Past Faculty Learning Communities


2016 - 2017


(Winter 2017) Design Thinking in the Classroom

Design thinking is a collaborative process of interdisciplinary and integrative problem solving. It uses an organized method of observation and responsiveness, generating multiple solutions that are prototyped and tested. Design thinking is particularly helpful in dealing with ‘wicked problems,’ those that are ill-defined and complex, where both the seeds of the problem and the solution are unknown. It is a methodology that encompasses a multi-disparate, active approach to learning and develops strategies that are context dependent. Design thinking solutions are long-term, sustainable, and focused on the social good of our community. This faculty learning community will seek to expand understanding of and experience with design thinking as well as explore ideas for its application in the classroom.

Group I; Thursdays, 1:00-2:30pm, 3068 Zumberge, every other week beginning January 19th
Co-facilitators: Jody Vogelzang, Department of Public Health & Kathryn Stieler, Music and Dance, Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow

Group II: Fridays, 9:30-11:00am, 1077 Seidman, every other week beginning January 20th
Co-facilitators: Amy Gyorkos, Movement Science & David Coffey, Mathematics Education

(Winter 2017) The Language of Information Literacy: Library Collaboration for Student Success

If students in your course/s write research papers or complete research projects, work with primary sources, or if information literacy is a general education learning outcome in your department, we invite you to join in “The Language of Information Literacy: Library Collaboration for Student Success” Faculty Learning Community. This community will meet four times during the winter semester to:

  • Discuss and develop a shared understanding of information literacy
  • Explore threshold concepts within disciplines
  • Explore specifics, from terminology to large concepts and how to teach
  • Identify ways to collaborate with Library faculty to integrate skills into class planning

Facilitators: Gayle Schaub and Cara Cadena, University Libraries

(Winter 2017) Valuing Our Work (VOW)

This Faculty Learning Community will focus on 1) an enhanced understanding of the concept of giving and how it applies to faculty work, 2) through reflection and use of the philanthropic lens, a more complete framing of their work with respect to how it impacts the public good beyond service, 3) an increased valuing and appreciation for their work, and 4) how we as faculty can model the importance of contributions to the public good to our students and convey their important role.

Documentary/Book: Participants will begin the FLC by viewing the documentary What is Philanthropy? Participants will then read two chapters every two weeks from the multi-authored book, Faculty work and the public good: Philanthropy, Engagement and Academic Professionalism.

Facilitator:  Salvatore Alaimo, School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration

(Winter 2017) Text As Data

Our Learning Community will focus on text mining, the analysis of quantifiable features of text corpora. Our goals will be to learn about applications of text mining across disciplines, explore freely available software tools for text mining, and evaluate on campus needs to support text mining in our scholarship and teaching. Participants will be given an introductory text on the subject.  No prior experience with text mining is required or expected, only an interest in the subject and getting to know like minded colleagues around the university. The facilitators will provide participants with sample text datasets for analysis in meetings planned around a particular technique of text mining. Participants with prior experience in text mining will be encouraged to share their expertise with fellow participants. Some prior familiarity with data analysis software, including the R statistical programming environment, is helpful, though not required. Introductory courses on using R will be held through the Data Inquiry Lab, scheduled at http://www.gvsu.edu/datainquirylab.

Book: Text Mining by Ignatow and Mihalcea (2016, Sage Publications)

Co-Facilitators: Whitt Kilburn, Department of Political Science (kilburnw@gvsu.edu) and Jerry Scripps, School of Computing and Information Systems (scrippsj@gvsu.edu)

(Fall 2016/Winter 2017) Online & Hybrid Teaching Learning Communities (CHS, Allendale, Pew Campus)

Sponsored by IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, this faculty learning community will provide a venue for faculty-led dialogue and to share collective expertise regarding online/hybrid instruction at GVSU.   Specifically, the objectives of the faculty learning community are as follows:

  • Support new and experienced online/hybrid faculty through dialogue and samples
  • Explore best practices associated with online/hybrid teaching and learning
  • Identify emerging technological needs to support online teaching and learning
  • Share collective expertise across disciplines

At the first meeting, faculty will determine discussion topics and to assign various faculty to act as lead facilitators for subsequent meetings.  The Instructional Designers from IDeL will assist in organizing meeting agendas, collecting minutes, and posting resources shared at the various meetings to a Blackboard organization for further distribution. 

Facilitator: Rotating Faculty Members. Contact: Kim Kenward, kenwardk@gvsu.edu

(Fall 2016/Winter 2017) Standards Based and Specifications Grading (SBSG)

The purpose of this group is to learn about, plan, and then implement standards-based/specifications grading (SBSG) in GVSU courses. SBSG refers to systems of grading in which students are not graded using arbitrary point/percentage-based systems but rather on the quantity and quality of evidence they produce that they have met clearly-defined learning outcome objectives in a course. That evidence is in the form of concrete learning objects that are graded on the basis of whether the quality of the work meets professional quality standards ("specifications") as determined by the instructor. SBSG systems also allow students greater choice in how they are assessed as well as multiple opportunities for revision and reassessment. The goal of the group is to have each participant convert one course he/she teaches over to an SBSG system during the fall, and then implement it in the winter. The group itself is a community of practice that supports each other in this practice and learns together.

Book: Specifications Grading - Linda Nilson
Facilitator: Robert Talbert, Mathematics

(Fall 2016/Winter 2017) Collaborative Engagement at GVSU: Catalyzing Inclusive and Equitable Transformation

The health of our society in many ways hinges on the cultivation of empowered, innovative, focused, caring, and determined thought leaders who have the effrontery to own their spaces, assert their voices, and advance a transformative rhythm that contributes to the insatiable push toward realizing the ideal purposes of higher education” (xiii).  

This FLC will collaboratively explore the boundaries between 1) the disciplines, 2) curriculum and student services, 3) students, instructors, and community members, 4) campus and community, and 5) place, considering the local, regional, national, global scales.  In addition, the group will review and discuss the challenges and the rewards of collaborative engagement practices from their own and other positionalities, create a consolidated list of recommendations for fostering collaborative, place-based and social justice focused engagement, and consider the implications of the final report and potential next steps. 

Book: Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next-Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education (2016) edited by Margaret Post, Elaine Ward, Nicholas Longo, and John Saltmarsh

Facilitators: Danielle Lake, Department of Liberal Studies, and Amy McFarland, Honors College

(Fall 2016) Thriving Through Change

Participants will read Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard (Chip and Dan Heath) and discuss the examples and advice shared by the authors. Discussion will center around change in the workplace and classroom and how we can successfully cope with and affect change.  In addition, participants will:

  • learn the pattern of successful change.
  • learn how to lead successful change in their classroom, department and personal life.
  • be able to incorporate new strategies into their lives for coping with changes both big and small.

Facilitators: Ashley Rosener/Liaison Librarian/University Libraries and Elizabeth Psyck/Liaison Librarian/University Libraries

(Fall 2016) Early Literacy Education Learning Communities

This Faculty Learning Community will help to build shared understandings for literary instruction and create aligned teacher preparation programs here at GVSU that prepare teachers and leaders to teach/support effective literacy instruction and assessment. The FLC will open opportunities for faculty to gather in discussion and reflection around literacy instruction for: (1) English Language Learners, (2) culturally diverse students, and (3) struggling readers. Learning from this FLC will directly impact faculty teaching and student learning as faculty seek to understand: how to both meet the literacy needs of all students, and help preservice teachers/leaders meet the literacy needs of all students in the classroom.

Books:

  • Group One: Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: Teaching English Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom by Pauline Gibbons
  • Group Two: The Skin that We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom by Lisa Delpit
  • Group Three: To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension by Ellin Oliver Keene 

Facilitators:

  • Elizabeth Stolle/Associate Professor/Leadership & Learning/COE (stollee@gvsu.edu)
  • Paula Lancaster/Professor/Leadership & Learning/COE (lancastp@gvsu.edu)
  • Barbara Lubic/Associate Professor/Special Education Foundations & Technology/COE (lubicb@gvsu.edu)
  • Catherine Meyer-Looze/Assistant Professor/Leadership & Learning/COE (meyerlca@gvsu.edu)

Faculty Learning Communities - Sponsored Projects for 2016-17

Each year, Pew FTLC Faculty Fellows lead projects that align with larger university wide initiatives. These groups are called Faculty Learning Communities - Sponsored Projects and are by invitation only.  

Inclusive Excellence Teaching Institute. This faculty learning community is a continuation of the IETI which began with a 3 –day intensive workshop in May, 2016. Participants will explore teaching behaviors and strategies in an effort to be more inclusive of all students in their classrooms. Facilitator: Dana Munk, Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellow, Pew FTLC

Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center FLC. A Faculty Learning Community for faculty teaching in the Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center (HHLLC). This Learning Community brings together faculty from a range of disciplines with a common goal of creating a unique learning environment for first-year students at GVSU.  The integrative learning that is possible by virtue of teaching courses in HHLLC takes some intentionality and planning; the activities will focus faculty attention on literature best practices and allow time for advance planning of curriculum – co-curriculum connections as well as cross-course collaborations. Facilitator: Thomas Pentecost, Faculty Fellow, Pew FTLC

Design Thinking Team. This faculty learning community (FLC) will continue to explore the design thinking model: what expert faculty in higher education can bring to the model to enhance its usefulness and  how to better apply the model to a wide range of disciplinary and learning contexts.  In addition, FLC participants will: begin a campus conversation around design thinking by inviting faculty who are currently using the model to exchange ideas and best practice, seek additional training opportunities in design thinking in order to provide training to interested GVSU faculty, and work with student and community partners to prototype our application of the design thinking model. Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Faculty Fellow, Pew FTLC

The Civic Engagement Faculty Learning Community Sponsored Project formed in 2016 aims to explore civic engagement nationally, regionally, and at GVSU.  Within this context the interdisciplinary faculty group will author student learning outcomes to be shared with faculty, staff, and students at GVSU. As stated in the GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021 glossary, "Civic engagement at GVSU is an activity in which people work to make a positive difference in the life of our communities. Additionally, civic engagement encompasses actions wherein individuals participate in activities of personal and public concern that are both individually life enriching and socially beneficial to the community. (Adapted from Thomas Ehrlich, 2000)." Facilitator: Patty Stow Bolea, Faculty Fellow, Pew FTLC

Collaborative Problem Solving. This Pew FTLC-sponsored Faculty Learning Community centers on collaborative problem-solving pedagogies in General Education program Issues courses. The group met monthly during the fall semester, reading and discussing “Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching” by Larry K. Michaelson, Arletta Bauman Knight, and L. Dee Fink (available in the Pew FTLC library). During the fruitful discussions, members shared collaborative learning assignments that various members had successfully developed and refined over the years, and also shared several online-based technological solutions for group assessment and grading which are now being implemented. We look forward to sharing some of these when the FLC concludes in April. Facilitator: Kurt Ellenberger, Faculty Fellow, Pew FTLC 


2015 - 2016


F15 & W16 - Online & Hybrid Instruction

Facilitator: Kim Kenward, Instructional Design for eLearning

Sponsored by IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, this workshop will provide a venue for faculty-led dialogue and to share collective expertise regarding online/hybrid instruction at GVSU. Support for new and experienced online/hybrid faculty through dialogue. Explore best practices associated with online/hybrid teaching and learning. Identify emerging technological needs to support online teaching and learning, Share collective expertise across disciplines

W16 - Data Visualization

Co-Facilitators: Whitt Kilburn, Political Science, and Gerald Shoultz, Statistics

We will study contemporary theory and practice in data visualization, and identify strategies to teach these ideas to undergraduates. The selected book, Graphical Data Analysis with R by Antony Unwin, applies techniques of data visualization in the statistical software application, R. The software is a foundation of data visualization by Amanda Cox at The New York Times, who will visit the Grand Valley campus in March. Participants will receive a copy of the book. The Data Inquiry Lab will hold introductory workshops at the beginning of the Winter 2016 semester on using R for faculty unfamiliar with it. 

W16 - Design Thinking in the Classroom

Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Pew FTLC and Music and Dance 

Design thinking is a collaborative process of problem solving. It uses an organized method of observation and responsiveness, generating multiple solutions that are prototyped and tested. Design thinking is particularly helpful in dealing with ‘wicked problems,’ those that are ill-defined and complex, where both the seeds of the problem and the solution are unknown. It is a methodology that encompasses a multi-disparate, active approach to learning and develops strategies that are context dependent. Design thinking solutions are long-term, sustainable, and focused on the social good of our community. Grand Valley State University has embarked on a Design Thinking Initiative to expand understanding of and experience with this collaborative process of interdisciplinary and integrative problem solving. The Pew FTLC has formed two separate Faculty Learning Communities to examine the Design Thinking model more closely and explore ideas for its application in the classroom. 

F15 & W16 - Community as Classroom: The Pedagogy and Practicality of Community-based Teaching and Learning

Facilitators: Danielle Lake, Liberal Studies and Patty Stow Bolea, Pew FTLC 

This faculty learning community supports new and engaged scholars in their community-based teaching, learning and research through a community of practice focused on building courses with a service learning (community outreach) focus.  The format for this learning community will include brief presentations by various experienced faculty followed by extended dialogue/review of participant project ideas, concerns, and questions. 

W16 - Engaging Difference in the Classroom through Intercultural Competence

Facilitator: Dana Munk - Movement Science, Pew FTLC 

Why is Intercultural Competence important in the classroom? Because it has been identified as a key capability for developing positive relationships with students across cultural boundaries, both internationally and domestically. Critical to the faculty role is the fact that intercultural competence is central to such outcomes as the reduction of academic disparities between dominant and non-dominant identity student groups, such as graduation rates, achievement scores, and retention rates. This Faculty Learning Community will incorporate the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as a means to explore, and ultimately enhance, intercultural competence and the ability of faculty to engage different learners in the classroom.

F15 & W16 - Increase Student Engagement in Your Classroom

Facilitator: Scott Grissom, Pew FTLC and School of Computing & Info Systems

Have you been meaning to try more active learning in your classroom but never seem to get around to it?  If so, this FLC is for you! Dozens of empirical studies show that active learning pedagogies increase student learning, classroom participation, student motivation and faculty enjoyment.  Effective strategies include peer instruction (aka clickers), just-in-time teaching, inverted classrooms, process oriented guided inquiry (POGIL) and collaborative learning.  The common theme of these approaches is that students spend more time engaged with each other and with the material instead of passively listening to you lecture.

W16 - Confirmation Bias: What is it? How does it affect us and our students? Can our writing assignments inhibit it?

Facilitator: Lindsay Ellis, Department of English

Confirmation bias is a recognized problem in many fields and professions (Nickerson 1998). It is generally defined as the human tendency to notice only the information that supports our pre-existing ideas (that confirms our biases). On the one hand, it is a necessary cognitive strategy to manage overload in a data-rich environment, on the other hand, it poses a threat to inquiry and critical thinking in both the sciences and humanities. This faculty learning community will discuss what is currently known about confirmation bias, reflect on how it affects our and our students’ thinking, and collaboratively strategize ways to help our students to inhibit it. The work of this FLC will inform a workshop in March or April offered to all faculty, one that examines writing assignments designed to inhibit confirmation bias and deepen critical thinking. This workshop will be carefully marketed to faculty teaching SWS sections of courses. In addition, participants will be invited to design small action research projects on inhibiting confirmation in their own courses, in collaboration with Lindsay Ellis, director of Writing Across the Curriculum. These Scholarship of Teaching (SoT) projects can be written into Faculty Activity Plans (FAPs) as an area of significant focus.

F15 & W16 - Using Cognitive Coaching to Enhance Faculty Effectiveness

Facilitator: Mary Bair, Education - Special Education, Foundations, & Technology 

The overall goal of this project, Using Cognitive Coaching to Enhance Faculty Effectiveness, is to provide a structured opportunity for faculty in the College of Education to conduct critical reflections about some aspect of their teaching. Faculty will engage in critical reflection about their teaching by completing a self-study of their teaching practice. In this project, the process of collaborative self-study will be facilitated by the cognitive coaching model developed by Costa and Garmston (2002). This FLC will provide support for faculty to engage in critical reflections about their own teaching, increase faculty interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and enhance faculty effectiveness.

W16 - Contemplative Teaching

Facilitator: Peter Anderson, Classics

Participants will discuss approaches to contemplative practice both as a tool for teachers (in support of their professional activities) and as a tool for students (in support of their academic activities). Emphasis will fall on the pragmatics of contemplative practices and teaching, but discussions will necessarily range widely over issues related to the lives of teachers and students. Participants will receive a copy of  J. Simmer-Brown and Fran Grace’s Meditation and the Classroom.

W16 - Never Send a Human to do a Machine's Job: Correcting the Top 5 EdTech Mistakes

Facilitators: Erica Hamilton, College of Education - Leadership and Learning

According to the book's authors, Yong Zhao, Gaming Zhang, Jing Lei Wei Qui, "technology has transformed our lives, and virtually every school and classroom is connected. Why then, has it not transformed education?" In response to this question, this Teaching Circle seeks to facilitate conversation and learning regarding educational technology and how it can best be utilized to enhance teaching and learning. Through reading and discussing this book, participants will have opportunities to consider (and re-consider) pedagogy and practice as well as share examples and ideas. Conversations will be aimed at further developing participants' understanding of how/when to use technology to improve student learning outcomes.  

W16 - Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians

Facilitator: Ashley Rosener, University Libraries

Participants will learn about threshold concepts, specifically information literacy threshold concepts. Participants will discover how to create (or edit existing) lesson plans that use information literacy threshold concepts as their foundations through looking at examples created by other librarians as exhibited in the book. Participants will explore how information literacy threshold concepts (in relation to the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education) relate to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Participants will explore new teaching strategies and lessons and share their experiences implementing them in the classroom. Participants will learn from each other in this space with the intent of growing as teachers of information literacy.

W16 - Citizen, An American Lyric

Facilitator: Amy Masko, English

This objectives of this Teaching Circle are as follows: 1) to share materials used to teach Citizen in a variety of courses, 2) to discuss students' response to the book, 3) to reflect on our teaching methods for engaging students with Citizen and the issues it raises about race in the United States, and 4) to connect the issues raised in Citizen to both other literature and social science research.  This Teaching Circle will conclude with a campus visit by Claudia Rankine and participants will receive a copy of the book “Citizen, An American Lyric” (the ’15-’16 Community Reading Project selection). 

W16 - Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field

Facilitator: Kimberly McKee, Liberal Studies

Participants in this Teaching Circle will further conversations first initiated in the "What do we mean by Digital Studies" Teaching Circle in Fall 2015 and serve as one avenue to the continued cross-campus dialogue concerning digital technologies. We will explore how we currently use or intend to integrate digital studies/digital humanities into our research and teaching. Faculty will discuss best practices as it relates to implementing digital studies projects in the classroom and how we sustain these projects over multiple semesters and/or courses. We will also explore tools to communicate and teach the web-based skills that are necessary for our students to effectively engage these projects. Conversations will also include dialogue regarding what it means to implement successful digital studies projects in face-to-face, hybrid, or online classes as the method of dissemination may differ due to teaching platform. Finally, we will discuss how we work collaboratively across disciplines on digital studies projects as it relates to our teaching and research.

W16 - Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for ALL Learners

Facilitator: Nancy Patterson, College of Education - Leadership and Learning

According to the book's authors, Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison, we teachers tend to focus more on activity and work rather than understanding. By, first, exploding several myths about the nature of human thinking and how it is expressed in classroom environments, the authors show teachers at all levels how to engage students in acts of understanding new concepts. This is linked to processes of explanation and interpretation, acts that form the cornerstone of critical thinking, itself a cornerstone of a liberal arts education. The book lays out a number of classroom procedures designed to help teachers engage students in critical thinking. Discussions will focus on how to apply these processes to the higher education classroom and how to adapt them for different academic disciplines.

W16 - Developing Oneself as an Educator: Clarifying the Educational Process in Graduate Education

Facilitator: Cynthia Grapczynski, Occupational Therapy

Participants will be introduced to the educational philosophy around professional education, adult learning and setting the stage for empowering students and faculty in the classroom. The objectives are: 1) Identify classroom strategies that allow students to be a part of the teaching/learning process, 2) Assist faculty in seeing the linearity of flow from program goals, curricular objectives, to learning outcomes, accreditation standards and evaluative measures, 3) Foster faculty comfort with the ambiguity of discussion as a major form of learning in graduate education, and 4) Assist faculty in infusing transformative learning opportunities throughout the graduate curriculum. Participants will receive a copy of the book “The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom”. 

F15 & W16 - eLearning for CCPS

Facilitator: Robert Robins

This Teaching Circle will look at the pedagogy and philosophy of eLearning, templates for successful BB sites using Quality Matters criteria, and appropriate apps and software to facilitate successful student learning online. The goal at the completion of the Teaching Circle will be to have a working document that answers the many questions concerning teaching in an online environment including: Is the selected course appropriate for the online environment? What components should I have within the site to best facilitate student learning in an online environment? How do I create a productive online community with my students? 

F15 - Discussion in the College Classroom

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew FTLC

A small group of faculty will gather to read and discuss this particular book. Great interest in this book was expressed at the Pew FTLC Fall Conference on Teaching and Learning (via the book raffle) so we wanted to give faculty an opportunity to read, discuss, and learn from each other.  

F15 - The Skillful Teacher

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew FTLC

A small group of faculty will gather to read and discuss this particular book. Great interest in this book was expressed at the Pew FTLC Fall Conference on Teaching and Learning (via the book raffle) so we wanted to give faculty an opportunity to read, discuss, and learn from each other. 

F15 - Women's Leadership: the Confidence Code

Facilitator: Sarah Clark, Chemistry

This is a continuation of the Pew FTLC Teaching Life Retreats of May and December 2014 that focused on Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranton's How Remarkable Women Lead. Ultimately, the goal of this group is to provide a venue for women at GVSU to build their leadership skills and reflect on the role leadership plays in their teaching and professional goals. This teaching circle will continue the group's discussion of women's leadership by focusing on the relationship between confidence and leadership.

F15 - What Do We Mean By Digital Studies

Facilitator: Kimberly McKee, Liberal Studies

Participants in this teaching circle will critically engage the field of Digital Studies and Digital Humanities. We will discuss how aspects of Digital Studies intersect with our research and teaching. This teaching circle will serve as one avenue to the creation of a sustained cross-campus dialogue concerning the digital technologies

F15 - Inclusive Excellence Learning Community

Facilitator: Dana Munk, Pew FTLC


2014 - 2015


Strong Start Initiative

Facilitator: Kurt Ellenberger, Pew FTLC 

The Learning Community will read a text together, share first-year strategies, help disseminate best practices, and help to develop a survey for the entire campus to determine strategies, attitudes, and perspectives on first-year student engagement and retention. There is, of course, a great deal of research on successful strategies for teaching first-year students, and a tremendous amount of creativity and innovation that has taken place on our campus, driven by our faculty, answering to the needs of our students. The goal of the SSI is to collate both local and global solutions to the retention issues that we face and to disseminate that information on our campus and beyond. 

Community as Classroom: The Pedagogy and Practicality of Community-based Teaching and Learning

Facilitators: Danielle Lake, Liberal Studies and Patty Stow Bolea, Pew FTLC 

This faculty learning community supports new and engaged scholars in their community-based teaching, learning and research through a community of practice focused on building courses with a service learning (community outreach) focus.  The format for this learning community will include brief presentations by various experienced faculty followed by extended dialogue/review of participant project ideas, concerns, and questions. 

Improving Teaching Effectiveness through Peer Collaboration

Facilitator: Dr. Catherine Meyer-Looze, Education - Leadership & Learning 

This Faculty Learning Community (FLC) will provide GVSU faculty who teach at the Traverse City campus with an opportunity to engage in collaborative conversations about teaching and learning. Based on research in best practices, this FLC will aim to improve faculty teaching effectiveness via looking at student work and/or teacher tasks with structured protocols.  The focus of each meeting opportunity will be based upon questions participants wish to explore further to increase their own learning. Participants will be asked to share specific teaching strategies, challenges, and successes, as well as, provide formative feedback for other group members.  At the completion of this FLC, group members will be asked to submit a brief written reflection of how they plan to incorporate newly learned ideas into their teaching.

Online & Hybrid Instruction

Facilitator: Kim Kenward, Instructional Design for eLearning

Sponsored by IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, this workshop will provide a venue for faculty-led dialogue and to share collective expertise regarding online/hybrid instruction at GVSU. Support for new and experienced online/hybrid faculty through dialogue. Explore best practices associated with online/hybrid teaching and learning. Identify emerging technological needs to support online teaching and learning, Share collective expertise across disciplines

How to Effectively Facilitate an Online Medical Terminology Course

Facilitator: Julia VanderMolen, Allied Health Sciences

Strengths-Based Leadership

Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Pew FTLC

Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning

Facilitator: Bailey Herrmann, English

Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew FTLC

Mechanisms for Smoothly Incorporating Case Studies into a Lecture Course

Facilitator: Matthew Edick, Biomedical Sciences

Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower

Facilitator: Gretchen Galbraith, History

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew FTLC

The Learning Portfolio: Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning

Facilitator: Regina Smith, Modern Languages & Literatures


2013 - 2014


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

Facilitator: Melissa Morison, Classics

In collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS), we are able to support a Faculty Learning Community 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.

Motivating and Supporting Adult Learners

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

This faculty learning community 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.

An Alternative to Lecture: Peer Instruction using Clickers

Facilitators: Scott Grissom, Computing and Information Systems

Two independent faculty learning communities 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.

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

Facilitator: Robert Talbert, Mathematics 

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.

Effective Pedagogies in STEM Undergraduate Research Labs

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

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.

Strategies for Collaborative Research with Faculty Peers and Undergraduate Students

FacilitatorsPeter Wampler, Geology and Shaily Menon, Biology 

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.

Quality Matters Teaching Circle - COE

Facilitator: Dorothy Armstrong, College of Education

Exploring the Development of an Online Strategy for HTM via the QM Lens

Facilitator: Michael Sciarini, Hospitality & Tourism Management

Teaching World History as Mystery

Facilitator: David Eaton, History

Quality Matters for Liberal Studies

Facilitator: Danielle Lake, Liberal Studies

Fostering Student Accountability and Managing Assignment Load

Facilitator: Kate Remlinger, English

Teaching Students to Think Historically

Facilitator: David Zwart, History


2012 - 2013


Exploring the Intersections of Mindfulness, Contemplative Pedagogies, and Reflective Teaching, An 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

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.

Best Practices for Supporting Part-time Faculty at GVSU

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

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.

Academic Service Learning

Facilitator: Patty Bolea, Pew FTLC

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.

Finding Your Mid-Career Mojo

Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Pew FTLC

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.

Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew FTLC

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.


2011 - 2012


New Faculty

Facilitators: Christine Rener, Patty Bolea, Pew FTLC

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

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.

Gender Identity and Expression in the Classroom

Facilitator: Danielle DeMuth, Women and Gender Studies

This faculty learning community 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.

Criminal Justice Team Teaching Project

Facilitator: Chrisine Yalda, CJ

Read and Discuss Mama PhD

Facilitator: Gwendon Dueker, Psychology

Discuss Problems and Solutions for 495 English Capstone

Facilitator: Corinna McCleod, English

African Diaspora Conversation Series

Facilitator: Sherry Johnson, AAS

Integrating iPads and Flip cams into Classroom and Fieldwork

Facilitator: Scott Truskowski, OT

Teaching Strategies for Math Hybrid Program

Facilitator: Ruth Meyering, Mathematics


2009 - 2010

Review What the Best College Teachers Do

Facilitator: Scott Truskowski, OT

Read and Discuss the Fourth Way

Facilitator: Christopher Hanks, COE

Health Profession Discussion on Interprofessional Education

Facilitator: Deborah Bambini, Nursing

Diverse Perspectives on Education

Facilitator: David Bair, COE

Second Year Faculty Seminar

Facilitator: Toni Rice, Chemistry


2009 - 2010


Systems Thinking and Organizational Change

Facilitator: Jodi Tyron, Library


2008 - 2009


Evolution for Everyone

Facilitator: Robert Deaner, Psychology

Advising in Math and Education

Facilitator: Feryal Alayont, Mathematics

Teaching- Related Themes and Issues Across Disciplinary, Status, and Experiential Boundaries

Facilitator: Nina Namaste, MLL

Palliative Care Teaching Circle

Facilitator: Ruthann Brintnall, Nursing


2006 - 2007


Conversations that Matter

Facilitator: Mary Bair, COE

Diversity in General Education Courses

Facilitator: Monica Allen, MGT

Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists

Facilitator: Carol Kountz, Writing

Use of Models in the K-12 Classroom

Facilitator: Esther Billings, Mathematics

Discussion of "The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life" by Parker Palmer

Facilitator: Esther Billings, Mathematics

Different Disciplinary Approaches to Kite Runner

Facilitator: Wendy Hedrick, ENG

Implement Blogging in the Political Science Department

Facilitator: Mark Richards, PLS




Page last modified June 1, 2017