Faculty Learning Communities
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FLC Facilitator Training (pre-recorded session)
2012-13 Faculty Learning Community Grants
Grants of up to $5,000 per Faculty Learning Community will be awarded by the SBCTC. Grant applications will be accepted beginning September 17 through October 5, 2012. (See the 2012-13 FLC Grant Info document for details.)
System-wide professional development for faculty is necessary to achieve the following:
- SBCTC system direction goal of using “…technology, collaboration and innovation to meet the demands of the economy and improve student success.”
- Technology Task Force goal of creating “…a system of lifelong learning and change management for faculty, staff and college leadership.”
To build momentum toward achieving these goals, SBCTC faculty development staff will support the development of faculty learning communities - supporting ongoing instructional improvement with a strong emphasis on cultural competency, instructional technology, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
What are Faculty Learning Communities?
- "Faculty Learning Communities support collaboration, innovation, lifelong learning and, perhaps most importantly, create time and space apart from a hectic work week, allowing faculty time to reflect on their work and incorporate their learning into their classrooms to improve student learning.” Jane Lister Reis, North Seattle Community College.
- Milt Cox, facilitator of the Faculty Learning Communities Institute, describes an FLC in this way: “A faculty learning community (FLC) is a group of trans-disciplinary faculty, graduate students and professional staff group of size 6-15 or more (8 to 12 is the recommended size) engaging in an active, collaborative, year-long program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, transdisciplinarity, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and community building.” (http://www.units.muohio.edu/flc/whatis.php )
- Etienne Wenger, author of “Cultivating Communities of Practice”, calls faculty learning communities a “special kind of community of practice.” He defines communities of practice as “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.” (Wenger, 2002)
Why Faculty Learning Communities?
FLCs support three elements of the vision for faculty development created by community and technical college faculty development leaders. The three FLC-supported elements of the vision are:
- Regular opportunities for communication, collaboration, and reflection are provided for all faculty.
- All faculty belong to one or more learning communities.
- Learning communities comprise cross-disciplinary, and cross-institution faculty, staff, students, and administrators - all share in the delight of being lifelong learners and teachers.
Faculty Learning Communities also support the SBCTC System Direction, the Technology Transformation Task Force, and respond to the research on trends in higher education in the following ways:
- FLCs provide a structure that supports learning of any topic – instructional technologies, cultural competency, the scholarship of teaching and learning – which is necessary to keep faculty up-to-date with changes in the demographics of their students and the culture of higher education.
- Faculty participating in FLCs report increases in student engagement and student achievement.
- FLCs increase communication and collaboration amongst faculty who, by the nature of their work in individual classrooms, are often isolated from their colleagues. FLCs provide an experience which increases knowledge of, and appreciation for, learning communities (by faculty) which may translate into an increased use of a learning community model for their students.
Assessment of Faculty Learning Communities: Considering Social Dimensions of Participant Choice
Contacts: Paul Marshall, Everett Community College; Stanford T. Goto, Western Washington University; Shannon Gaule, Western Washington University
How do I start a new Faculty Learning Community, or join an existing one?
Is funding available to support FLCs?
Yes, grants of up to $5,000 are awarded to individual FLCs.
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