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 2021

 

Growing as Teachers in the Hy-Flex Learning Environment

Facilitator: Dr. Colin Walker (USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar)

This learning community is for faculty who teach with the hy-flex (hybrid-flexible) modality.

Many faculty at VSU and across the country have experienced successes and failures with hy-flex during the pandemic. Best practices for hy-flex teaching require time, energy, research, trial, and error. This faculty learning community will incorporate peer discussions and higher education advice columns about strategies to improve the hy-flex teaching and learning environment. Ultimately, participants in this FLC will construct a peer support network while they experiment with this modality; identify and implement hy-flex best practices that will be compiled into a collaborative document for all VSU faculty to reference later; and evaluate their growth as teachers. This FLC will be capped at nine faculty since participants will receive licenses to Screencast-O-Matic after attending the first two sessions. 

This faculty learning community is facilitated by Dr. Colin Walker, an Assistant Professor of Digital Production and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather virtually via Microsoft Teams for an hour every third Tuesday, 2-3 p.m., during the Spring 2021 semester: 1/19, 2/9, 3/2, 3/23, 4/13, and 4/27. To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal. Registration will be capped at nine since participants will receive licenses to Screencast-O-Matic after attending the first two sessions.

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Leveraging Pandemic Pedagogy

Facilitator: Dr. Nicole Alemanne (USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar)

Leveraging Pandemic Pedagogy is for faculty interested in leveraging what they are learning from teaching during the pandemic to innovate pedagogically in the future.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, VSU faculty have employed creative teaching approaches to deliver instruction in multiple modalities: online, face-to-face, hybrid, and hy-flex. Much of this work happened under emergency time constraints and extreme stress. Higher education has an uncertain future in which the pandemic may wax and wane for another year, or more. As a group of fellow faculty gathering online, we will select materials to read together and consider how strategies we have used to teach during the pandemic might inform our approaches to course design in all contexts and modalities moving forward. By the end of this FLC, participants will reflect on pandemic pedagogy to recognize an instructional innovation that they could reference in their next annual review and continue in any class, no matter if a pandemic is going on.

Leveraging Pandemic Pedagogy is facilitated by Dr. Nicole Alemanne, an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Spring 2021 semester via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Leveraging Pandemic Pedagogy will meet Tuesdays; 1/26, 2/9, 3/2, 3/23, 4/6, & 4/20, from 9 - 10 AM.  To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Teaching Tackle Box: Using Technology to Lure Students into Class Engagement

Facilitator: Cori Crews (USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar)

This learning community is for faculty who are interested in using technology as bait to lure student engagement in class.

Are your students ho-hum? Do you ask questions and only hear crickets? Do you feel like you are the only one in your class? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then this is the learning community for you. This community will teach faculty multiple ways to engage students using fun and easy-to-use educational technology. We’ll lure them in with cool tools and catch them learning before they know what hit them. We will discuss technology that is applicable for all modalities: face-to-face, hybrid, hy-flex, and online. This learning community is for all skill levels, from the novice to the expert. Faculty who already use engaging technology to teach will be encouraged to share those tools and tips with the group. This FLC will be capped at 11 since active members will receive free digital writing tablets. 

Teaching Tackle Box is facilitated by Cori Crews, an Assistant Professor of Accounting and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather for one hour, six times during the Spring 2021 semester via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. This FLC will meet from 2-3 PM on, 1/14, 2/4, 2/25, 3/18, 4/6, & 4/29. To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal. This FLC will be capped at 11 since active members will receive free digital writing tablets. 

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Preparing Critically Conscious Teachers for the 21st Century Hybrid/Online Classroom

Facilitator: Dr. James Martínez (USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar)

Preparing Critically Conscious Teachers for the 21st Century Hybrid/Online Classroom is for faculty who are interested in dismantling deficit thinking by examination of the matrix of privilege and oppression, especially in the current context of teaching hybrid/online courses.

In this FLC that continues from last spring, 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 in hybrid/online classes. 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 hybrid/online courses through the deconstruction of broader structures of inequity in the Deep South of the U.S.A.

This faculty learning community is facilitated by Dr. James Martínez, Associate Professor of Education and USG Chancellor’s Learning Scholar. The FLC will gather via Microsoft Teams video conference for two hours three times during the Spring 2021 semester. 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. Martínez (jammartinez@valdosta.edu) by Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Then later register for the program through the VSU Training Portal.

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Designing Culturally-Responsive Equitable Programs at VSU

Facilitators: Dr. Anita Davis and Dr. Jamie Landau

This community is for faculty and staff to collaborate in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) to create culturally-responsive equitable programs at VSU.

Like many institutions of higher education, VSU values diversity, equity, and inclusion. While “inclusive pedagogy” has been a topic of previous faculty learning communities at CELT, program-level and institution-wide practices and enacted policies of equity are more elusive. Recognizing a national imperative—and regional need in South Georgia—for redesign of unequitable structures, participants in this FLC will engage in SoTL about cultural responsiveness as a potential model of change in institutions of higher education. Specifically, faculty across disciplines and staff will collaborate on drafting a literature review on this topic; identify conferences, publication outlets, and/or grant funding for submission of their research; and critically examine their own academic or co-curricular program at VSU for cultural responsiveness.

Designing Culturally-Responsive Equitable Programs at VSU is co-facilitated by Dr. Anita Davis, an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Music Education, and Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Associate Professor of Communication Arts. Designing Culturally-Responsive Equitable Programs at VSU will meet on, Tuesdays; 1/19, 2/9, 2/23, 3/16, 3/30, & 4/20 from 12-2 PM, or on Thursdays; 1/21, 2/11, 2/25, 3/18, 4/1, & 4/22 from 11 AM - 1 PM. To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Second-Year Faculty Learning Community

Facilitator: Dr. Lenese Colson

This faculty learning community will continue to build a supportive network for "new faculty" as they transition into their second year at VSU.

Second-year faculty will gather together to engage in activities relevant to their career stage, such as reflecting on accomplishments and challenges from their first year, developing additional skills in teaching online, identifying and taking steps to achieve professional goals for promotion, and other topics that address the current needs and interests of the group (e.g. pandemic pedagogy, time management). By the end, each member of the group will draft a plan for their third-year review.

The Second-Year Faculty Learning Community is facilitated by Dr. Lenese Colson, Assistant Professor in Library and Information Studies. The cohort will gather virtually via Microsoft Teams from 9-10 AM, during the Spring 2021 semester on 2/10, 2/24, 3/10, 3/31, 4/14, and 4/28. To join, faculty can register 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 an Associate Professor of Communication Arts. They meet virtually via the New Faculty Microsoft Team. New Faculty Learning Community 1 will meet Wednesdays; 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, 3/10, 3/31, & 4/21 from 1-2 PM. New Faculty Learning Community 2 will meet Thursdays; 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 4/1, & 4/22 from 12-1 PM. To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Faculty Writing Circle

Facilitator: Dr. Maren Clegg-Hyer

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 Dr. Maren Clegg-Hyer, Professor of English. This learning community will gather virtually via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in a BlazeVIEW shell dedicated to this group. The Faculty Writing Circle will meet Wednesdays; 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 3/25, 4/8, & 4/22 from 10-11 AM. To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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Facilitator: Dr. Jamie Landau

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, writing constructive annual evaluations of faculty, balancing work-life demands, recruting and retaining diverse faculty, 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 is facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and an Associate Professor of Communication Arts. This faculty learning community will gather via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. The Department Head Roundtables will meet the first Tuesday of every month throughout the semester (2/2, 3/2, 4/6, & 5/4), from 12-1 PM. To join, faculty can register through the VSU Training Portal.

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