Current Faculty Learning Communities


Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) bring faculty together to foster a 1-2 semester-long conversation on a topic of mutual interest and encourage an application of the knowledge gained.  Each FLC consists of a facilitator and a group of at least four faculty.  If you are interested in registering for an FLC, simply apply for an Faculty Learning Community in the FTLC Grant System.  All faculty are eligible to apply, unless otherwise noted. (Note: GVSU staff may participate with supervisor approval.)

If you are interested in forming or leading a Faculty Learning Community for the current or upcoming academic year, complete a Faculty Learning Community Letter of Intent Form. If you are leading an FLC, visit the FLC Facilitator Resources page.

Looking for inspiration?  Visit our Past Faculty Learning Communities webpage to see a complete list (with descriptions) of FLCs from past academic years.


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Don't take our word for it.  Watch this short video in which GVSU faculty are interviewed about the impact participating in a Pew FTLC Faculty Learning Community had on them.  We couldn't ask for better ambassadors for this fantastic program!

Effective Teaching: Classic and Contemporary Thought

NEW FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITY (FLC) SERIES COMING FALL 2020!

This ongoing series will feature two FLCs each semester, one delving into a foundational text of progressive educational philosophy (e.g. Rousseau, Dewey, Hooks), the other providing a contemporary lens and practical approaches to confront today's pedagogical challenges.  All faculty are welcome to join one or both FLCs.

FLCs inaugurating the series this fall (Fall 2020):

  1. Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire.  In our current situation, Freire's 1968 classic is as relevant and indispensable as ever.  Freire sheds light on the oppressive power dynamics inherent in he calls the "banking model of education," in which the all-powerful and all-knowing instructor's role to dispense intellectual capital to passive students, who are denied agency in their learning.  As a solution, Freire discloses how teachers can engage in partnership and dialogue with students, empowering them to realize their potential.  Facilitated by David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow.
  2. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan Ambrose et al.  How do students' brains function?  What must happen in order for learning to occur?  In this FLC instructors will glean applicable tips drawn from research in cognitive psychology, anthropology and neuroscience.  Facilitated by David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow.

The Winter 2021 installment of this series includes:

  1. Emile (Rousseau)  What can twenty-first century instructors in a crisis glean from this Enlightenment treatise designed to educate citizens for democracy?  "Perhaps the most prominent educational radical of all" according to Susan Blum , a key influence on Maria Montessori, Rousseau proposed learning approaches we would characterize today as experiential, student-centered, and deep in Emile: or On Education (1762). Upon its publication Rousseau was forced to flee France for England, and the work was placed on the Vatican's Index of forbidden books, where it remained until 1966.   Facilitated by David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow.
  2. What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain.  What do the best college students do, and how can we empower GVSU students to adopt similar approaches?  In What the Best College Teachers Do Ken Bain and his research team identified commonalities in the approaches of successful instructors and distilled them into practical tips the rest of us can follow. He similarly discloses common threads in What the Best College Students Do: imbued with a growth mindset, they take risks, shrug off failures, follow their intellectual curiosity, and aim even higher than straight A's. Participants in this FLC will glean ways in which to support students in cultivating fruitful habits for academic and lifelong success.  Facilitated by David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow.


FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITIES


Emile (Rousseau)

Winter 2021

What can twenty-first century instructors in a crisis glean from this Enlightenment treatise designed to educate citizens for democracy?

"Perhaps the most prominent educational radical of all" according to Susan Blum , a key influence on Maria Montessori, Rousseau proposed learning approaches we would characterize today as experiential, student-centered, and deep in Emile: or On Education (1762). Upon its publication Rousseau was forced to flee France for England, and the work was placed on the Vatican's Index of forbidden books, where it remained until 1966. 

This FLC is a new installment in our series, "Effective Teaching: Classic and Contemporary Thought."

Meeting Dates/Times:  TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator:  David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow, eickd@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


Hood Feminism

Winter 2021

How might understanding "hood feminism" inform COE faculty's pedagogy and practice?

Through reading and discussing Hood Feminism, participants will have an opportunity to examine race and gender, particularly connected to education and educational opportunities. Each participant will be invited to examine their own belief systems and how these beliefs impact teaching and learning. Discussions will also include topics such as: food insecurity, access to quality education and health care, as well as issues of gender of race. Especially as our student population remains primarily white, it is important for teacher educators to understand themselves and others. We also need to ensure that racially diverse students feel protected and respected. Participants will be encouraged to develop understanding and skills to engage in conversations about bias, race, gender, inequity, and racism.

***This FLC is open to COE faculty only***

Meeting Dates/Times:  TBD

Location/Campus: Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Facilitator:  Erica Hamilton, College of Education, hamilter@gvsu.edu

Co-Facilitator: Kelly Margot, College of Education, margotk@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


How Learning Works

Fall 2020

What must happen in order for learning to occur?

How do students' brains function? (No jokes, please.) What must happen in order for learning to occur? In this FLC, instructors will glean practical and applicable tips drawn from research in cognitive psychology, anthropology and neuroscience. The seven principles announced by the title respond to these questions: How does students' prior knowledge affect their learning? How does the way students organize knowledge affect their learning? What factors motivate students to learn? How do students develop mastery? What kinds of practice and feedback enhance learning? Why do student development and course climate matter for student learning? How do students become self-directed learners?

This FLC is part of our new series, "Effective Teaching: Classic and Contemporary Thought."

Meeting Dates/Times:  Meetings from 11am—12pm on the following Fridays

  • September 25
  • October 9 & 23
  • November 6 & 20
  • December 4

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator:  David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow, eickd@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


Internships: Approaches, Strategies, and Best Practices

Fall 2020-Winter 2021

How can we help students get the most out of their internship?

Internships serve different purposes for different students. For some students, an internship can serve as a starting point for their academic and professional aspirations. For others who have a clearer vision, an internship can help them apply their knowledge and skills in a "real world" setting. Much of the responsibility for helping students understand the purpose and value of an internship falls on the shoulders of internship directors. Therefore, this FLC will center on helping GVSU internship directors explore:
- best practices for advising and evaluating student internship experiences
- strategies for outreach, networking, and student preparation
- approaches for building and strengthening relationships with employers and community partners

Digital Badge:  To earn a badge associated with this Faculty Learning Community and for more information about the FacultyBadges@GVSU Initiative, visit our FacultyBadges@GVSU website.

Meeting Dates/Times:  TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator:  Dauvan Mulally, Modern Languages and Literatures, mulallyd@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


KCON Writing Circle

Fall 2020—Winter 2021

How might a faculty writing circle motivate and support faculty to create and disseminate their scholarship efforts?

This writing circle will help KCON faculty develop their scholarly writing skills through peer accountability, support and review. This group will meet monthly and share progress towards writing goals. Selected speakers will be asked to present on topics that support scholarly writing. The group will report end of year outcomes. In addition, a writing retreat will be planned for an intensive, supportive writing experience. The group will collaborate with the Writing Center and other university resources.

This is a closed group—open to KCON faculty only.

Meeting Dates/Times:  TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator:  Susan Strouse, Nursingstrouses@gvsu.edu 

Co- Facilitator: Rebecca Davis, Nursingdavirebe@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


Making Time, Making Change

Fall 2020

How might I use my time in a way that better reflects my values?

Do you long for a more balanced schedule or routine? Do you have trouble finding time to do the projects that interest you most? Are you tired of engaging in activities that feel like a waste of time? A lack of time may be the single most commonly experienced challenge for faculty, and particularly this year with its additional complexity. This FLC will use Douglas Reimondo Robertson’s book, Making Time, Making Change: Avoiding Overload in College Teaching, as a starting point for examining how we currently use (or waste) our time and imagining how we might improve the use of this precious resource to lead to a more rewarding, value-driven teaching life.

Meeting Dates/Times: Meetings from 8—9am on the following Mondays

  • September 14 & 28
  • October 12 & 26
  • November 9 & 23
  • December 7

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator:  Kathryn Stieler, Music, Theatre and Dancestielerk@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.

Digital Badge:  To earn a badge associated with this Faculty Learning Community and for more information about the FacultyBadges@GVSU Initiative, visit our FacultyBadges@GVSU website.


Making Waves in the African Diaspora -- Part Two: Watery Graves and Wake Work

Fall 2020—Winter 2021

How does the image of the ship relate to the ways in which writers, artists, and musicians aesthetically depict slavery's ubiquitous and contradictory presence in transatlantic spaces?

Continuing with the topic that we began in FW19/20, this Faculty Learning Community will look at Christina Sharpe's “In the Wake:On Blackness and Being”. The Community will examine Sharpe's use of the ship traveling the Black Atlantic to analyze how writers, artists, and musicians aesthetically depict legacies of slavery in contemporary transatlantic spaces.

Meeting Dates/Times:  TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator:  Sherry Johnson, Englishjohnsshe@gvsu.edu

Interested?  You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Fall 2020

How can this foundational text of progressive pedagogy inform our teaching during a social crisis?

In our current situation, Paulo Freire's 1968 classic is as relevant and indispensable as ever. Freire sheds light on the oppressive power dynamics inherent in what he calls the traditional "banking model of education," in which the instructor dominates and thereby dehumanizes the student. As a solution, Freire discloses how instructors can engage in partnership and dialogue with students to help them analyze their situation, liberate themselves, realize their potential, and promote social justice.

This FLC is part of our new series, "Effective Teaching: Classic and Contemporary Thought."

Meeting Dates/Times: Meetings from 11am—12pm on the following Fridays

  • October 2, 16, & 30
  • November 13
  • December 11

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow, eickd@gvsu.edu

Interested? You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


Sometimes It Ain't Easy and That Is Okay

Winter 2020—Fall 2020

How can we introduce "desirable difficulties into our courses to promote student learning?

Cognitive science has identified some ways  of learning/studying that seem difficult/ineffective to students, but are actually key to developing understanding. In the winter semester we will examine these "desirable difficulties" (DD) and the research supporting them. During the later part of the first semester, participant will begin designing/revising selected aspects of their course to include one or more DD. During the next semester, the fall, these will then be implemented in the course. Also during the fall, participants will meet to discuss the implementation, data collection, and evaluation of impact of the DD on student learning. At the end of the FLC the participants will be encouraged to turn in a brief write up of their results for dissemination on Scholar Works.

Digital Badge:  To earn a badge associated with this Faculty Learning Community and for more information about the FacultyBadges@GVSU Initiative, visit our FacultyBadges@GVSU website.

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Tom Pentecost, Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow and Chemistry, pentecot@gvsu.edu

Interested? You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


The Miracle of Mindfulness: How to be Calm, Slow Down, and Be More Present in a Fast-Paced World

Fall 2020

How can one ease one's anxiety and get more adept at handling daily tumult and stress?

Explore how to ease anxiety and find calm with the ancient and popular practice of mindfulness.  Research has shown that mindfulness practice can help relieve stress, regulate emotions, achieve focus and clarity, strengthen communication skills, and cultivate an appreciation for what is most important.  Teaching our mind how to focus and be present can be challenging and frustrating.  In this FLC, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about mindfulness meditation and how to practice it.  Through reading and discussion, simple tools will be introduced to help incorporate mindfulness meditation practice into a daily routine.

Meeting Dates/Times: Meeting from 1—2pm on the following Wednesdays

  • September 9 & 23
  • October 7 & 21
  • November 11 & 18
  • December 2

Location/Campus: Online/Virtual (Zoom Mtgs)

Facilitator: Martina Reinhold, Physician Assistant Studies, reinholm@gvsu.edu

Interested? You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.


What the Best College Students Do

Winter 2021

What do the best college students do, and how can we empower GVSU students to adopt similar approaches?

In What the Best College Teachers Do Ken Bain and his research team identified commonalities in the approaches of successful instructors and distilled them into practical tips the rest of us can follow. He similarly discloses common threads in What the Best College Students Do: imbued with a growth mindset, they take risks, shrug off failures, follow their intellectual curiosity, and aim even higher than straight A's. Participants in this FLC will glean ways in which to support students in cultivating fruitful habits for academic and lifelong success. 

This FLC is a new installment in our series, "Effective Teaching: Classic and Contemporary Thought."

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow, eickd@gvsu.edu

Interested? You can register for this FLC by completing an FLC Application.