Academic Community

Faculty Learning Communities Description

Faculty Learning Community Program

The Office of the Provost and the Center for Faculty Excellence intend to incorporate several programs and activities as a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) Program. The goal of the program is to raise the scholarly profile of teaching and learning, through intense inquiry into institutional questions and the scholarship of teaching and learning. A FLC Program will provide a coherent form for engaging in major conversations within a scholarly context that faculty appreciate, as it involves inquiry, research, and synthesis. Participants will be supported to move work they are already doing, in teaching or in institutional conversations, toward products that are recognized internally and externally through scholarly presentations and publications.

The Faculty Learning Community (FLC) model is well established nationally, with recognized best practices, strong assessment outcomes, and substantial opportunities for both facilitator training and presentation of faculty scholarship outcomes.[1] Typical programs include cohort-based FLCs, similar to our Mentoring Group Program but focused on each member’s teaching project; and topic-based FLCs, that investigate an approach in teaching and learning or an institutional question. It is important that FLCs be clearly differentiated from committees; they are groups whose inquiry results in a product of their own design, which may include a scholarly presentation or publication. FLCs serve to build community but go beyond support groups, as individuals investigate and carry out teaching projects within shared scholarly inquiry.

Expected outcomes after two years include recommendations or scholarly products from the Liberal Arts, Assessment, Faculty Development, and Experiential Learning groups, substantial increases in presentations and publications in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and a discernable paradigm shift in the ways faculty do the work of the institution. The reason for combining these and other initiatives as a FLC Program is that it is a more productive model for developing institutional capacity than individual or committee work alone. It will advance the institutional plan by providing substantial faculty-led innovation in central areas of our mission. It will advance faculty development by supporting faculty presentations or publications.

The New Initiatives Fund will support intensive training and resources for the communities in their first year, to foster rapid integration of the program. In particular, facilitators will be supported to attend the Faculty Learning Communities Institute and Conference[2] on June 18-21 in Claremont CA. Future costs will be part of regular faculty development budgets.

The inaugural FLC Program will include the following FLCs:

§         The Liberal Arts at Ithaca College

§         Investigate liberal learning and its role in the professional schools

§         Assessment and The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

§         Investigate the relationship and its potential at Ithaca College

§         Faculty Development at Ithaca College

§         Explore objectives and organization of a potential Center

§         Experiential Learning in Humanities and Sciences

§         Deepen and expand the inquiry of the past year

§         Mentoring [SM1] Group with a Teaching Project

§         Individuals would develop, implement, and assess a teaching project

§         Integrating Local Data Analysis

§         Individuals would develop or revise a course element using institutional data; assess it and prepare a scholarly presentation

§         Sustainability in the Curriculum

§         Individuals would develop or revise a course element related to sustainability, assess it and prepare a presentation or publication

Susanne Morgan

April 23 2008




[1] The standard definition of an FLC is “a cross-disciplinary faculty and staff group of six to fifteen members (eight to twelve members is the recommended size) who engage in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, the scholarship of teaching, and community building.” Cox



 [SM1]I think we should assume these last 3 groups will actually be one, to help people move toward SoTL.