2017-2018 FLCs

2017-2018 Faculty Learning Communities

The Center for Teaching and Learning announces its 2017-2018 AY Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs). A Faculty Learning Community is a specifically structured community of practice that includes the key goals of building community, engaging in scholarly (evidenced-based) teaching, and the development of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Cox & Richlin, 2004). The CTL provides $500 to each FLC to support community activities. FLCs may have as few as six or as many as sixteen participants. Due to limited enrollment, faculty must apply to participate in an FLC. Participants can expect to meet approximately once every three weeks during the 2017-2018 academic year.

CTL FLCs are charged with the goal of sharing the outcomes of their discussions with the larger teaching and learning community (either at UGA or beyond). This FLC Engagement Project (FLC EP) might take many forms, such as a CTL workshop, a two-page summary of what was learned through the FLC distributed by the CTL, the submission of a journal article, a conference presentation, etc. Engagement Projects should be completed by the end of the spring 2018 semester. Each FLC will establish parameters of the FLC EP within the first two or three meetings and working toward the EP will be an integral activity of the FLC.  If you have questions about the CTL's FLC program, please contact Dr. Megan Mittelstadt (megan.mittelstadt@uga.edu)

Descriptions for 2017-2018 FLCs can be read below.

Critique, Creativity and Assessment in Art and Design Fields

This FLC is focused on developing Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) projects related to critique, creativity and assessment in art and design fields. Last year, the FLC read "Assessment in Creative Disciplines" (Chase, Ferguson & Hoey, 2014). During 2017-2018, we will refine our research questions with the goal of implementing SoTL studies in our classrooms during Spring 2018. Members may collaborate to develop a study or work on their own, but the group will support each other through the processes of design, implementation and submission to conferences and/or journals. Current members include faculty from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, College of Environment and Design, Hugh Hodgson School of Music, School of Education, the Department of Dance, and College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Faculty from diverse UGA departments who are interested in studying processes of teaching and learning in design-based courses, seminars, and studios are welcome.

For more information, contact Colleen Kuusinen at ckuus@uga.edu

Drones Interest Group (DIG)

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones, can provide valuable data and imagery for research, teaching, marketing, storytelling, and many other purposes. In this faculty learning community, topics for discussion may include legal, ethical, and technical issues to consider when using drones for research or when teaching students about drones in our respective fields. 

For more information, contact Sherry Clouser at sac@uga.edu

Early Career STEM Faculty: Strengthening Instruction

As part of an institutional focus on STEM student success, early career faculty from across the STEM disciplines are invited to participate in a year-long FLC designed to support the use of active learning instruction. Early career faculty are faculty/lecturers/instructors in STEM areas with three or less years of teaching experience. Active learning instruction focuses on planning, instructing and assessing students. This FLC addresses the problem that most university faculty have not formally studied how to best support student learning. While this problem is not unique to the sciences, it is particularly important that STEM faculty adopt instructional practices in teaching to address challenges associated with student retention in STEM fields and the demand for a STEM prepared workforce.

The goals of this FLC include:

a) increasing participants’ knowledge about student learning and active learning instruction practices;

b) facilitating the integration of these knowledge and practices into participants’ instruction; and

c) strengthening participants’ use and understanding of active learning in their classrooms.

For more information, contact Julie Luft at jaluft@uga.edu or Alice Hunt at ahunt@uga.edu

ePortfolio Interest Community (ePIC)

The ePortfolio Interest Community (EPIC) may choose to explore a number of issues surrounding the use of ePortfolio here at UGA. These may include using ePortfolio for facilitating integrative learning, assessing learning outcomes, encouraging reflection in experiential learning activities, supporting career development, and more. 

For more information, contact Sherry Clouser at sac@uga.edu

Everything you wanted to know about teaching but were afraid to ask

This FLC is designed for faculty interested in improving their teaching and student learning through discussion with other faculty. Using short readings from education research publications to prompt discussion, the Teaching FLC will provide a relaxed and informal forum for participants to explore their teaching practice and will encourage participants to consider and implement changes, large or small, in their teaching with the support and feedback of other participants. Topics could include course design, alternative pedagogies (e.g. team-based learning), innovative teaching and learning activities, active learning, improving assignments and more.

For more information, contact Gaylen Edwards at gedwards@uga.edu or Meg Mittelstadt at megan.mittelstadt@uga.edu

Experiential Learning the Foxfire Way

In this FLC, we hope to create a community of practice that can generate, support and sustain collaborations between and among UGA departments, programs and units that apply the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning or other forms of community-engaged pedagogy at UGA. Because incoming university students are required to engage in experiential learning prior to the completion of their studies at UGA, it is incumbent on faculty to provide the kinds of hands-on experiences that enhance learning and position students for success after graduation (http://www.experienceuga.com/). Such experiential learning is doubly effective when conducted through authentic engagement and service to an outside community.

Foxfire's emphasis on authentic learning experiences is just one example of how community-engaged learning provides opportunities for student leadership, ownership of learning, and connecting students' work with an audience far beyond the classroom (http://www.foxfirefund.org/about.html). This FLC will build on the current Foxfire-focused FLC to aid in UGA's effort to "create and expand strategic faculty development opportunities and resources" related to the experiential learning initiative (http://www.experienceuga.com/faculty-faqs/). Faculty members engaged in this FLC will continue to work with the Foxfire Core Practices (http://www.foxfirefund.org/teach.html) while broadening the scope to include other forms of and scholarship on community-engaged pedagogy, to implement and model various types of community-engaged pedagogy in courses and programs, and to develop collaborations to research the implementation and outcomes of community-engaged pedagogy in varied disciplines.

For more information, contact Janet Rechtman at jrechtman@fanning.uga.edu or Kathy Thompson at kthompso@uga.edu

Exploring Engineering Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Habits of Mind

This FLC will leverage on-going efforts by the recently established Engineering Education Transformations Institute (EETI) to build capacity and social capital around the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and educational research in the College of Engineering. The purpose of this FLC will be to collectively explore the notion of SOTL as a set of "habits of mind". We will do this by engaging with relevant literature and sharing efforts to improve our teaching practices. The goal of the group will be to articulate a discipline-specific understanding of SOTL habits of mind, and to provide examples of them from our shared practice. We will aim to publish our process and findings in a conference paper and/or journal article. The long-term goal of the FLC is to lay the foundation for a College-wide transformation to a culture of SOTL.

For more information, contact Nicola Sochacka at sochacka@uga.edu or Siddharth Savadatti at sidsavad@uga.edu

Eye Tracker Research Group

This FLC will help connect UGA researchers who use eye tracker technology to answer questions about teaching and learning within their specific discipline.  This group would also act as a starting place for researchers interested in learning about using an eye tracker in their own research.  The group may create an interdisciplinary research project using the eye tracker.  

For more information, contact Rebecca Atkins at rlatkins@uga.edu

Improvisation: Stand up and Be Counted!

Improvisation fosters spontaneity and creativity in our teaching, research and outreach engagements.  Informed by Keith Johnstone’s book on improvisation, our group will engage in improvisational structures that foster creative relationships to enhance our sense of spontaneity, narrative storytelling and embodied performances.  Our group activities will explore our individual and collective creativity, relationship building and occupying a sense of place in ways that stretch us. We will also learn to reflect on everyday performances, such as local theater events or coffee shop interactions, to think about how improvisational play can inform how we respond to every day challenges. 

Key questions that will guide this FLC:

How can improvisation support us in building community among UGA faculty?
How can we improvise in our teaching and research?
How can this ontological focus support us in moving beyond traditional paradigms of learning and teaching?

For more information, contact Ruth Harman at rharman@uga.edu or Aliki Nikolaides at alikin@uga.edu


Given the limitations of doctoral education, getting started as a new faculty member in a new organization with a multitude of new roles requires that each person "reinvent the wheel."  The purpose of the New Faculty FLC is to help new faculty smoothly integrate into their new roles of research, teaching and service, and to do so with the support of a peer community and the appropriate support personnel on campus. This FLC is open to faculty within three years of starting their first faculty position. Though the FLC is open to new faculty of all ranks, the emphasis of the FLC will be those who are involved in teaching and/or research.

Key questions that will guide this FLC:
1.  What knowledge, skills and preparation is required for new faculty to prepare themselves for their research, teaching and service roles?
2.  What resources are available to help new faculty achieve balance and efficiency?
3.  How can peer mentoring benefit new junior faculty?
4.  How can new junior faculty thrive at UGA?

For more information, contact Susanna Calvert at susanna.calvert@uga.edu or Adam Milewski at milewski@uga.edu

Performing Identity: Race, Gender, Ethnicity in the Performing Arts

In the performing arts, scholar-practitioners have to navigate issues of race, ethnicity, culture, diversity, inclusion, etc. For example, when should a production (of a ballet, opera, or play) use color-blind casting, and when is such a policy inappropriate, even offensive? Can we use the same policy to produce Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Gershwin's Porgy and Bess? Do we cast Hamlet the same way we cast Othello or Death of a Salesman and Fences? One recent study of the issues involved is Angela C. Pao's  No Safe Spaces: Re-casting Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in American Theater (University of Michigan Press, 2010). According to Amma Y Ghartey Tagoe Kootin, "The book is not a manual for best practices but at least contextualizes major approaches."

We will begin with Pao's book, and then solicit suggestions for other reading from participants. While faculty in the performing arts would be the primary audience, any faculty interested in the shifting contours of America's racial landscape are welcome. The goal of this community would be, first and foremost, to talk about the way that the performing arts play with diversity. A secondary goal would be to take insight back to our respective programs, making the theoretical practical. A third goal would be to continue and extend such discussion to other areas: gender, for example, or religious faith.

For more information, contact Fran Teague at fteague@uga.edu

PLASMA (Peer Learning Assistants: Strategies, Management, and Application)

Starting in Fall 2016, several partner STEM departments began developing and implementing Peer Learning Assistants (PLAs) in gateway courses. The PLAs facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage student engagement and responsibility for learning. The PLAs are undergraduates who previously successfully completed the courses they support. They are provided pedagogical training and content preparation throughout the semester during which they serve as PLAs. A nationwide Learning Assistant Alliance, maintained by the University of Colorado at Boulder and comprising over 70 institutions, promotes these practices and has shown that such programs positively impact students in PLA-supported courses, also showing substantial benefits to students who serve as PLAs as well as faculty.

Key questions that will guide this FLC:
1. How can we develop, scale, and sustain the PLA program at the University of Georgia?
2. What is required to effectively implement PLAs?
3. Can we identify strategies for implementing this program in vastly different disciplines and learning environments?
4. How can we measure the impacts of this program?

Participating faculty must be already implementing or planning to implement PLAs in their courses with a general agreement to follow the three-tiered model including pedagogy, content, and practice. PLAs must receive some form of compensation, whether it be course credit or monetary compensation. Faculty will agree to collect and share performance data, as well as administer end-of-course surveys used by all PLA-supported courses. 

For more information, contact Tim Burg at tburg@uga.edu

Peer Observation of Teaching in a Clinical Department

Professional track curricula provide a wide range of delivery opportunities and challenges.  Courses can vary in length, from weeks to months, and can vary in environment, from classroom to clinic, making a “one-size fits all” observation-feedback-improvement cycle unrealistic. Classroom approaches, which typically involve larger student numbers, are likely not readily transposed to a clinical setting with small student numbers and short courses.  Accordingly, expertise from human medicine and pedagogical best practices from traditional degree tracks will be leveraged by way of discussion starting point to address the following questions:

 1. What are the different goals of peer observation of teaching in a professional degree setting?
 2. What different methods are used for peer observation of teaching, which methods might be most applicable to professional degree didactic and clinical settings?
 3. How can student input be captured and used to make real-time course delivery improvements?
 4. How can instructors handle unexpected clinical variability given defined teaching outcomes?
 5. What type of peer observation do we want/need for Small Animal Medicine & Surgery?
 6. How can peer observation be helpful to improving clinical rotations of few weeks duration?
 7. How can we most efficiently train a cohort of peer observers within the Small Animal Medicine & Surgery faculty?

For more information, contact Jo (Anne) Smith at jrsmith0@uga.edu or Karen Burg at kburg@uga.edu

Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention of STEM Secondary Teachers

This FLC will create a collaborative faculty team who will consider how to better recruit and prepare STEM teachers. The FLC members will discuss current recruitment, preparation, and retention practices at UGA and in the surrounding area. These discussions will involve the examination of data and talking to professionals in the field. By the end of the year, we will write a short document suggesting how we can better recruit, prepare, and retain STEM teachers at UGA and in the region. 

Key questions that will guide our FLC are:
1) Do we have enough STEM teachers in the region?
2) How can we better recruit students into STEM teacher education?
3) How well do the pillars of content courses, education courses and field experiences work together to prepare STEM teachers?

For more information, contact Paula Lemons at plemons@uga.edu or Julie Luft at jaluft@uga.edu

Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement

Service-learning is a "high-impact pedagogy" that allows students to learn material more deeply by applying their academic skills and knowledge to a real-world, community-identified need or issue, and is a key part of UGA's experiential learning initiative. This FLC, facilitated by the Office of Service-Learning directors, supports faculty who have experience in teaching using service-learning and now want to learn about, develop, and implement research (individually or collaboratively) investigating service-learning or community engagement topics, including for instance student-related learning outcomes (academic, civic, personal) from their service-learning courses; scholarship of teaching and learning with service-learning; impacts on the community; institutional variables (e.g., retention); or other, related topics.

For more information, contact Paul Matthews at pmatthew@uga.edu or Shannon O. Wilder at swilder@uga.edu

Supporting UGA's Non-Tenure Track Faculty

The purpose of this FLC will be to explore the current opportunities and challenges facing non-tenure track faculty at UGA.  Policies and practices regarding NTT faculty nationwide will also be studied. The FLC will extend the activities of previous years to explore and implement ways to support NTT faculty as integral members of the UGA community.

For more information, contact Leslie Gordon at gordonls@uga.edu

Sustainability Across the Curriculum: Resilience

In order to move towards a healthy, equitable society while maintaining earth's basic systems, we as educators must cross disciplinary divides and infuse sustainability principles into every discipline, teaching our students to approach problems holistically and to integrate social, economic, and environmental concerns as they apply knowledge learned. The Sustainability Across the Curriculum FLC will function as a working group on sustainability in the curriculum. This year, the FLC will once again focus on resilience “ the ability of a system or community to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt and flourish in the face of change. We will particularly look at how to engage many disciplines and courses in resilience planning.  

For more information, contact Tyra Byers at tyrab@uga.edu or Ron Balthazor at rlbaltha@uga.edu