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


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.

Information about the topics for the 2021-2022 Academic year coming soon!


Charting Your Path to Full: A Guide for Women Associate Professors

Fall 2021

How might intentional charting of one's path to full professor support more female associate professors at GVSU?

This co-facilitated faculty learning community, focused on Baker's (2020) book, Charting Your Path to Full: A Guide for Women Associate Professors, is especially designed to support mid-career female academics as they progress toward promotion to full professor. This FLC aims to empower participants to utilize joy as a central driver of their academic, career, and personal endeavors, and will include examinations of “to-do” lists as well as additional resources and tools in order to formulate clear, step-by-step approaches to enable participants to realize their goals.

Meeting Times/Dates: Meeting from 12–1pm on the following Fridays

  • September 10 & 24
  • October 8 & 22
  • November 5 & 19
  • December 3

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Erica Hamilton, College of Education,

Co-Facilitator: Dana Munk, Movement Science and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow,

This FLC is currently FULL.

Designing an Effective SWS Course

Fall 2021

How might research on writing and writing instruction help to design the most effective SWS course possible?

Participants in this community will be invited to consider theory and research on writing and how students learn to write and how faculty may apply this knowledge to designing SWS course materials. Short readings of condensed explanations of Writing Studies research on writing and pedagogy will be made available. Discussions will center on understanding the material and its implications for SWS instruction and then applying insights in creating course materials or even applying them to courses in progress. Additional topics will include what it means to see writing as a rhetorical process; counterintuitive realities of how students learn to write; principles of instructional design, especially for writing instruction; and how teaching writing can actually support teaching disciplinary content.

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Allendale Campus, Zoom

Facilitator: Jerry Stinnett,

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

Examining Syllabi & Instruction Through an Anti-Racist Lens

Fall 2021

How are anti-racist pedagogies present or how might they be incorporated in our syllabus?

As faculty have been exploring anti-racism, white privilege, and intersectionality from a distance, a need has arisen to explore concrete ways in which these concepts are present, have been deliberately incorporated, or could be further embedded into our syllabi and instruction. Thus, this community will invite faculty to apply a critical eye to a syllabus of their choosing, helping ensure that what they intend to do around anti-racism actually happens. Faculty may systematically share, examine, discuss, and critique their instructional materials and pedagogical decision-making, using prompts like, “What ideologies are my expectations of students rooted in?”, “Do I include marginalized voices and perspectives in my curriculum”, “How does my positionality influence my teaching of the content?”, and “Do my assignments allow for diverse responses”?

***This FLC is open to College of Education faculty only***

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Facilitator: Kevin Holohan, Educational Foundations,

Co-Facilitator: Kathryn Ohle, Education–Teaching and Learning,

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

How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching

Summer 2021

How might a better understanding of research in the fields of developmental psychology, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience give us insight into designing a more effective classroom experience for our students?

Joshua Eyler, the author of How Humans Learn, makes a strong case for how scientific research can add immeasurably to our knowledge of how students learn and the attendant implications for improved teaching. Designing curricula and courses that honor the fundamental ways in which human beings learn leads to deep and sustainable learning. This FLC will grapple with the principles and tools presented in the book and work to apply them in our own teaching practice.


Meeting Dates/Times: Meeting from 3pm–4pm on the following Thursdays

  • July 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29
  • August 5

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow and Department of Music, Theatre and

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

MLL Digital Learning Initiative

Spring/Summer and Fall 2021

How might we adapt current course delivery methods in order to increase access through online learning, while also promoting proficiency development and community building?

In this FLC, we will explore various models and tools for online language learning, share ideas for innovative course design, and provide support and feedback in the curriculum development process.

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

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Janel Pettes Guikema, Modern Languages and

Co-Facilitator: Jeremy Robinson, Modern Languages and Literatures and Area Global Studies,

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

Oliver Wilson Student Summer Success Program

Winter and Spring 2021

What are promising practices for preparing faculty to better support incoming students for college-level instruction and more broadly, college-readiness?

We will explore teaching strategies including in-class assessments, pace of instruction, instructional scaffolding, collaboration across units and academic support services, and more to aid instructors in further developing pedagogical practices that will support students who need additional academic support for success.

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

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Ayana Weekley, Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Co-Facilitator: Christine Rener, Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning

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

Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Developing Healthy and More Effective Ways of Communicating

Spring/Summer 2021

We spend so much of our lives talking to each other, but how much are we simply running on automatic, relying on old habits and hoping for the best? Are we able to truly hear others and speak our mind in a clear and kind way, without needing to get defensive or go on the attack?

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have learned to operate through such deeply engrained patterns of language and behavior that virtually all of our communication involves projection, assumption, and bias. No wonder we often feel so cut off and all alone! In this FLC, participants will explore how to weave together mindfulness practice and principles of Nonviolent Communication to learn how to think, speak and listen wisely, with authenticity and care.

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: From 12pm–1pm on the following Wednesdays

  • May 12 & 26
  • June 9 & 23
  • July 14 & 28

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Martina Reinhold, Physician Assistant

This FLC is currently FULL.

Super Courses

Spring 2021

How might an instructor turn a good course into a super course?

Author Ken Bain previously identified useful examples of what the best college teachers and students do in eponymous books (2008 and 2012, Harvard UP) which became instant classics in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Now Bain has taken a similar approach in Super Courses: The Future of Teaching and Learning (2021, Princeton UP), identifying commonalities in the most effective courses. He purports to update those earlier works in the light of new research on how the learning brain works and on how to assess real learning as opposed to mere memorization. Participants in this FLC will read Bain's new book, share reflections with and glean ideas from fellow participants, and perhaps home in on a few realistic and feasible ways in which to make a good course super.

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

  • May 14, 21, & 28
  • June 4, 11, & 18

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow,

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

Tell Me So I Can Hear You

Fall 2021

How might we, as educators, learn to deliver feedback in a way that strengthens relationships as well as performance and builds the capacity for growth?

Drawing on constructive-developmental theory, Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano, authors of Tell Me So I Can Hear You, explain how to differentiate feedback for colleagues with different “ways of knowing". This FLC will provide space for faculty to consider how we might provide feedback to colleagues and students by creating a safe space, finding the right words, and bridging feedback and action, all in an effort to support a culture of learning.

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: Kathryn Stieler, Music, Theatre, and Dance and Pew FTLC Faculty

Co-Facilitator: Martina Reinhold, Physician Assistant

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


Spring 2021

In the age of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter, how can we grade more equitably and shift the focus from grades to learning?

Many instructors find grading to be the least pleasant part of their job (perhaps in a tie with department meetings and going up for review). Among students, research shows an inverse correlation between a learning orientation and a grade orientation. What can faculty do to shift the focus from grades to learning? What should institutions do? How can we grade equitably in the age of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter? What do grades mean, anyway? Participants in this FLC will read Ungrading (ed. Susan Blum, West Virginia U Press, 2020) as a point of departure to ponder these questions and come up with potential solutions.

Meeting Dates/Times: There are two groups meeting for this FLC

Team Wolverines meets on the following Tuesdays from 10am—11am

  • May 11, 18, & 25
  • June 1, 8, & 15

Team Hawkeyes meets on the following Fridays from 2pm—3pm

  • May 14, 21, & 28
  • June 4, 11, & 18

Location/Campus: Zoom

Facilitator: David Eick, Modern Languages and Literatures and Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow,

The FLC is currently FULL.

What's the Use: On the Uses of Use

Fall 2021

How might we critically question the practical implications os "use" as they affect our pedagogies and research?

Sarah Ahmed’s What’s the Use: On the Uses of Use examines what “use” means through time and space within a deep consideration of how we come to understand “use” in various contexts. Considering use provides us timely opportunities to consider how we can participate in generating practical transformation in our world. Drawing on her previous work about feminist and queer epistemologies, we hope that this FLC brings together members of the university community to critically reflect on how usefulness and disuse affect diversity, meaning, and functionality in academia and our communities. How does this impact our teaching, our research and the ways we move through the world?

Meeting Dates/Times: TBD

Location/Campus: TBD

Facilitator: Amber Dierking, University Libraries,

Co-Facilitator: Dawn Rutecki, Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural

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