Faculty Learning Communities

Propose a 2023-24 FLC by April 10th!

The Center for Teaching and Learning offers UGA faculty and post-doctoral scholars the opportunity for cohort-based instructional development through its Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) program.

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 $750 to each FLC to support community activities. FLCs may have as few as six or as many as sixteen participants. Participants meet approximately once every three weeks during the academic year.

flc image with faculty memberCTL FLCs have the additional goal of sharing the outcomes of their discussions with the larger teaching and learning community (either at UGA or beyond). This FLC Engagement Project (the FLC EP) might take many forms, such as a CTL workshop, resources for instructors at UGA, the development of curriculum to be implemented in academic courses at UGA, the submission of a journal article, a conference presentation, etc.

2022-2023 Faculty Learning Communities


Meeting times tbd by the group

The purpose of this faculty learning community is to explore models of mentoring that improve capacity- building mentoring relationships by utilizing proven strategies that encourage buy-in, engagement, and growth. The group will continue work done in previous years, exploring opportunities to support effective mentoring relationships across campus.

(facilitated by Brandy Burgess & Sherry Clouser)

Thursdays 3:45-5pm in the MLC

This FLC is for faculty members who wish to support their students’ reading skills and reflect on the place of reading in their classes. We will discuss a range of issues related to student reading at UGA, such as student motivation for reading, how to teach discipline-specific reading skills to undergraduates, the interface between reading and writing, how to choose texts for reading, how to assess reading, and how to encourage a class to become a reading community. We will form our own supportive reading community in the FLC: we will read short articles on undergraduate reading, discuss them, and choose some ideas to try out in our own classes.

(facilitated by Ingie Hovland & Jodie Lyon)

Meeting times tbd by the group.

This FLC will focus on strategies to implement mentorship training for faculty interested in mentoring student research using theoretically grounded, evidence-based, and culturally responsive practices.  We will implement an interactive mentor training curricula that engages participants in collective problem solving and connects them with resources to optimize their mentoring practices. We will also engage in learning communities through activities, assignments, case studies, and facilitated discussions to solve mentoring dilemmas and share successful mentorship strategies.

(facilitated by Leslie Gordon Simons & Laura Bierema)

Meeting times tbd by the group.

Wondering how to make your classroom more inclusive? This FLC is for you! Our goal is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of faculty to reflect on inclusivity in the classroom. We will explore the relationship between course design within the context of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Members of this FLC will reflect on course design, working toward refinements that increase inclusion. We will also consider developing templates of assignment ideas that may be used as resources for the CTL. 

(facilitated by Ashley Harlow & Leslie Gordon Simons)

Meeting times tbd by the group

Critique is an established part of arts and design education, but its effectiveness is often unexamined in proportion to its widespread application. “Crit Club” is an initiative at the School of Art where faculty study and practice artist-centered critique methods based on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process.

The Crit Club FLC will continue this work by inviting as many educators as possible to investigate and practice methods where we can give and receive more useful, honest, and constructive critical feedback. Members of Crit Club will have the opportunity to present and respond to works-in-progress, improving critique by workshopping various problems that arise in the process, and addressing the practicalities of using critique in their classes.

(facilitated by Benjamin Britton & Mark Callahan)

Meeting times tbd by the group

This FLC is aimed at faculty who wish to develop a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE), either as a new course or as part of an existing course. Studies have shown that course-based research experiences improve self-confidence in discipline-specific thinking (e.g., Brownwell et al., CBE Life Sciences Education, 14(2), 21, 2015) and application, as well as increase inclusivity for under-represented populations (e.g., Bangera and Brownwell, CBE Life Sciences Education, 13(4), 602, 2014). There are two components to this FLC. The first involves regular relaxed discussions of ideas and with other faculty in FLC meetings using short readings to provide focus for these discussions. This year, we will mainly use the primary literature, including case studies, such as the references listed above, as a starting point for these discussions. The second component is the individual course development of each member of the FLC in which they will develop a course-based undergraduate research component for one of their courses and contribute their experiences to a document that can be disseminated to the larger UGA faculty. Although CUREs are normally associated with STEM disciplines, we warmly welcome faculty from other disciplines who want to expand the opportunities available to their undergraduate students.

(facilitated by Adrian Burd, Gaylen Edwards, & Sarah Robinson)

Meeting times tbd by the group

This FLC will bring together faculty from across campus who are interested in learning about high-impact practices (HIPs). According to the AAC&U’s website on HIPs, these practices offer “significant educational benefits for students who participate in them—including and especially those from demographic groups historically underserved by higher education.” Faculty may be interested in any of the 11 HIPs: Capstone Courses and Projects, Collaborative Assignments and Projects, Common Intellectual Experiences, Diversity/Global Learning, ePortfolios, First-Year Seminars and Experiences, Internships, Learning Communities, Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning, Undergraduate Research, and Writing-Intensive Courses. In addition to discussing the benefits, challenges, and approaches to HIPs, faculty will have the chance to develop/revise plans to implement HIPs in a class/program of study. As well, we will consider the availability and accessibility of HIPs in UGA’s undergraduate curriculum—and develop strategies and resources to help faculty and students learn more about and engage more with HIPs across campus.

While the facilitators will bring expertise in First-Year Seminars, Writing-Intensive Courses, Service-Learning Courses, and Undergraduate Research, we welcome participants with an interest in and expertise related to the other seven HIPs, as well.

(facilitated by Lindsey Harding, Maria Navarro, & Naomi Norman)

Meeting times tbd by the group

To be effective, educators must not only master their discipline, but must also learn how to communicate with their students. They must deeply listen, engage appropriately, participate in the moment, and think on their feet. Not surprisingly, these same communication skills are essential to the work of the student as well.

Improvisational theatre is an approach that has been used in many settings to promote and improve robust communication skills. This FLC will provide an orientation for improv techniques for faculty new to improvisational theatre as well as giving more experienced faculty a forum to expand on their skills. As a locus for both experiential work and discussion, the FLC will explore how the theory and practice of improvisational skills apply to pedagogy, critical thinking skills, and creativity.

(facilitated by Jonathan Haddad & Edwin Sperr)

Meeting times tbd by the groups

This ongoing FLC continues to work on action items supporting faculty in non-tenure-track (NTT) roles (e.g., lecturer, academic professional, clinical faculty, public service, research scientist, librarian, etc.). Building on prior years' work, the FLC will focus this year on topics including supporting new NTT faculty, building community, supporting a mentoring program, reviewing relevant UGA and USG policies, disseminating data and information on best practices for NTT faculty support, and providing relevant information more strategically to department heads and other campus leaders, including through the website, nontenuretrack.uga.edu.

(facilitated by Julie Grainy and  Paul Matthews)

Meeting times tbd by the groups

The Service-Learning Scholarship and Research FLC supports faculty participants to understand, design and undertake scholarship of teaching & learning projects around academic service-learning pedagogy and related forms of community engagement. Participants should have experience with service-learning/community-engaged teaching. FLC participants will help identify a research question relating to the pedagogy (e.g., impacts on students, community, faculty, or institution) which can be undertaken as a research project, individually or as a team, and likely will be submitted for presentation at a national service-learning conference.

(facilitated by Paul Matthews)

Meeting times tbd by the group

There is a cross-disciplinary movement afoot to slow down and take note of the overlooked, the mundane, the aesthetics in the everyday. This FLC will practice and discuss several established observational approaches aimed at deepening our abilities to attend closely to the particularities of what or who we are seeking to engage with. The group will start with educator Patricia Carini’s (1927-2021) Descriptive Processes, which she developed and refined over decades as co-founder of the Prospect School, an alternative school in North Bennington, Vermont. In her 1975 monograph, Observation and Description: An Alternative Methodology for the Investigation of Human Phenomena, Carini articulates several processes that bring into visibility an event’s or person’s interdependence with a constituting and ever-changing environment. According to Carini, a phenomenon, person, or place under observation is meaning-fully inexhaustible. This is because all observations involve immersion, entanglement of observer and observed, and creativity in processes of description. While Carini’s work focused on the longitudinal documentation of children as learners and makers, her approach transcends school contexts and is generative of deep questioning about the role of the observer, the observed, and the aims of observation and description for understanding and inquiry. Her work is significant for its prescience of the ontological turn in the social sciences and the current emphasis on the importance of describing and attending to particularities found in texts such as Shari Tishman’s (2017) Slow Looking: The Art and Practice of Learning through Observation, Alexandra Horowitz’s (2014) On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation, Arden Reed’s (2019) Slow Art: The experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell, or Yuriko Saito’s(2017) Aesthetics of the Familiar: Everyday Life and World-Making. Readings like these will be brought into dialogue with Carini’s approaches as faculty in this FLC learn with and from each other the slow arts of observation and consider the irrelevance to their own pedagogical and inquiry practices.

(facilitated by Melissa Freeman)

Meeting times tbd by the group

This FLC will bring together interdisciplinary faculty to explore teaching with the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on using the campus and community as a living laboratory for experiential learning. We will particularly investigate the intersection of equity with the other global goals and how to enhance diversity and inclusion in our classroom as we engage with sustainability topics and action.  Faculty will use their own courses to pilot new strategies and investigate student engagement, share best practices, and broaden our own understanding of sustainability education. We will emphasize the sharing and development of resources, opportunities for collaboration, and local application of global challenges.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals “provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future… They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go together with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.” There are opportunities for every discipline to engage with these goals.

(facilitated by Tyra Byers & Cecilia Herles)

Meeting time tbd by the group

Are you questioning the efficacy of traditional grading techniques? Tired of students focusing on GPAs and arguing gradebook points over learning? In this Faculty Learning Community, we will study an alternative form of assessment called ungrading. Ungrading is an umbrella term that comprises several different methods of student assessment including Self-Assessment, Contract Grading, Specifications Grading, Peer Review, and Labor-Based Grading. Each session will feature a different faculty member presenting their practices, advice, and pitfalls for different methods of ungrading. Additionally, sessions will allow for opportunities to workshop ways to make ungrading work for your classes and syllabi and help your students feel more comfortable in a system without points. We will also consider opportunities and challenges for integrating ungrading into a higher education system based on grades and quantitative assessment.

(facilitated by Jerry Shannon, Shira Chess, & Elizabeth Davis)

Follow this link for more information about past CTL FLCs, 2007-2021. (PDF)

For more information about the CTL’s Faculty Learning Communities, please contact Ameya Sawadkar.

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