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 unique 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 faculty can download attendance data from that portal to include in their Annual Faculty Activity Report and Action Plan (AFARAP) as well as their Promotion and Tenure dossier.   

Faculty Learning Communities for Fall 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. The FLC will gather on the following six Tuesdays from 3pm to 4pm during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): September 12, September 19, October 3, October 17, October 31, November 14. Faculty can join this FLC by registering through the VSU Training Portal

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Teaching-Learning With Adult Learners In Mind

Facilitator: Dr. Gwen Scott Ruttencutter

This FLC focuses on adult learners in undergraduate and graduate courses. 

Adults who enter higher education engage differently from traditional undergraduate students in the classroom. As a function of being an adult who is independent and self-directed, adult learners not only orient to learning differently, but they also have a psychological need to maintain their autonomy and self-direction. In this FLC, we explore the theory and practice of adult learning with a goal to develop practical and easy-to-implement strategies for engaging with adult learners in your classroom. We will read Ralph G. Brockett’s 2015 book, Teaching Adults. Whether teaching general education courses to undergrads, majors in bachelor’s degree programs, or graduate students, each participant will produce a teaching-learning action plan that articulates their philosophy of engaging with adult learners, identifies related strategies to implement into a course, and establishes criteria for assessment. If this FLC continues in the spring and next year, participants will assess their adult learning-teaching strategies and have the opportunity to contribute to a research project on the topic. 

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Gwen Ruttencutter, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Adult Learning and Development Ed.D. program. The FLC will gather on the following six Mondays from 1pm to 2pm during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): August 28, September 11, October 2, October 23, November 6, November 20. Faculty can join this FLC by registering through the VSU Training Portal 

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Engagement and Assessment Strategies for Student Success

Facilitator: Dr. Linda de la Garza

This faculty learning community will focus on applying engagement and assessment strategies from the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellows program.  

The FLC facilitator will share insights that she learned when she was a Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellow (click here to watch her video). Specifically, faculty should join this FLC to better align their learning objectives with assessments, explore various assessment methods, and discuss student motivation and engagement strategies, many of which are outlined in the 2020 book, Learning that Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education. In fact, the scholarship of teaching and learning documents them as student success pedagogies. Participants in this FLC will receive and read copies of the book as they identify an existing course to work on and develop a new teaching goal to include in a 1-page brief for their annual review that describes the student success activity applied to their course. 

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Linda de la Garza, Associate Professor of Chemistry. The FLC will gather on the following six Thursdays from 10am to 11am during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): August 24, September 7, September 28, October 12, November 9, November 30. Faculty can join this FLC by registering through the VSU Training Portal

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Care-Based Pedagogy After the Pandemic

 Facilitator: Dr. Ericka Parra

This faculty learning community continues the conversation from a CELT FLC last year by again exploreing 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 continue to 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 their thoughts to the final phases of an in-progress publication on this topic. Faculty will also be encouraged to explore specific aspects of the topic individually and write for potential publication 

This FLC is facilitated by Dr. Ericka Parra, Professor of Spanish. The FLC will gather on the following six Tuesdays from 12pm to 1pm during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): August 29, September 12, September 26, October 24, November 7, November 21. Faculty can join this FLC by registering through the VSU Training Portal

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Creating Conducive Classrooms to Implement Social Justice Pedagogy 

Facilitators: Dr. Debra L. Gresham and Dr. Kelly Davidson

This FLC welcomes new voices into our continued conversation from previous semesters about transdisciplinary approaches to teaching for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) 

VSU’s strategic plan calls for the implementation of DEI across academic disciplines and other areas of university life. While a variety of excellent frameworks for approaching this work exist, many faculty members feel overwhelmed with how these theories can be translated into concrete practice. This FLC will continue the conversation around issues of DEI and provide a space for participants to discuss discipline-specific best pedagogical practices for creating conducive classrooms in the context of specific course materials. A variety of readings along with collaborative activities will allow for the exploration of literature while also giving peer feedback on revising possible assignments and materials to be used in each participant’s courses.  

This FLC is co-facilitated by Dr. Debra Gresham, Associate Professor and MSW Program Director, and Dr. Kelly Davidson, Associate Professor of French and Foreign Language Education and Foreign Language Education MAT Program Coordinator. The FLC will gather on the following six Fridays from 10am to 11:30am during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): August 18, September 8, September 29, October 20, November 10, December 1. Faculty can join this FLC by registering 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. The FLC will gather on the following eight Tuesdays from 11am to 12pm during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): August 22, September 5, September 19, October 3, October 17, October 31, November 14, November 28. Faculty can join this FLC by registering through the VSU Training Portal

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Regrouping After Reorg Department Head Roundtable 

Facilitators: Dr. Jamie Landau and Dr. Kurt Winkelmann

This Department Head Roundtable is a cohort-based learning community that addresses the needs of department heads who oversee recently reorganized departments.Similar to administrators and other managerial staff at VSU, department heads and academic 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, Department Head Roundtables focus on issues that are relevant to department heads and academic program coordinators in particular, and which they can problem-solve together. Past 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.The Regrouping After Reorg Department Head Roundtable during the Fall 2023 semester is co-facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Professor of Communication Arts, and Dr. Kurt Winkelmann, Professor of Chemistry and Head of the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences.  The Roundtable will gather on the following four Tuesdays from 2pm to 3pm during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): September 5, October 3, November 7, December 12. Department Heads can join this roundtable by registering through the VSU Training Portal

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New Faculty Learning Community

Facilitator: Dr. Jamie Landau

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 few weeks throughout the academic year for new faculty to support one another across departments and engage in professional development activities that are relevant to this stage of their career at VSU. Sample areas of focus include teaching tips for active-learning, collecting and responding to student feedback, best practices for contemplative pedagogy, strategies for teaching online, embedding experiential learning into any course, maintaining an active scholarly agenda, preparing for the first-year annual review, and a rooftop tour of VSU or social event off campus.

The New Faculty Learning Community is facilitated by Dr. Jamie Landau, Director of CELT and Professor of Communication Arts.  This FLC will gather on the following six Fridays from 11am to 12pm during the Fall 2023 semester at CELT (102 Georgia Avenue): September 15, September 29, October 20, November 3, November 17, December 1. New faculty can join this FLC by registering through the VSU Training Portal

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