor, Biomedical Sciences and Dave Leonard, Chemistry

Description: This faculty learning community (FLC) will explore a wide array of issues involved with mentoring undergraduate students in a laboratory setting.  Discussion topics will include setting research directions, recruiting students, the logistics of training, building a culture of excellence, advising for post-GVSU life, teaching students to maintain notebooks and much more.  Special sessions will cover the unique issues involved in obtaining funding for undergraduate research (both external and internal) and the dissemination of results through conferences and publications.  By the end of the FLC, each participant will create a set of goals and a strategy to achieve them.

Tentative meeting dates are the following Thursdays from 3:00-4:00 pm: September 19, October 10, October 31, November 21 and four dates during Winter semester (TBD). Participants will be paid a stipend of $200 for each semester of participation.

To apply, submit the following via email to Christine Rener, Pew FTLC at renerc@gvsu.edu.

1.     Name, department, contact information
2.     A brief description of your level of experience working with undergraduates in a laboratory setting
3.     Why do you wish to participate in this FLC?

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Merritt Taylor, Dave Leonard or Christine Rener.

Application deadline: Monday, September 16, 2013

 

Strategies for Collaborative Research with Faculty Peers and Undergraduate Students

Facilitators: Peter Wampler, Geology and  Shaily Menon, Biology 

Description: With the support of a National Science Foundation WIDER grant (Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence Based Reforms), we are able to support a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) related to strategies for conducting collaborative research with faculty peers and undergraduate students. The FLC will focus on approaches that are particularly effective in successful collaboration by faculty peers and undergraduate students representing different disciplines. Examples of such strategies include networking, identifying a question or problem of interest that can benefit from multiple disciplinary perspectives, reading from literature in each discipline, developing common language, frequent meetings, and clear expectations from team members.

We seek participants for this FLC comprising a group of 6-12 faculty that meet regularly, working over the course of the 2013-14 academic year to:

  • Discuss the risks and rewards of collaborative research across disciplines and with undergraduates
  • share experiences with interdisciplinary research 
  • review scholarly sources for the design, implementation, assessment of effective strategies
  • craft an individualized plan for adoption of effective strategies
  • Discuss common stumbling blocks that can prevent successful collaboration across disciplines

Participants will attend regular meetings, participate in discussions and shared activities, and prepare a publicly disseminated final report, class activity handout, presentation, or other product. Active participants will receive a $200 stipend per semester ($400/total). 

To apply as a participant, submit a letter of interest to Christine Rener at renerc@gvsu.edu. Briefly describe your interest in participating in an interdisciplinary research FLC, listing the types of research activities and strategies you are most interested in pursuing.

Application deadline: Friday. September 6

 


2012 - 2013 Learning Communities

Exploring the Intersections of Mindfulness, Contemplative Pedagogies, and Reflective TeachingAn Inter-Institutional Faculty Learning Community

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Director, Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, GVSU and Todd Stanislav, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, FSU

Description: Faculty from Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University have formed an inter-institutional faculty learning community for three purposes.        

  1. To enable members to read, discuss, and examine mindfulness and other contemplative practices, both for personal well-being and for use in the teaching and learning process
  2. To provide an environment and context for members to establish a cohesive community of individuals who share similar personal and professional interests, aspirations, and goals
  3. To initiate dialogue about ways to integrate and investigate the impact of contemplative practices on teaching, and student development and learning.

Each faculty participant will, by the end of the learning community experience, write a reflective piece on how a contemplative practice could be integrated into her or his course(s) and personal life. As a faculty learning community, we will draft plans for continued work at or among our institutions in the areas of mindfulness and contemplative pedagogy.

To register, please contact us at ftlc@gvsu.edu or call 331-3498 by January 28, 2013.

Best Practices for Supporting Part-time Faculty at GVSU

Facilitator: Dana Munk, Director,Part-time Faculty Support

Description: This Learning Community is designed for full-time faculty and administrators who are responsible for the oversight of part-time faculty in their department or college. Discussions will focus on issues related to hiring, department and university orientation, administrative and  teaching support, review and contract renewal, and professional development. This community will draw upon the research on best practices for supporting part-time faculty and participants will work together to develop a comprehensive plan for supporting part-time faculty in their department or college.

This community will convene bi-weekly during fall semester.  Please contact ftlc@gvsu.edu or 616-331-3498 to reserve a spot by August 23, 2012.

Academic Service Learning

Facilitator: Patty Bolea, Pew FTLC

Description: Faculty interested in developing service learning projects in their courses, or developing new courses can come together to review pedagogical foundations of service learning as well as practical issues. Faculty will have the opportunity to examine literature related to civic engagement, high impact learning experiences, and transformative learning theory to inform their work.

For additional details, or to register, please contact Patty Bolea at boleap@gvsu.edu.

 

Finding Your Mid-Career Mojo

Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Pew FTLC

Description: You earned your doctorate, survived the tenure process, and achieved success as a teacher and scholar…what next?  This Learning Community, made up of tenured faculty at the rank of associate or full professor from multiple disciplines, is a place for mid-career faculty to seek camaraderie and support as they navigate their futures in higher education.  The group will take time to reflect, exchange ideas, explore new paths, entertain possibilities, and celebrate around where you have been and where you are going.

Meetings will be held in Lake Ontario Hall (or on the downtown campus if the group collectively decides to move) on the following Fridays from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:

  • September 28, 2012
  • October 12, 2012
  • November 9, 2012
  • December 7, 2012
  • January 11, 2013
  • February 8, 2013
  • March 15, 2013
  • April 12, 2013

Please bring your own lunch.  There is a microwave available for heating food.  Dessert and drinks will be provided.  

For additional details, please contact Kathryn Stieler at stielerk@gvsu.edu.

This opportunity is limited to 10 participants.  Please contact ftlc@gvsu.edu or 616-331-3498  to reserve a spot by September 21, 2012.

 

Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew FTLC

Description: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is methodologically rigorous, evidence-based research about student learning in higher education. The methods and results, often transferable to other disciplines, are distinguished from scholarly teaching by virtue of being subject to peer review and disseminated to the Academy. Whether you are at the beginning stages of moving from scholarly teaching into SoTL or are seeking support for an existing SoTL project, this learning community will connect you with practice and practitioners at GVSU and beyond.

For additional details, or to register, please contact Christine Rener at renerc@gvsu.edu.



2011 - 2012 Learning Communities

New Faculty

Facilitators: Christine Rener, Patty Bolea, Pew FTLC

Description: Small groups of new faculty meet every other week with a Pew FTLC staff member. Articles on a variety of teaching and learning topics serve as the basis for the discussions. Topics include:

Learner-centered teaching
Creating significant learning experiences and curriculum design
Student motivation
Active learning strategies
Academic integrity and academic standards
Helping students assess their learning
Liberal education and the mission of GVSU
Leading class discussions: in-class and online
Rubrics and providing feedback to students
Navigating academic culture, goal-setting, and overload avoidance
Interpretation of student course evaluations

Every Fourth Friday: Mid-Career Women Faculty

Facilitator: Dana Munk, Pew FTLC

Description: This Learning Community is designed to bring together tenured female faculty from multiple disciplines,who are at the rank of associate or full professor, to exchange ideas and explore experiences as university faculty. Discussions will focus on issues related to scholarship, teaching, and service for women faculty who are mid-career and seeking camaraderie and support as they navigate their futures in higher education. This community will draw upon the experiences of participants in addition to research on gender, teaching, and women in academe.  Participants will work together to write the next “chapter’ in their careers.
 
Meetings will be held on the following Fridays 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (schedule is tentative and could change as agreed on by participants).
 
September 23, 2011
October 21, 2011
November 18, 2011
December 16. 2011
January 13. 2012
February 10. 2012
March 16, 2012
April 13, 2012

Gender Identity and Expression in the Classroom

Facilitator: Danielle DeMuth, Women and Gender Studies

Description: This faculty learning community (FLC) will be comprised of a group of faculty working over the course of the Winter 2012 semester to consider best practices in creating inclusive and supportive classroom environments for students in line with GVSU’s policy of non-discrimination based on gender-expression and identity. 

Faculty will (a) review scholarship on best practices for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students in learning environments; (b) use data from the myGVSU Climate Study and consult with current students to determine areas of concern in the GVSU classroom and (c) create supporting materials for dissemination aimed at helping faculty create an inclusive classroom climate for students of all gender identities and expression.

We are especially interested in working with faculty from across the university in multiple disciplines working in a range of classroom formats—from large lecture to small discussion to lab courses, introductory level surveys to capstone courses, etc.

Tentative meeting dates are the following Fridays from 11a.m.-1 p.m.:  Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 23, and April 20.

 

 
 
1Want to learn more about Faculty Learning Communities? Consider these sources:
 
(1) Merlot video series on FLCs
 
(2) "What is a Faculty and Professional Learning Community," Miami University
 
(3) "Exploring Faculty Learning Communities: Building Connections among Teaching, Learning, and Technology," International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, 20(1): 51-58, 2008.
 
 
 

Page last modified September 13, 2013