Faculty Learning Communities
What is a Faculty Learning Community?
A faculty learning community (FLC) comprises an interdisciplinary group of faculty devoted to enhancing teaching, learning, and the university experience. FLCs have been shown to increase faculty interest in teaching and learning while providing a safe space for faculty to explore and implement new approaches, give and receive feedback, and generate a knowledge base accessible to the broader University community.
Simply put, an FLC is a community of practice devoted to exploring teaching and learning in higher education. Each FLC will grow at its own pace, embrace a unique topic, and target specific outcomes. The FLCs will meet regularly, but input from FLC members will help determine the frequency and format for meetings, the duration, and the goals and outcomes—including any projects to be carried out—for each FLC.
We are very excited to provide such rich opportunities for community building, interdisciplinary collaboration, and explorations of teaching and learning!
Read more about our current Faculty Learning Communities below. Click on "FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITY REGISTRATION" to join - fill out the registration form.
description of the Faculty Learning Communities
This FLC explores technology available from outside sources and evaluates their potential for use at the University of Utah. We will examine technology including student response systems (clickers), systems to detect plagiarism, system to aid in the grading of student work, video feedback systems, etc. No system is appropriate for all classroom situations and therefore the FLC will discuss if and when they are appropriate. These recommendations will be given to the Directors of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) and the University Online System (U Online) as well as be available on the CTLE website. For faculty members interested in specific types of classroom software or in classroom softwear in general, this FLC will let you voice how and when classroom software is used within the University of Utah system.
Community Engaged Learning (CEL)
Sponsored by the Bennion Center and CTLE
Best practices too often reflect common practices. This group will meet monthly to form a teaching cohort committed to discovering the “next” in community engaged learning (CEL). We will read and discuss articles that challenge our conceptions of community engaged pedagogy and confront complex issues that can surface in our classrooms as our students cross the boundaries between the U and broader communities. To this end, we invite faculty from across campus to participate in a difficult dialogue focused on why our communities still wrestle with the same injustices and inequalities that inspired the contemporary community engagement movement (Kliewer 2013).
From Aging to Saging
Our campus, like the rest of our society, is aging. There are multiple factors; Baby-Boomers are retiring later than previous generations and professions like teaching can be engaged in well past retirement age.
Although the numbers of aging teachers is increasing on campus, there has been little discussion about the challenges and opportunities that people over 50 encounter in the classroom and in our interactions with our colleagues, administrators, and employees.
Inspired by the work of rabbi and author , Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and others, we will explore the myths of aging that still exist in our culture and the role /archetype of sage-ing that we can all benefit from.
Digital Matters in the Humanities
This group meets regularly to examine current issues in digital humanities, discuss challenges related to infrastructure and institutional recognition at both local and national levels, and workshop the research and teaching of group members. We aim to further a multi-year effort to bring together scholars from disparate parts of campus to crystallize digital humanities collaborative projects in building and teaching.
Inclusivity in the Classroom
This group meets once a month over lunch to discuss inclusive teaching and learning strategies in the classroom. These discussions will cover a range of topics informed by bias incidents reports as well as experiences in your own classrooms. Through interdisciplinary discussion with colleagues, we will share perspectives around research and best practices for creating inclusive classrooms.
Global and Intercultural Learning (GIL)
The group meets once per month and discussions focus on internationalizing the curriculum, sharing information about curriculum/course revision to integrate global and intercultural learning, developing global learning outcomes and assessment, making the case with those who are skeptical regarding global learning, the connection between intercultural learning and diversity, as well as other topics. We have had guest speakers and are interested in developing more professional development opportunities for faculty focused on the integration of global and intercultural learning. Some of the FLC members are attending the annual AAC&U conference on global learning in October and a global learning retreat in late September hosted by the Office for Global Engagement. Meetings this semester will focus on debriefing from the conference and retreat as well as readings from the book: Making Global Learning Universal Promoting Inclusion and Success for All Students, by Hilary Landorf, Stephanie Doscher, Jaffus Hardrick. The following website provides more information on Global Learning: https://global.utah.edu/global-resources/global-learning-resources.php
Spiritual and Religious Inclusivity in the Classroom
How should instructors deal with conversations about spirituality and religiosity
in the classroom? Do such conversations even have a place in academia? And are there
appropriate ways to express spirituality and religiosity in the secular university?
Instructors report that spirituality and religion are two of the most difficult conversations that they deal with in their classrooms. Research also shows that the majority of students, staff, and faculty report that spirituality or religiosity are important in the professional and personal lives. The University is a location blessed with a diversity of spiritual and religious diversity, but such diversity is seldom discussed, much less honored in academic spaces.
The purpose of this Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is to provide an inclusive space for people to gather and dialogue about spirituality and religiosity. All campus staff, faculty, and student teaching assistants are invited to join this FLC, which will be held once a month at the CLTE on campus. Each month, we will invite a participant or outside guest to facilitate a brief experiential exercise/ritual from their own wisdom tradition. We will also provide time for dialogue on issues, questions, and concerns that participants bring to each meeting.
This group meets once or twice per semester to discuss sustainability education with visiting scholars who have demonstrated excellence in their field. It is our hope that interdisciplinary discussion and workshopping will bring new, improved perspectives and practices to educators in our community. Participation is capped at 20 people to ensure the ability to share ideas in an intimate setting.
Teaching and Learning during a pandemic, protests and polarization
There is no one who has not been impacted by the pandemic, protests, and polarization we are experiencing in 2020.
At the University, we teachers are challenged to not only quickly learn how to teach online and hybrid classes, but also to learn new approaches to self-care and new ways to help our students face our current challenges and co-develop new ways to effectively address them.
In this Faculty Learning Community, open to all instructors on campus, we will:
- Co-develop a brave space in which we can dialogue about these critical issues.
- Examine the unique opportunity university instructors have to make a difference in this challenging time.
- Address the relationship of our current local and global challenges with our teaching goals and approaches.
- Imagine a future that is informed by this present crises in which we begin to collectively address the great challenges that face humanity today.