The Faculty Learning Community focuses on organizing and offering professional development opportunities in the form of faculty presentations and hands-on workshops, formal and informal, in the form of teaching conversations, teaching circles, and teaching partners. FLC also makes support materials, like a video archive of past faculty teaching presentations, available.
Faculty presenters discuss practical and theoretical approaches to classroom instruction in formal and informal conversations in a seminar space. Conversations are organized so that faculty from all disciplines may enhance pedagogical learning and scholarship in a supportive environment. All university faculty are invited to propose presentations on practical and/or scholarly topics regarding classroom instruction and may be held university-wide, interdepartmental, or intradepartmental.
Teaching can be a solitary profession, and many faculty look for ways to share ideas, brainstorm possibilities, and work together toward common goals in their teaching lives.
In the book, Making Teaching Community Property, by Pat Hutchings, a teaching circle is defined as “a small group of faculty who make a commitment to work together over a period of at least a semester to address questions and concerns about the particulars of their teaching and their students’ learning.”
How members of a group organize themselves into a teaching circle can mean different things, and the group itself can “work together” in ways that make sense to them. For instance, some groups meet once a month, others weekly or twice a month. Some groups meet over lunch or combine work with some time to socialize. Other groups meet more formally but all groups begin with goals and plans and decide how to best move forward to meet their objectives.
For more information on existing Teaching Circles or to join a Teaching Circle, please contact the Faculty Learning Community Coordinator, Dr. Danette Dimarco at 724-738-2364.
Teaching partners is a way to team two teachers who work together both in and out of the classroom. We can learn from each other, and we all have our strengths; such a program will allow us to share in ways that are non-threatening and respectful. The role of the Center is to arrange the teaming of two faculty members to meet individual needs.
As teachers, we often look for ways to grow and learn about our chosen profession, yet teaching is primarily a solitary activity. Nevertheless, it is important for faculty to be able to share ideas about pedagogy and methodology, and many of us attend conferences, read journals and attend workshops to support our professional growth. There are times however, that we wish to improve upon a specific aspect of our teaching, or we wish we could try a new approach or idea in our classes. This is where teaching partners may be of help.
For example, if a teacher feels his/her need is learning more about facilitating discussion, the Center could team that faculty member with someone on campus who displays this strength in his/her teaching. The faculty members would then briefly meet to talk about the particular interest, and the supporting team member would invite the partner to attend a class or two where facilitating class discussion would be modeled. The two faculty members could then meet once more to discuss what was observed and questions and discussion could follow.
For more information on Teaching Partners, please contact the Faculty Learning Community Coordinator, Dr. Danette Dimarco, at 724-738-2364.