Faculty Learning Communities
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.
CTL 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.
For More Information
For additional information about CTL’s Faculty Learning Community program, email Dr. Ruth Poproski.
Click here to download the Faculty Learning Community Reimbursement Form (PDF).
2019-2020 Faculty Learning Communities
This FLC will create a community of faculty members interested in supporting and improving
their students' reading skills and their reading assignments. Together, we will discuss
a range of issues related to student reading at UGA, including the interface between
reading and writing, student motivation for reading, how to teach discipline-specific
reading skills to undergraduates and graduate students, how to choose texts to read,
how to assess reading, and classes as reading communities. Ultimately, this group
will collaborate on a digital resource to share strategies for supporting students
as readers with UGA faculty and a wider audience of teachers online.
- Identify roadblocks that might keep students from reading and engaging successfully with scholarly texts.
- Share, describe, investigate, and assess strategies for 1) teaching advanced reading skills, 2) scaffolding reading assignments, and 3) supporting students as readers across the disciplines.
- Shine a light on the importance of focusing on student reading at UGA as a way to support student engagement and learning.
Meeting Time: TBD by participants (hoping for Tuesday or Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. every three weeks)
Facilitators: Ingie Hovland (email@example.com) and Lindsey Harding (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The goal of this FLC would be to identify and analyze acceptable evidence of student learning (knowledge, skills, habits of mind, values) in our classrooms. For many, this is a start to SoTL and to showing the impact of their redesign work to a broader audience; for others, they just want to use data to improve their courses once they're implementing them.
The goals of the FLC will depend on participants' needs and timeline, but I see two, possibly 3, goals that this FLC could accomplish:
- identifying formal and informal assignments, data or products that make student learning visible & collecting & organizing that data;
- collectively analyzing that dataâ€še.g., one person brings in student work (either raw or partially analyzed) and we all lay eyes on it to interpret what we see/don't see and brainstorm next steps.
- Creating resources/guides to help other faculty who want to engage in the same process in their classrooms
Meeting Time: TBD by participants
Facilitators: Colleen Kuusinen (email@example.com)
Digital Humanities has intersections in research methodologies, data ethics, computational strategies, computer science, and philosophy. Many faculty are interested in integrating it into their own research, or want support assisting their undergraduates and graduates with DH methods. This group will be a space for open discussion and practical advice. Given that DH practitioners are already a small subset of the humanities, supportive groups like this have tremendous positive effects. We would welcome dabblers and experts-- no coding nor experience necessary.
- Engage in critical discussions about DH methods
- Share pedagogical techniques for incorporating DH methods into the classroom
- Discuss personal project research
- Define research questions using data
- Discuss data ethics relevant to the humanities
Meeting Time: Wednesdays, time tbd by participants
Facilitators: Elliott Kuecker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Emily McGinn (email@example.com)
This FLC is aimed at faculty who wish to improve the effectiveness of their teaching and the quality of student learning. The design of the FLC involves a) relaxed discussion of ideas with other faculty using short readings as a focus for those discussions and b) participants implementing some of these ideas as part of their existing classroom activities. This year, as our project we aim to produce two or three short (5-7 minute) videos that describe, explain, and provide concrete examples of some of the teaching techniques discussed by the group. We aim to make these videos available to all faculty at UGA as a tool to introduce these techniques and provide inspiration for incorporating them into a wide variety of classroom settings.
There are two main goals of this FLC:
- have participants explore, promote, and implement teaching activities designed to promote metacognition and enhance student learning;
- develop a series of short videos describing some of these techniques and showing their implementation in different real-world settings. We will make use of a variety of materials to stimulate discussion, including Make it Stick (Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel), How Learning Works (Ambrose et al.,), Teach Students How to Learn (McGuire and McGuire), as well as papers in the education literature and internal documents such as 5 Easy Ways to Take Your Course to the Next Level produced by the Senior Teaching Fellows class of 2017-2018. Participants in the FLC will select one (or more) of these techniques to implement into their own teaching. In addition, during the spring semester, the group as a whole will produce 2-3 videos, each describing a single technique and showing different implementations of the technique.
Meeting Time: Tuesdays or Thursdays 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Facilitators: Gaylen Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Adrian Burd (email@example.com)
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 theater is a discipline that has been used in many settings to promote and improve robust communication skills. This FLC will provide an orientation to improv technique for faculty new to improvisational theater 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 theater apply to pedagogy, critical thinking skills, and creativity.
- To introduce faculty to the techniques and ethos of improvisational theater
- To promote improvisational expertise in a collegial and supportive environment
- To support faculty in thinking of practical ways that they can incorporate improvisation into their own classrooms
- To further explore how the concepts of theatrical performance can nourish and inform the practices of teaching and creative thinking
Meeting Time: Thursdays at 6:30pm
Facilitators: Jerry Gale (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Edwin Sperr (email@example.com)
The purpose of this FLC is to generate a publishable document that will serve as a basic guide for higher education faculty who offer courses with a distance learning component. This is an interdisciplinary FLC, and therefore our goals will be accomplished by engaging in sustained, meaningful conversations about teaching and learning strategies that facilitate active, inspirational, and situated approaches to course design. We will contribute demonstrations, identify resources, and share innovative digital technologies that promote inclusive pedagogies for courses with a distance learning component. The first meeting will be devoted to group goal-setting, based on what the FLC participants want to accomplish during the academic year.
Meeting Time: Fridays 8:30-9:45 AM, August 30, September 20, October 4, November 1, November 22 (Spring 2020 dates and times tbd by the group)
Facilitators: Rob Branch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Student well-being is directly linked to success in the classroom and beyond and plays a critical role in retention, progression, and graduation. The most common wellness barriers to student success nationally are: stress, anxiety, sleep difficulties, depression, concern for a friend/family member, finances, illness and relationship difficulties (American College Health Association national survey 2017). Seven of the top ten academic disruptions are health/mental health/wellness related issues. This FLC will take a deep dive look at the intersection of wellness and academic success with the goal of developing a toolkit of classroom interventions for faculty.
- Examine current college student trends, demographics, and characteristics.
- Examine health promotion, social work, counseling, and psychological theories related to wellbeing.
- Create an inventory of interventions to Infuse health and wellbeing concepts into learning environments.
- Enhance and expand the support network for students by increasing faculty awareness of resources.
Meeting Time: Fridays, 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. (University Health Center, September 6, 27; October 18; Novemer 8, 22; December 13)
Facilitators: Beate Brunow (email@example.com), Jennifer Hester (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Liz Prince (email@example.com)
Meetings will center on discussion of a pre-determined topic that is common to teaching in laboratory environments (e.g. safety concerns, scheduling). The goals of each meeting are to identify current practices used by faculty and staff that teach laboratory classes that address the topic ; to discuss those useful practices (and those that are problematic); and to generate and collect ideas and resources that address problematic issues or practices. These ideas and best practices will be compiled and made accessible to UGA faculty and staff.
- Identify common "points of pain" for instructors and students in the teaching laboratory experience at the University of Georgia (focusing on biological and physical sciences)
- Generate and collect current practices related to laboratory teaching and learning
- Identify policies and procedures related to laboratory instruction and safety that work (ie, those that are effective from an instructional perspective and from a learning perspective)
- Provide a forum for discussion of current policies / procedures / practices among faculty and staff
- Produce a freely available resource base of documents, policies, and links for teaching laboratory faculty and staff
Meeting Time: TBD based on participant availability (coordinated around typical lab start and end times)
Facilitators: Kristen Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ann Massey (email@example.com)
This FLC will allow participants to explore the educational concept of metacognition: That we can promote student academic success by intentionally helping students learn how to learn most effectively depending on context. There are a plethora of existing metacognition-promoting tools instructors can leverage that build upon common classroom tasks to help students become more effective learners (e.g., exam wrappers to help students process their exam study habits), and learning about these techniques can make an important difference in creating more success-oriented and equitable classrooms. Participants in this FLC will learn about key facets of metacognition as a concept and helpful classroom tools for promoting metacognition, and have opportunities to apply and process results from metacognition-promoting tools in their classrooms under the wing of a support community of colleagues.
We anticipate that this FLC will be jointly funded between the CTL and the Engineering Education Transformations Institute, drawing a large number of applicants from the College of Engineering while also being of interest to faculty from other colleges.
This FLC has two main goals, each of which will be achieved in one semester. The first goal, achieved in the Fall semester, will be to learn about metacognition as a concept and about metacognition-supporting tools available to instructors. By the end of the fall semester, participants will be able to articulate what metacognition is and select metacognition-supporting tools appropriate for their instructional contexts and goals.
The second goal, achieved in the Spring semester, will be for participants to implement a plan for supporting student metacognition in their classes. Participants will spend the first meeting of the Spring semester working with one another to formulate this plan, and will meet regularly to debrief on progress and results to-date, and generally to share experiences and support one another in implementing their plans.
Meeting Time: Wednesday (over breakfast or lunch) every three weeks
Facilitators: John Morelock (John.Morelock@uga.edu) and Nicki Sochacka (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This ongoing FLC is sponsored by the Office of Faculty Affairs, and is continuing to work on action items supporting faculty in non-tenure-track roles (e.g., lecturer, academic professional, clinical faculty, public service, research scientist, etc.). Building on prior years' work, the FLC will focus this year on topics including supporting new non-tenure track (NTT) faculty, implementing a mentoring program, reviewing relevant UGA and USG policies, disseminating data and information on best practices for NTT faculty support, and disseminating relevant information more strategically to department heads and other campus leaders.
- Provide a community of practice/support structure for interested non-tenure-track faculty in any role;
- Continue collaborations with the Office of Faculty Affairs to enhance knowledge of new and current department heads on policies and practices for NTT faculty;
- Launch NTT faculty mentoring program;
- Investigate, develop and disseminate best-practices for NTT governance, promotion, and policies
Meeting Time: Thursday afternoons, 3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Facilitators: Paul Matthews (email@example.com) and Clair McClure (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Faculty diversity has been discussed at length for years (Taylor et al., 2010). Researchers
argue that (beyond the need for faculty demographics to reflect the increasingly,
culturally diverse U.S. student population) universities should be striving to integrate
diverse perspectives that reflect the global community within our classroom. However,
once welcomed on campus, institutions face another challenge: retention. In particular,
researchers note that retention rates of ethnic minorities at Predominantly White
Institutions (PWIs) are lower than national retention rates (Whittaker, Montgomery,
& Acosta, 2015). Furthermore, researchers report that female faculty (in STEM fields
in particular) were less likely to be promoted in 6 or 8 years in comparison to men
and more likely to leave their institutions without tenure (Gumpertz et al., 2017).
In this faculty learning community, faculty with interest in supporting faculty members who belong to underrepresented groups will explore research based interventions and resources that cultivate resilience and promote retention rates at the University of Georgia.
- Explore the relationship between job satisfaction, retention, and productivity in higher education.
- Explore empirically supported interventions that support retention of underrepresented faculty.
- Explore the university and community resources that support retention of underrepresented faculty.
- Develop an online resource for faculty belonging to underrepresented groups.
Meeting Time: TBD by participant availability (either Mondays or Fridays)
Facilitators: Megan P. Brock (email@example.com)
The Service-Learning Scholarship and Research FLC will focus this year on supporting 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 and should have a research question in mind relating to the pedagogy (e.g., impacts on students, community, faculty, or institution). The FLC may also collaborate on addressing larger, campus-wide questions around teaching and learning via academic service-learning.
- Collaborate with other practitioners of service-learning to better understand impacts and outcomes of the pedagogy
- Design and undertake SoTL projects around academic service-learning pedagogy
- Disseminate resulting scholarship through products and presentations
Meeting Time: Wednesday afternoons
Facilitators: Paul Matthews (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Whether we are preparing to teach a course or writing a manuscript, it can be a challenge to protect time on our schedules to be productive. This FLC is designed to discover physical places and create intellectual space to work on individual projects while keeping one another accountable and sharing tips, tricks, tools, and practical application of pedagogy. The FLC will meet in different locations around campus and Athens to explore places suitable for out-of-office work, including meeting with students, grading, writing, and collaborative meetings. During each meeting, we will set aside time for members to gain feedback on projects, learn about teaching/research skills or pedagogical tools/strategies for productivity, or collaborate on projects; the majority of each meeting will be set aside as productive time for individual projects. Once a semester the FLC will devote one meeting for a professional development training based on the interest of the group that help further collaboration and productivity across teaching and research.
The main goal of this FLC is to increase productivity and collaboration within the group to positively impact teaching, research, and service, and be able to share outcomes with the larger UGA faculty community.
Meeting Time: TBD by participants
Facilitators: Brandy Burgess (email@example.com) and Anne Gilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sustainability education requires us to cross disciplinary divides as we teach students to integrate social, economic and environmental concerns to address the grand challenges of our time. The Sustainability across the Curricula Faculty Learning Community functions as a working group on sustainability in the curriculum. This year the FLC will focus on the new Foodshed UGA Project through the lens of the 17 UN Global Goals. These goals were developed in 2015 to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. Foodshed UGA emerged out of last year's FLC's focused on Global Goal #2: Zero Hunger, to engage campus and community in sustainability and innovation through food. In the 2019-2020 FLC, faculty will explore how their courses and research intersects with each Global Goal in relation to our food system.
- Explore sustainability education through our many disciplines and contribute to on-going scholarship in this area.
- Share ideas, resources, and practical ways to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.
- Provide an interdisciplinary forum to foster conversation and collaboration to address grand challenges in the curriculum.
- Identify ways to apply each UN Global Goals to the sustainability of our food system
Meeting Time: TBD by participant availability (possibly Tuesday or Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.)
Facilitators: Tyra Byers (email@example.com) and Ron Balthazor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We have been exploring means of assessing creative student work and are specifically interested in the use of written reflection to document student learning. We are in the midst of a data collection to understand the use of this practice at UGA and will use these data to develop a report on how to continue or enhance this practice in the classroom.
This year we will continue data collection and analysis, and will develop a report
to be shared with the UGA teaching community on the uses of written reflection at
UGA. We hope this will be a tool for other teaching faculty to use in courses that
are not easily assessed by traditionally objective means.
Meeting Time: TBD by participants
Facilitators: Rebecca Atkins (email@example.com) and Alison Farley (firstname.lastname@example.org)