Faculty Learning Community Archive

Below you will find an archive of our past Faculty Learning Communities, listed in reverse chronological order. To see our current offerings, see the current Faculty Learning Community webpage.

2015-16

AY 16 Faculty Learning Community #1:
The New Academic

Are you interested in learning about the culture of academia and how to be a more effective faculty member, but are not sure where to begin? Shelda Debowski’s The New Academic: A Strategic Handbook provides a guide for those new(-ish) to academe on how to develop an engaging and productive career as a faculty member.

In this four-session Learning Community over fall and winter, you'll work your way through the chapters in the book so that you feel better prepared to fulfill the various roles—colleague, teacher, scholar, disciplinary expert, public professional—expected of a new academic.

Over the four sessions, you'll learn how to:

  • Get started - or reboot - as an academic
  • Make a difference as an effective teacher
  • Build an effective research track record
  • Learn how to engage effectively with the public
  • Advance your career in an academic setting

This community is for any faculty member who is in the early stage of her/his academic career.

Professional development; early career stage

AY 16 Faculty Learning Community #2:
Presentation Zen

Presentations are a mainstay of academia: at conferences, on campuses, and in classes. And as we all know, many of them are bad. Really bad.

How can we distinguish our presentations from others’ in a way that truly engages our audiences with the ideas we hope to convey? Garr Reynolds’s Presentation Zen provides potential answers and examples, combining simplicity, storytelling, and good design in a way that helps presentations be “appreciated, remembered, and best of all, acted upon.”

In this four-session Faculty Learning Community over fall and winter, we will progress through the chapters and will each develop or revise an important upcoming presentation of our own. We’ll discuss the sticking points and epiphanies we discover along the way as we experiment with the art of creating presentations that work.

Over the four sessions, this book and our discussions will help you 

  • Take a different – and flexible – approach to creating presentations tailored to their contexts
  • Focus on the story of your message before even thinking about how to present it
  • Devise and design simple visuals that will complement and enrich your ideas, rather than detracting from them
  • Work out how best to connect with and engage your audience during your presentation

This community is for any faculty member who has an important upcoming presentation or who simply wishes to take their presentations to a higher level.

Professional development; all career stages

Faculty Learning Community #3:
The Academic Chair's Handbook

Are you interested in learning how to be a more effective leader of the faculty, staff, and students in your academic department or program? The authors of The Academic Chair's Handbook (Wheeler et al.) provide a guide for department chairs and program directors to develop a reflective and productive career as a faculty administrator.

In this four-session Learning Community over fall and winter, you'll work your way through the chapters in the book so that you feel better prepared to fulfill your current role as the leader of your academic unit.

Over the four sessions, you'll learn how to:

  • Develop a conceptual understanding of the unique roles and responsibilities encompassed by academic leadership
  • Develop the skills necessary to achieve results through working with faculty, staff, students, and other administrators
  • Develop the practice of reflection that enables one to learn from past experiences in order to perfect the art of leadership

This community is for any current department chair or program director interested in the process of self-improvement as a faculty leader.

Professional development; mid-career and late-career stages

Faculty Learning Community #4: 
Creating self-regulated learners: 
Strategies to strengthen students' self-awareness and learning skills

Most students neither know how learning works nor what they have to do to ensure it, to the detriment both of their studies and their development as lifelong learners.

Linda Nilson’s point of departure in this book is the literature on “self-regulated learning” that tells us that deep, lasting, independent learning requires learners to bring into play a range of cognitive skills, affective attitudes, and even physical activities – about which most students are wholly unaware; and that self-regulation, which has little to do with measured intelligence, can be developed by just about anyone and is a fundamental prerequisite of academic success.

In this four-session Faculty Learning Community over winter and spring, we will progress through the chapters of the book and will consider how we might embed activities on self-regulation in one of our own courses.

Over the four sessions, this book and our discussions will help you:

  • Adapt tested activities and assignments to your own courses so that students can progressively reflect on, monitor, and improve their learning skills
  • Integrate self-regulation activities with different course components
  • Prepare for introducing self-regulation activities in the classroom, recognizing that most of us are unfamiliar with these strategies.

This community is for any faculty members who wish to enhance their students’ skills in reflection, self-regulation, and lifelong learning.

Learning & teaching; all career stages

Faculty Learning Community #5: 
Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: 
A guide to academic publishing success

Do you have a manuscript that is waiting to be revised into an article for academic publication? Perhaps one where you just need a little more structure and nudging to refine and complete it? 

If so, then Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks is designed for you. It draws on research on such topics as faculty productivity, peer review, and common writing triumphs and failures, as well as on the author’s own experience as a journal editor and award-winning author herself. In the book, Belcher presents a carefully structured process to help you revise your manuscript and produce that final paper ready for submission in just twelve weeks. 

In this four-session Faculty Learning Community over winter and spring, we will progress through the chapters of the book, meeting specific weekly writing goals in between, and producing a final manuscript ready for submission to an academic journal.

Over the four sessions, this book and our discussions will help you:

  • Demystify the peculiarities of the academic publishing process
  • Target the biggest writing challenges that faculty face
  • Proceed step by manageable step with your own writing project
  • Get published

This community is for any faculty member who is ready to REVISE a manuscript—whether a conference paper, unpublished article, chapter, or thesis—so that they can submit it to a suitable academic journal at the end of the 12 weeks. It is particularly suited to those in the humanities and social sciences.

Research practice; all career stages

Faculty Learning Community #6 on grassroots leadership: 
Enhancing campus capacity for leadership: 
An examination of grassroots leaders in higher education

Are you interested in learning how faculty can have a profound influence on the culture of academia by becoming grassroots leaders, but are not sure where to begin? Kezar and Lester’s Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership provides a guide for examining the untapped potential of faculty to make a positive difference on their campus environment.

In this four-session Learning Community over winter and spring, you'll work your way through the chapters in the book so that you have a better grasp of the possibilities for and challenges of grassroots leaders.

Over the four sessions, in addition to becoming familiar with grassroots leadership as a field of study, you'll learn how to:

  • Create meaningful change
  • Enhance the campus climate
  • Improve relationships among campus colleagues
  • Enhance the student experience

This community is for any faculty member who is interested in effective grassroots leadership in a campus context.

Professional development; all career stages

2014-15

AY 15 Faculty Learning Community #1:
The New Academic

Are you interested in learning about the culture of academia and how to be a more effective faculty member, but are not sure where to begin? Shelda Debowski’s The New Academic: A Strategic Handbook provides a guide for those new(-ish) to academe on how to develop an engaging and productive career as a faculty member.

In this four-session Learning Community over fall and winter, you'll work your way through the chapters in the book so that you feel better prepared to fulfill the various roles—colleague, teacher, scholar, disciplinary expert, public professional—expected of a new academic.

Over the four sessions, you'll learn how to:

  • Get started - or reboot - as an academic
  • Make a difference as an effective teacher
  • Build an effective research track record
  • Learn how to engage effectively with the public
  • Advance your career in an academic setting

This community is for any faculty member who is in the early stage of her/his academic career.

Professional development; early career stage

AY 15 Faculty Learning Community #3:
Idea-Based Learning

How do you systematically design a course so that it truly promotes deep learning and the kinds of critical thinking we espouse in academia? Edmund Hansen’s Idea-Based Learning provides a step-by-step process for thinking about and designing a course, focusing on key elements that will help maximize our students’ potential.

In this four-session Faculty Learning Community over fall and winter, we will progress through the chapters and develop or revise our own courses following Hansen’s recommendations, and we’ll discuss the sticking points and epiphanies we discover along the way.

Over the four sessions, this book and our discussions will help you:

  • Reconceptualize your discipline based on big ideas, not just a series of topics
  • Develop a strong, but flexible, course structure that will reach your higher goals
  • Produce longer-lasting learning in your students
  • Practice following a scholarly process that you can use for any future course design work

This community is for any faculty member who is either designing a new course or revising an existing one.

 

Learning & teaching; all career stages

AY 15 Faculty Learning Community #3:
Stylish Academic Writing

Why is it that some academic writing appears to sparkle, while other texts feel flat and dull? What stylistic strategies do the most acclaimed academics use in their writing to present elegant ideas and data in elegant language? In Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard UP, 2012), Helen Sword shares key strategies and approaches that can breathe life into our academic work, recapturing through language the excitement we felt when we first developed our ideas.  Based on her study of 1,000 academic articles, she provides examples from some of the best writers in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities for us to emulate in our own writing, along with clear guidance on how to get there.

In this four-session Faculty Learning Community over winter and spring, we will progress through the chapters and will craft and revise our own writing following Sword’s recommendations. We’ll discuss the stylistic habits – both good and bad – that we identify in our writing along the way, as well as strategies for strengthening the good and eliminating the bad.

Over the four sessions, this book and our discussions will help you:

  • Assess the current state of your academic writing, its benefits and its deficits.
  • Revise your texts so that the language does justice to the ideas.
  • Identify and share strategies that will make stylish academic writing second nature.

This community is for any faculty member who is working on academic writing for publication. You may be working on a new paper from scratch, or rewriting a dissertation into something more digestible, or revising a manuscript that you know you could improve.

Research practice; all career stages

 

2013-14

AY 14 Faculty Learning Community #3:
How Learning Works

Are you interested in finding out more about your students’ learning and adjusting your own courses as a result? How Learning Works, written by faculty developers from Carnegie Mellon University, is grounded in evidence from cognitive sciences, education, and psychology, and presents seven key principles that we can use to underpin the design of our courses. Covering such topics as mastery, prior knowledge, motivation, and classroom climate, this book has gained an international reputation for its clarity, rigor, and practicality. Over five sessions in Fall and Winter, we’ll be able to increase our understanding of learning, plan concrete changes for our classes, and discuss the results of these changes with an interdisciplinary group of peers.

Over the course of this 5-part series, you’ll

  • set regular goals to try out new ideas in your current courses,
  • learn insights from the book and other group members,
  • provide one another feedback on your course experiments and adjustments,
  • have the support of colleagues who are facing similar issues, and
  • gain confidence in your ability to make well-informed decisions to aid your students’ learning.

This community is for any faculty member who would like to take a more research-based approach to teaching. Ideally, you would be teaching in both Fall and Winter so that you can put new ideas into use immediately and are therefore better able to contribute to group discussion and reflection. This will give everyone greater insight into the variability of teaching contexts and norms, and can lead to a deeper appreciation of disciplinary nuances in higher education.

Learning & teaching; all career stages

AY 14 Faculty Learning Community #3:
Thinking Like Your Editor

Would you like to write a book about your area of expertise for a broad audience, but you’re not sure where to begin? In this five-session series over Fall and Winter Quarters, you’ll learn some of the trade secrets for writing a successful nonfiction book. We’ll be reading and discussing Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction – and Get It Published, recommended by editors at Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, and HarperCollins, to name just a few. We won’t be talking about how to write a book for the dozen specialists in your field, but how to write a book that’s sold at regular bookstores and reaches 1,000 or more people a year. Whether you’re already outlining chapters or you’re just toying with the glimmer of a book idea, this faculty learning community can take your thinking and writing where you most need them to go.

Over the course of this 5-part series, you’ll

  • set goals for what you want to achieve by the end of Fall and Winter quarters,
  • learn insights about the book publishing business,
  • work on questions that can help you narrow or broaden (whichever you need more) your thinking on your book,
  • analyze a successful book proposal,
  • have the support of colleagues who are facing similar issues, and
  • make progress on achieving your book writing goals.

You can be at the early thinking stages of your book idea or you can already be writing chapters. We do ask, however, that you come with the intent to work on a nonfiction book project for a broad audience, rather than a niche book for a select group of like-minded specialists or a journal article. We’ll be able to provide the best support for one another if we’re facing similar challenges.

Research practice; mid-career and late-career stages

AY 14 Faculty Learning Community #3:
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Are you interested in learning how to communicate effectively in difficult situations, but are not sure where to begin? Difficult Conversations, written by members of the Harvard Negotiation Project, provides a step-by-step approach for how to have your toughest conversations with less stress and more success. In this four-session Learning Community over winter and spring, you’ll work your way through the principles in the book so that you feel better prepared to engage in important conversations on tricky topics, be they with a colleague, a relative, or a friend.

If demand is high, then we will set up a separate group that will specifically focus on “difficult conversations around diversity.”

Over the four sessions, you’ll learn how to:

  • Decipher the underlying structure of every difficult conversation
  • Interpret the significance of what is said—and what is not
  • Raise tough issues without triggering defensiveness
  • Manage strong emotions—yours and the other party’s
  • Stay balanced regardless of how the other party responds 

This community is for any faculty member who would like to be better prepared for awkward conversations and wants to take a more measured and research-driven approach to broaching the topic. Ideally, you will have a future conversation in mind that you can consider as you work through the book with your learning community of up to 12 people. You may choose to share your topic with the group, but we won’t require that of you.

Professional development; all career stages