Faculty Learning Cohorts

Professional Learning Communities (PLC) involve faculty coming together to discuss and learn how about a topic of interest. PLCs may involve topics related to research-based teaching strategies, innovative research techniques, or service-related experiences. These learning communities are often faculty lead or inspired by faculty feedback. Below you will see examples of PLCs currently in progress and a few from our past work with faculty. 

Current Opportunities

Currently In Progress

Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers – The Department of Mathematics is dedicated to student success.  This department has established an on-going process for weekly faculty development through TEA (Teaching through Engaging Activities).  TEA was started by Dr. Eileen Faulkenberry in Fall 2018 in order for the department to have a time for faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants to share teaching ideas and to focus on teaching excellence. 

During the Spring 2021 semester, the department added a book study component using a Professional Development Community (PDC) model that met on some of the weeks during TEA.  The department used Interactive Lecturing:  A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth F. Barkley and Claire H. Major for the Spring 2021 semester, with support from the College of Science & Technology in purchasing the books.  In the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 academic year, the department used What Inclusive Instructors Do:  Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching by Tracie Marcella Addy, Derek Dube, Khadijah A. Mitchell, & Mallory E. SoRelle.  In the Fall 2022 semester, the department will use McKeachie’s Teaching Tips:  Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers.  For more information about their experiences, and to gain ideas about intentional faculty development for your department in research-based teaching and learning strategies, please contact Dr. Beth Riggs in the Department of Mathematics ([email protected]) or Dr. James Gentry in the Center for Educational Excellence ([email protected]).

Upcoming Opportunities

Connect with Your Students: The Power of Communication & Feedback – The Center for Educational Excellence (CEE) and Faculty Fellows invite you to be a part of our learning community. Learn with a community of practice concerning communication and feedback with students. During this self-paced 6-week course, faculty will learn the pedagogy of communication and feedback. The course will have quick strategies and techniques for you to use instantly in your courses. Faculty who successfully complete this mini-course will earn a $130 stipend and certificate of completion from the Center for Educational Excellence. This is a perfect experience that will enhance your teaching and learning activities for tenure and promotion. Open to the first 7 participants. If selected, you will be provided materials based on pedagogical research regarding communication and feedback within the higher education environment. We will use scholarly material to structure and guide discussions. For more information, please contact Dr. Shannon Stoker, [email protected], or Ms. Melody Smith, [email protected].

Past Learning Communities

Diversity, Teaching, and Inclusion Faculty Learning Community (2019-2022) – This learning community met to discuss diverse thinking paradigms, planning, and equity in experiences while teaching and learning. Why is diversity important for faculty professionally and personally? How can instructors use diverse practice behaviors as a strength within disciplines? This was our third learning community concerning culturally responsive teaching. The meetings focused on teaching and learning diverse topics. Book used: Gay, G. (2018). Culturally responsive teaching: theory, research, and practice (3rd ed.). Teachers College Press. This learning community was led by Dr. Nathalie Jones. For more information, please contact Dr. Jones, [email protected].

Project-Based Learning: Getting Started and Lessons Learned in the First Year (2020-2022) – This professional learning community met to discuss problem-based and project-based learning techniques. The group shared several professional research -based readings to facilitate professional discussions. Ultimately, each member of the group implemented project-based learning or problem-based learning techniques within their courses. The group presented their experiences and learning during the 2022 Education Excellence Week. If you would like to learn more about this learning community’s experience, please contact Dr. Lisa Taylor Cook, [email protected].

Getting Out of the Way: A Faculty Process and Support Group (2019-2021) – As a faculty, we sometimes find ourselves asking if “this” will ever end, if “these” work relationships will ever improve, and if we will ever catch a break and feel a sense of restfulness. Although we know the job of faculty never really stops, there are ways that we can seek real change within ourselves to lift these burdensome feelings and find a sense of calm. In the Fall 2021 Faculty Learning Community, met to learn the Gremlin-Taming Method ™ as described in the classic book, Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson Carson, R. (2003). Taming your gremlin: A surprisingly simple method for getting out of your own way (Rev. ed.). William Morrow. Faculty learned ways to simply notice, examine old habits and create new ones, learn ways to feel more at home and at peace with themselves, find self-acceptance, and feel supported in their emotional work-related struggles. This Learning Community was lead by Dr. Ryan D. Foster. For more information, please contact Dr. Foster, [email protected].