Faculty Learning Communities



A faculty learning community (FLC) is an ongoing, active group of faculty who work together to explore new pedagogy, support one another as a cohort when at a similar stage of their career, engage in cutting-edge conversations about a topic in higher education or strategic planning initiative at the institution, research and write together, or share another identity that connects them professionally or personally. By design, faculty learning communities promote collegiality across disciplines, departments, and colleges, and they encourage energy, empowerment, and innovation among participants by providing a safe space to explore new ideas, experiment, and reflect with colleagues.

"Faculty learning communities build communication across disciplines, increase faculty interest in teaching and learning, initiate excursions into the scholarship of teaching, and foster civic responsibility... They change individuals, and, over time, they change institutional culture."                                             -- Milton D. Cox, Miami University, founder of FLCs

FLCs typically involve 8-12 participants and are always facilitated by a faculty member. They are cohort-based or topic-based, or sometimes a combination. The Director of CELT (Dr. Jamie Landau) supports FLCs in a number of ways:

  • Facilitating or co-facilitating
  • Helping to select topics and readings
  • Recruiting members
  • Assisting with promotion and communication
  • Coordinating schedules through Doodle polls
  • Providing meeting spaces at CELT that can be reserved
  • Offering financial support and computer technology whenever possible
  • Reviewing the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) about topics
  • Participating in a group

Facilitate a Faculty Learning Community

If you want to facilitate or form an FLC in collaboration with CELT, then please fill out this CELT FLC Proposal FormProposals are due approximately two months before the start of the semester when your FLC will run. If you have any questions, contact the Director of CELT, Dr. Jamie Landau (jlandau@valdosta.edu, 229-333-6032). If you are a faculty member in business, the arts, or a clinical field such as nursing, CELT is especially interested in creating faculty learning communities that serve the needs of those professional identities so please contact Dr. Landau with any ideas.

Faculty facilitators of CELT's FLCs receive $1,500 in extra compensation for their work. Whenever possible, CELT's annual operating budget and CELT's VSU Foundation account can offer additional funding for FLC supplies, such as to purchase books and food.

Join a Faculty Learning Community    

To join a faculty learning community, contact the facilitator(s) identified in the descriptions below to participate in their scheduling poll and then make sure to register for the program through the VSU Training Portal once the meeting dates/times are confirmed in the portal.

Registering through the VSU Training Portal benefits faculty because that data will directly feed into our faculty management solution APL nextED. Specifically, the registration data from that portal will populate one time per month into APL’s Faculty Profile→Activity→Professional Development.   

Faculty Learning Communities for Fall 2019

Topic-Based FLCs

Faculty Innovators in Educational Technology

Facilitators: Dr. Nicole Cox, Associate Professor of Mass Media, along with Don Tusler, Online Instructional Designer in the Center for eLearning

Faculty Innovators in Educational Technology is an FLC for peer-to-peer training on integrating technology into the classroom and online.

This FLC will focus on a series of topics and activities related to educational technology, ranging from building faculty confidence for using technology to discussing adult learning theories to implementing best practices for teaching online. No matter the skill level or academic discipline, all participants in this FLC will be encouraged to train each other in the innovative use of educational technology in the classroom or online. Participants will enjoy complimentary snacks and light refreshments when gathering, as well as they will have a final lunch and learn celebration. Ultimately, the faculty innovators in educational technology will design a faculty development workshop to deliver to other colleagues in the future.

Faculty Innovators in Educational Technology is co-facilitated by Dr. Nicole Cox, Associate Professor of Mass Media, and Don Tusler, Online Instructional Designer in the Center for eLearning. The FLC will gather for an hour, six times during the Fall 2019 semester in the Communication Arts Building (CAC room 1014). To join this FLC and participate in a Doodle scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, e-mail Don Tusler (dktusler@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Inclusive Teaching

Facilitator: Gardner Rogers, Senior Lecturer of English and USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar 

This USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar FLC brings together faculty from all disciplines to discuss and enact practices that can make our teaching more inclusive.

What are the needs of college students today, particularly those from diverse backgrounds? How can we craft learning environments at VSU that empower all students? Participants in this faculty learning community will explore these questions and related topics by reading excerpts of canonical pedagogical scholarship by bell hooks and Paulo Freire along with contemporary articles that address inclusive teaching as it impacts classroom environment and culture, course materials, and course assignments. At its conclusion, members of this FLC will enjoy a catered lunch together and contribute to a one-two page narrative discussing changes they have made and anticipate making to their teaching to make it more inclusive.

Inclusive Teaching will be facilitated by Gardner Rogers, a Senior Lecturer in English and USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Gardner (gjrogers@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Small Teaching Online

Facilitator: Dr. Nicole Cox, Associate Professor of Mass Media and USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar

This USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar FLC introduces faculty to the idea that small teaching shifts online can lead to major impacts on student learning.

While small teaching practices have been successfully implemented in face-to-face classrooms, recent work applies these principles to online instruction. This FLC will follow the outline of Flower Darby and James Lang's newly published book, Small Teaching Online (2019). The book is based in the science of learning and written for busy faculty who seek easy-to-implement strategies for teaching online and hybrid courses. Among many relevant issues to online education, participants will explore how to leverage multimedia, build community, and motivate students online. Each participant of this FLC will receive a complimentary copy of the book, Small Teaching Online, and enjoy light refreshments, snacks, and a meal together. Ultimately, the FLC will create an infographic of helpful tips for small teaching online for colleagues at VSU.

The Small Teaching Online FLC is facilitated by Dr. Nicole Cox, Associate Professor of Mass Media and a USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Dr. Cox (nbcox@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Teaching Gender

Facilitators: Dr. Rebecca Lee Reynolds, Lecturer in Art History, along with Dr. A.J. Ramirez, Lecturer in Sociology

This FLC on Teaching Gender is for an interdisciplinary group of faculty to read, share, and compare experiences teaching gender studies at VSU.

No matter what subject you teach, gender is always part of the curriculum, even when unspoken. This faculty learning community will focus on gender in the classroom, from the role it plays in student lives to critical pedagogies and the scholarly literature of gender studies. By creating a space for an interdisciplinary group of faculty to convene around the topic of teaching gender at VSU, we'll share and compare experiences teaching gender-related material, discuss challenges that arise in the classroom, and read some of the latest research in gender studies. Each participant in this FLC will receive a complimentary copy of bell hooks' foundational book, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Ultimately, each member will contribute to a web resource for teaching gender studies at VSU and make related changes to their course syllabi and assignments.

This FLC is co-facilitated by Dr. Rebecca Lee Reynolds, Lecturer in Art History, and Dr. A.J. Ramirez, Lecturer in Sociology. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join the FLC and participate in the scheduling poll that will determine whether to meet Thursdays at 5 PM, or Fridays at 3:30 PM, please e-mail Dr. Reynolds (rebreynolds@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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The Role of Popular Culture in the University Classroom

Facilitator: Dr. Nicholas Miller, Assistant Professor of English

The Role of Popular Culture in the University Classroom is for faculty to learn interdisciplinary approaches to teaching popular culture that complement their primary fields of study.

By engaging in pedagogical conversations about celebrities, comics, film, fashion, gaming, genre fiction, marketing, music, and sports (among other artifacts), participants in this FLC will be asked to think more deeply about the value of cultural productions and popular ideologies in the university classroom. In the process, this FLC seeks to create a cohort of interdisciplinary faculty. The topic of this FLC will also provide participants with teaching strategies for building bridges between popular, public, and material cultures and the cultural artifacts we often consider "traditional" objects of study. Ultimately, faculty will enjoy a final meal together and contribute to a short video about how their ideas about the role of popular culture in the classroom evolved and/or were affirmed by this FLC.

The Role of Popular Culture in the University Classroom will be facilitated by Dr. Nicholas E. Miller, Assistant Professor in the Department of English. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Dr. Miller (nemiller@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Turning Burnout into Optimism

Facilitators: Dr. Chere Peguesse, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Academic Support Center, along with Dr. Michael Sanger, Associate Professor of Social Work

Turning Burnout into Optimism is for faculty to engage in contemplative practices that will help them be more resilient in their lives and work as educators. 

We all know the energy drain of doing more with less, and faculty burnout impacts student learning. Student stress is well-recognized and addressed in the current climate, but faculty are often left to themselves. This faculty learning community offers some contemplative practices that nurture slowing down, quieting the mind, and valuing our connections to each other through meditation, deep listening, and reflective reading and writing. Participants in this FLC will receive a meditation cushion, yoga block, and a complimentary copy of Mary Rose O'Reilley's The Garden at Night: Burnout and Breakdown in the Teaching Life. Ultimately, each faculty member will write a reflective narrative about their development through meditation/deep listening, how (or if) that changed their perspective on teaching, and whether they felt more optimistic or resilient. If interested, the FLC might also lead a future related workshop for other faculty, staff, and students on campus.

The Turning Burnout into Optimism FLC is co-facilitated by Dr. Chere Peguesse, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Academic Support Center, and Dr. Michael Sanger, Associate Professor of Social Work. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Dr. Peguesse (cpeguess@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry

Facilitators: Dr. Dereth "Jan" Drake, Co-Coordinator of Undergraduate Research and Associate Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, and Dr. Kalina Winska, Associate Professor of Art

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry FLC is for faculty to convene as a cross-disciplinary group to define and design undergraduate research and creative projects.

One of VSU's strategic planning goals is to increase student participation in experiential learning and high-impact practices, such as undergraduate research. Joining other institutional efforts that address that goal, this FLC is for faculty to learn from peers how research is conducted across disciplines and share strategies for engaging students in this type of experiential learning. Even the term "undergraduate research" will be interrogated in this FLC since it does not fully capture what occurs in the arts. Topics of discussion will range from definitions to learning outcomes to pedagogical approaches for undergraduate research and creative inquiry (e.g. team-based projects, independent inquiry). Each faculty member will read and receive a complimentary copy of the 2017 book, The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research, and enjoy snacks during the first and last gathering. Finally, all participants will contribute to a summary report of instructional design strategies and recommendations for colleagues at VSU.

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity FLC is co-facilitated by Dr. Dereth "Jan" Drake, Co-Coordinator of Undergraduate Research and Associate Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, and Dr. Kalina Winska, Associate Professor of Art. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Dr. Drake (djdrake@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Cohort-Based FLCs

Department Head Roundtables

Facilitators: Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Associate Professor of Communication Arts, along with Ashley Cooper, Assistant Director for HR and Employee & Organizational Development

Department Head Roundtables is a cohort-based learning community that addresses the needs of department heads, whether they are new to this role or they have led a department for a number of years. Gatherings occur about once a month throughout the academic year.

Similar to administrators and other managerial staff at VSU, department heads can choose to participate in management, supervision, and leadership training offered by Employee & Organizational Development in Human Resources. As a supplement to those trainings and to provide a structured ongoing peer support network, these roundtables focus on issues that are relevant to department heads in particular and which they can problem-solve together. Sample areas of focus include what are the stated (and unstated) responsibilities of department heads and strategies to succeed at those tasks, developing long-range departmental goals and vision, data-driven decision-making, managing in times of transition, fostering teamwork among disparate faculty, balancing work-life demands, and interpersonal and organizational conflict management. At the end of the academic year, each department head will write a 1-2 page reflective narrative about any career accomplishments or other benefits they experience from participating in the Department Head Roundtables. 

Department Head Roundtables are co-facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and an Associate Professor of Communication Arts, along with Ashley Cooper, Assistant Director for HR and Employee & Organizational Development. Participation is voluntary. Each gathering will last an hour and occur in CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into department head schedules, please e-mail Dr. Landau (jlandau@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Faculty Writing Circles 

Facilitators: Dr. Maren Clegg-Hyer, Professor of English, along with Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Associate Professor of Communication Arts

The Faculty Writing Circles are writing groups for faculty to get their writing done and maintain their research agendas with the support of one another across disciplines.  

Given heavy teaching loads during the semester, it can be a struggle for faculty to fit writing into their daily routines. Research in faculty development shows that writing groups have significant benefits. They help with motivation, goal-setting, time-management, and accountability. They are an opportunity to receive encouragement and feedback about current research projects. They help faculty be more prepared for performance reviews. And they foster interdisciplinary relationships among faculty, such as by forming writing buddies. Ultimately, each faculty member in the Faculty Writing Circles will write a 1-2 page reflective narrative about any career accomplishments and other benefits they experience from participating in the writing group.  

The Faculty Writing Circles are facilitated by Dr. Maren Clegg-Hyer, Professor of English, and Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and an Associate Professor of Communication Arts. These writing groups gather separately every other week throughout the academic year at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join one of the writing circles and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Dr. Clegg-Hyer (mclegghyer@valdosta.edu) by August 1, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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New Faculty Learning Community

Facilitator: Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Associate Professor of Communication Arts

The New Faculty Learning Community is a year-long cohort-based faculty learning community that addresses the needs of faculty who are in the first year of their jobs at VSU. 

As a follow-up to New Faculty Orientation, this group gathers every three weeks throughout the academic year for new faculty to support one another across disciplines and departments, comfortably discuss topics, and engage in activities that are relevant to this stage of their career at VSU. Sample areas of focus include advice given by new VSU faculty from the previous year, inspiration from winners of VSU’s Excellence in Teaching awards, high-impact pedagogy, tips for teaching online and teaching first-generation students, creating inclusive and equitable classrooms, maintaining an active scholarly agenda and seeking external funding, preparing for the first-year review, a hidden history walking tour of campus, and getting to know the city of Valdosta. At the end of the academic year, each new faculty will write a 1-2 page reflective narrative about any course changes they made or career accomplishments they had as a result of participation in the FLC.

The group is facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and an Associate Professor of Communication Arts. Participation by new faculty is voluntary. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Fall 2019 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join this FLC and participate in a scheduling poll that will determine the specific meeting dates/times that fit best into faculty schedules, please e-mail Dr. Landau (jlandau@valdosta.edu) by August 9, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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