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.

One faculty facilitator per FLC each semester will receive $1,500 in extra compensation from CELT, with payment made at the completion of the work. If two faculty co-facilitate an FLC, then they can request to split the $1,500, totaling to $750 each in extra compensation. Faculty with administrative appointments or staff who co-facilitate an FLC are not eligible for extra compensation since this work aligns with their job description.  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 and attendance data from that portal will populate one time per month into APL’s Faculty Profile→Activity→Professional Development.    

Faculty Learning Communities for Spring 2020

Topic-Based FLCs

Beyond Us vs. Them: Cultivating Dialogue in Classrooms

This faculty learning community focuses on the use of dialogue to foster classroom conversations that connect people across differences and empower students.  

Deep social and political divisions permeate everyday conversations and life experiences today. As such, it has become increasingly difficult to foster classroom conversations on tough topics without labeling, judging, or situating people into positions that stymie openness, curiosity, empathy, and critical thinking. As a cross-cultural phenomenon, dialogue can connect people across differences and enables active participation in critical conversations. This faculty learning community leverages dialogic pedagogy to explore practical, innovative ways for educators to cultivate classroom conversations beyond “us” vs. “them” and empower student learning. Members of this FLC will read research on facilitating dialogue, establish a plan for integrating dialogue in their courses, and enjoy a final catered lunch together.

Beyond Us vs. Them: Cultivating Dialogue in Classrooms is facilitated by Dr. Hoa Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Spring 2020 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. Nguyen (hnnguyen@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Designing Courses with a Little TILT and Some HIPs

This faculty learning community focuses on creating assignments that TILT (Transparency in Learning and Teaching) and are HIPs (High-Impact Practices). 

This FLC builds on the Designing Courses FLC last year. Faculty from different academic programs and ranks will refine their skills together and share strategies for making changes to courses that lead to student success. We will focus on creating assignments that TILT (Transparency in Learning and Teaching) and are HIPs (High-Impact Practices). This FLC is ideally suited for those with existing assignments that are challenging for students and need to be “TILTed” and/or for faculty looking to embed HIPS into a course.  Ultimately, each participant in this FLC will write a 1-2-page reflective narrative about their course changes as a result of participation in this FLC. Light snacks will be provided at each gathering with a final catered lunch.

Designing Courses with a little TILT and some HIPs is co-facilitated by Dr. Ray Elson, Professor of Accounting and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar, along with Dr. Nicole Cox, Associate Professor of Mass Media and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Spring 2020 semester in the Langdale College of Business Administration. The specific meeting dates will be on Wednesdays, 1/22, 2/12, 3/4, 3/25, 4/15, and 4/29, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., in HSBA 3017A. To join this FLC, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

First-Year Seminar Pilot Community

This community is dedicated to producing syllabuses for pilot First-Year Seminar courses in the spring and fall semesters of 2021 at VSU.

Faculty and staff from various disciplines and areas will discuss ways to incorporate course learning outcomes, transparent course and assignment design, inclusive teaching practices, and mindset theory. We’ll look at why and under what conditions the first-year seminar is considered a high-impact practice. Repeatedly, we’ll ask and try to answer the big question: How can and should we embed instruction regarding the basic skills of college success in a course whose primary purpose is academic? By the end of the semester, each participant will produce a complete, ready-to-teach syllabus and a 1-2 page rationale for the syllabus.

First-Year Seminar Pilot Community is 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 Spring 2020 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 everyone's schedules, please e-mail Mr. Rogers (gjrogers@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Interprofessional Educational Practices Across Health Professions

This FLC will foster relationships of VSU faculty who are healthcare professionals by collaboratively developing patient-centered cases that can be infused across health-related curricula.

Interprofessional education and collaborative practice are necessary in modern day healthcare. Specifically, this occurs when students and professionals from different health professions learn together and from each other. As a result, this FLC will foster relationships of VSU faculty who are healthcare professionals by collaboratively developing patient-centered cases that can be infused across health-related curricula, such as in communication disorders, nursing, health sciences, exercise physiology, social work, or healthcare administration. The cases developed will enhance the critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills of students to better meet today’s healthcare challenges. Participants in this FLC will not only identify a case to be used in all of their classes but also contribute to a submission for the 2021 Collaboration Across Borders Conference, which is a signature event of the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative.

The FLC is facilitated by Dr. Ruth Renee Hannibal, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Spring 2020 semester in the Health Sciences and Business Administration building. 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. Hannibal (rrhannib@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Open Pedagogy, OER, and Your Classroom

This FLC focuses on how professors can best adopt the principles of Open Pedagogy and utilize Open Educational Resources (OER) in their classroom.

Whether you have been working with Open Pedagogy and OERs for years or you want to know more, all participants in this FLC will be encouraged to help each other strategize how to adapt an open approach to teaching and learning in their unique classroom environments. Special topics include licensing and copyright, instructional design, and affordable learning. Participants will enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks when first gathering, as well as a final lunch and learn celebration. Ultimately, each participant will write a reflective narrative and leave with at least one strategy for employing either open pedagogical techniques or open educational resources in their face-to-face or online courses. They will also assist in designing a faculty development workshop to help colleagues implement these practices in the future.

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Michael Holt, Associate Professor in the Library, along with Dr. Jan Drake, Associate Professor of Physics. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Spring 2020 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. Holt (moholt@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Preparing Critically Conscious Teachers for the 21st Century Classroom

Preparing Critically Conscious Teachers for the 21st Century Classroom is for faculty who are interested in dismantling deficit thinking by examination of the matrix of privilege and oppression.

In this FLC, faculty from multiple disciplines will examine their positionality as it relates to privilege, power, and oppression. Participants will examine student qualitative participation as they explicate their notions of critical consciousness that impact teaching and student engagement. Participants are asked to not only examine their awareness of critical consciousness through personal cognizance, intercultural knowledge, and practice, but also to evaluate systemic operations through policy analysis. To conclude the FLC, faculty will write a reflection about how they will employ critical inquiry and inclusive pedagogy in their courses through the deconstruction of broader structures of inequity in the Deep South of the U.S.A.

Preparing Critically Conscious Teachers for the 21st Century Classroom is facilitated by Dr. James Martínez, Associate Professor of Education and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Spring 2020 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 email Dr. Martinez (jammartinez@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Studio Pedagogy and Experiential Learning

The Studio Pedagogy FLC is for faculty who create cultural artifacts to share and curate studio-based experiential learning strategies.

Adopting the time-tested approach of the studio as a site of education, faculty coming from art, design, performance, media production, and other creative perspectives will explore studio-based pedagogy. Studio-based pedagogy is a form of experiential learning. As a result, participants in this faculty learning community will read research, discuss, and observe exemplars for how to engage and inspire undergraduate students in the studio, studio-specific course design and delivery, collaborative learning, assuring authentic self-reflection and assessment, giving critical feedback, and leveraging digital technology for multimedia assignments. Ultimately, this FLC will begin development of a faculty-student primer of actionable strategies for studio-based pedagogy across the institution, with the hope to incorporate this work into a micro-certification course in the future.   

This FLC is facilitated by Talley Mulligan, Associate Professor of Mass Media. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Spring 2020 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue). To join the FLC and participate in the scheduling poll that will determine which Fridays at 2 p.m. work best, e-mail Tally Mulligan (tmulligan@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Teaching Toolkit and Course Design for Literature and the Humanities

This FLC will develop a toolkit of innovative teaching techniques and course design for non-lecture classes that use literature and other humanistic texts. 

Upon graduation, VSU students enter a complex world, which increases its complexity on an exponential scale every year. Not only do we need to prepare students to compete in this environment but also teach them how to actively engage in the world. This FLC will develop a toolkit of innovative teaching techniques and course design for non-lecture classes that use literature and other humanistic texts. All participants will read and receive a complimentary copy of Paul Hanstedt’s 2018 book, Creating Wicked Students: Designing Courses for a Complex World. Topics include first week of class activities such as concept maps, peer learning and group work strategies, flipping the classroom, transparent assignments, and how to scaffold and assess student engagement. At its conclusion, faculty in this FLC will write a 1-2 page narrative that identifies changes they will make to how they teach or design courses.  

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Dixie Ray Haggard, Professor of History and Georgia Governor's Teaching Fellow. The FLC will gather on Mondays, 1/27, 2/17, 3/9, 3/30, 4/13, 4/27, from 12 to 1 p.m., at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue) during the Spring 2020 semester. by Dec. 13, 2019. To join this FLC, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Turning Burnout into Optimism

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. 

The Turning Burnout into Optimism FLC continues for another semester. 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 feeling powerless in the face of mounting pressures to teach, produce, retain, serve. This faculty learning community offers contemplative practices and pedagogies that nurture slowing down, quieting the mind, and valuing our connections to each other through meditation, deep listening, and reflective reading and writing. Each participant in this FLC will receive a complimentary copy of Parker Palmer’s award-winning book, The Courage to Teach, and be able to use CELT’s mediation cushions when gathering. Ultimately, each faculty member will write a reflective narrative about their development through medication/deep listening and 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 facilitated by Dr. Chere Peguesse, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Academic Support Center. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Spring 2020 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 Dec. 13, 2019. Once the dates/times are confirmed by the scheduling poll, then faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Cohort-Based FLCs

Department Head Roundtables

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 Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top

Faculty Writing Circles 

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 Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

 Return to the Top 

New Faculty Learning Community

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 Dec. 13, 2019. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

Return to the Top