What are Faculty Learning Communities?
The Engaging Classrooms QEP team is excited to announce the inaugural year of Faculty Learning Communities at SHSU! Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are peer-facilitated groups of faculty who come together to explore a particular theme. The spirit of the FLC program is to make time and space for faculty to engage in conversation and inquiry around a topic of mutual interest. During the course of an FLC, a group of about 8 faculty members from diverse ranks and across disciplines go through the process of creating scholarship together: identifying an area of interest to explore, designing an innovation in this area, and reporting the outcomes of this innovation.
FLCs for Spring 2021
Active Learning in a Non-Majors Core Course: Getting a Small Class Feel in a Large Class Setting
Facilitated by Sarah Couch
This Faculty Learning Community (FLC) will focus on engaging students in small groups to maximize quality of learning and participation in a large lecture format. We will share experiences and learn from each other how to implement small group learning, expectations, and assessments. We will also look at current literature on Active Learning and Small Group Instruction.
Best Practices in Community Engaged Learning: Developing and Implementing ACE Pedagogy in Your Courses
Facilitated by Joyce McCauley
Academic Community Engagement (ACE) provides the opportunity to students and faculty to collaborate with the local community to examine complex social issues, enhance professional skills, apply critical thinking, and make an impact to make life better. This FLC will focus on ACE pedagogy and application of best practices. In addition, over the course of a year, we will work with community partners, implement ACE pedagogy, reflect on/measure the results, and explore possibilities for scholarly work (articles, presentations, exhibits, performances, etc.).
Community Engaged Research: Scholarship with, and in, Communities
Facilitated by Lee Miller
This Faculty Learning Community (FLC) will focus on best practices in Community Engaged Research. Community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial creation and exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. This FLC will explore the unique challenges of community engaged research and will introduce resources to support this approach to scholarly and creative work. Methods of community engaged research, IRB implications and extramural funding opportunities will also be discussed.
Energizing Student Learning in Large Gateway Courses
(previously Motivating and Learning in Large Gateway Courses)
Facilitated by Dave Thompson
The students in large gateway courses at Sam Houston State University are similar in their neural mechanisms but marvelously diverse in their interests, motivations, preparation, work ethic, connectedness. One of the primary challenges of teaching large classes is getting the students to make and sustain an energetic investment in their own learning. This FLC is specifically focused on active learning strategies aimed at getting students to make an initial energetic investment, and then to sustain that investment, in large gateway courses. We will discuss the challenges of gateway classes such as limited faculty time per student; large proportions of nonmajors; wide diversity of preparation and motivation etc. We will explore ways of leveraging the commonalities of the human learning process to modify our course management strategies, learning activities, assessment protocols, and lectures in ways that foster more energetic learning communities in our gateway courses.
Online Teaching and Learning: Exploring Challenges and Best Practices
Facilitated by Tom Haase
Online education provides non-traditional students the flexibility they need to earn their degree while they also meet their personal and professional obligations. This FLC will explore best practices in undergraduate and/or graduate online education. Special consideration will be given to identifying whether, and the extent to which, online course activities facilitate student learning. Potential topics include the design and implementation of discussion boards, reading assignments, case studies, video lectures, assessment rubrics, and learning journals. Topics may also relate to faculty considerations, for example, the skills needed to operate in the online environment, the promotion of course community and student engagement, and how to manage the stresses of online instruction. While specifics are open for discussion, a goal of this FLC is to generate co-authored publications that contribute to the online education literature.
The Study of Neuroscience in Education: The Discovery of Current Research in Neuroscience and How We Use That In Instruction to Create a Better Learning Environment
Facilitated by Marilyn Rice
Using knowledge of how the different parts of the brain react and respond in different situations, studies are discovering the effect the brain’s natural reactions have on the learning opportunities for each individual. Do we, as instructors, inadvertently cause students to shut down to learning? Studies of Behaviorism, Information-Processing Theory, Situated Learning, Cognitivism, Constructivism, Social Learning Theory all plan a role in designing instruction for better learning by a chosen group of learners. The focus of this Faculty Learning Community is to learn more about how the behaviors of an instructor may impact the reactions and facilitate/impede the learning process of students.
How can you apply?
Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis for the Spring 2021 semester.