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 2023

 

First-Year Seminar Experience Course Design and Instruction

Facilitator: Dr. Shá Wilfred

This learning community explores design and instruction topics related to the current structure of VSU’s First-Year Seminar Experience (FYSE) 1101 course.

FYSE courses are high-impact practices that provide students with opportunities to engage in the in-depth investigation of topics, interact extensively with instructors and peers, develop and/or enhance transferable skills, and understand and communicate the connection between the curricular and co-curricular. The design and instruction of such courses requires significant planning and continual revision. In this learning community for faculty, staff, and GAs interested in the FYSE, participants will become familiar with the predesigned FYSE 1101 course structure, discuss how to integrate topics of their interest into the course, and learn best teaching practices. Ultimately, each participant will design their own FYSE1101 course, build relationships with colleagues who have already taught and/or who are preparing to teach the course, and contribute to FYSE instructor guides. Complimentary meals and books are included.

This learning community is facilitated by Dr. Shá Wilfred, General Education Coordinator and Professor of Criminal Justice. 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. Wilfred (spgray@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2022. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Teaching First-Year Students 

Facilitator: Dr. Glenda Swan

This FLC is for faculty who teach first-year students at VSU.

Even before the pandemic, more and more first-year students were entering higher education with less preparation and readiness. What are some strategies for setting up these students for present and future success at VSU? The focus of this faculty learning community is to identify current or potential issues and concerns associated with teaching first-year students, and then brainstorm and explore possible pedagogical solutions. While this FLC is designed to be particularly useful for faculty running – or planning to run – a course that primarily serves first-year students (e.g., 100-level general education course, first-year foundation course within a discipline, first-year seminar experience course, first-year student learning community), anyone interested in helping students make a successful transition into our university is welcome. Each participant will compose a brief about at least one of the pedagogical activities, techniques, or approaches discussed in our FLC. These briefs will later be shared with VSU’s Coordinators of General Education and First-Year Programs to become a resource for all faculty.

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Glenda Swan, Associate Professor of Art History. The FLC will gather for one hour six times during the Spring 2023 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. Swan (gmswan@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2022. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Rethinking the Academic Grading Practice

Facilitator: Dr. Xiaoai Ren

This faculty learning community encourages faculty rethink their grading practice and share alternative grading/ungrading methods with each other.

As educators, a significant amount of our time is spent on grading student works and providing feedback, but WHY do we grade? How can we grade and provide feedback effectively and efficiently without overwhelming ourselves or discouraging students? How can we make it an integral learning opportunity for students besides assigning them a number/grade or pointing out the errors and mistakes they made? How can we encourage students to read our comments? Can we give students the power to grade their own work or each other’s work? Have you tried self-grade, peer-review, or ungrading? In this FLC, we will explore answers to these questions by reflecting upon our grading practices deeply and critically, rethinking our grading practice, and experimenting with alternative grading method.

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Xiaoai Ren, Associate Professor of MLIS. 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. Ren (xren@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2022. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Care-Based Pedagogy After the Pandemic

Facilitator: Dr. Ophélie Desmet

This faculty learning community explores care-based pedagogy in post-pandemic education.

Care-based pedagogy requires instructors to actively foster and maintain pedagogic relationships with students, while privileging trust, acceptance, diligence, and individual attentiveness. Creating purposeful pedagogical relationships are essential for student and instructor success, particularly when those successful pedagogical relationships connect cognition to emotion because both influence student learning outcomes. In this FLC, we will explore basic principles of care-based pedagogy across three areas: (1) Centering the student-teacher relationship in teaching, (2) Designing and implementing classroom activities involving care-centered practices, and (3) Providing support and guidance on enacting care in research. We will pay particular attention to care-based pedagogy in a post-pandemic world. Therefore, we will design care-centered strategies for online learning and to help students adjust to post-pandemic education. Ultimately, faculty will write a short reflection documenting course changes as result of participating in the FLC and will be invited to contribute to a publication on this topic.

The FLC is facilitated by Dr. Ophélie Desmet, Assistant Professor of Human Services. The FLC will gather at CELT in Conference Room 1 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on the following Tuesdays; 1/24, 2/7, 2/21, 3/7, 3/21, and 4/4. Only participants in the Fall 2022 gatherings can join this FLC through the VSU Training Portal.

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New Faculty Learning Community 1 & 2

Facilitator: Dr. Jamie Landau

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

As a follow-up to New Faculty Orientation, two versions of this group gather 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 groups are facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Professor of Communication Arts. To join this FLC, please contact Dr. Landau (jlandau@valdosta.edu) to participate in the scheduling poll by December 13. Later, participants can register through the VSU Training Portal

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Faculty Writing Circle

Facilitator: Ms. Catherine Bowers

The Faculty Writing Circle is a writing group 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 Circle 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 Circle is facilitated by Ms. Catherine Bowers, Reference Librarian and Coordinator of Library Instruction. 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 Ms. Bowers (csbowers@valdosta.edu) by Dec. 13, 2022. Then later register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Department Head Roundtables

Facilitator: Dr. Jamie Landau

Department Head Roundtables is a cohort-based learning community that addresses the needs of department heads and academic program coordinators, whether they are new to this role or they have led a department or program 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 and program coordinators 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 and academic program coordinators in particular, and which they can problem-solve together. Sample areas of focus include writing effective formative faculty evaluations for growth, how to lead change and create vision, strategic planning and data-driven decision-making, preparing for uncertainty and building resiliency in times of crisis or transition, increasing collegiality and teamwork in a multidisciplinary department, balancing work-life demands, recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, and interpersonal or organizational conflict management. At the end of the academic year at a social event, participants will reflect together about any career accomplishments or other benefits they experience from participating in the Department Head Roundtables. 

Department Head Roundtables is facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Professor of Communication Arts. To join this FLC, please contact Dr. Landau (jlandau@valdosta.edu) to participate in the scheduling poll by December 13. Later, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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