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Faculty Learning Communities

Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are groups of 6-12 self-selected faculty across disciplines who join together in a year-long exploration of specific evidence-based teaching practices. FLCs support faculty in developing a new pedagogical approach, new kinds of assignments, and/or new ways to assess student learning. The program consists of a kick-off retreat in the fall semester to build community and initiate the conversations, regular meetings every three weeks which participants agree to attend faithfully, and an end-of-year presentation of products from participants. If there is a teaching and learning topic that you would like to be able to delve into with peers, please answer the annual call for proposals for new FLC topics, announced on our home page and sent to the Faculty Development Center’s group each year during the spring semester. A subsequent call for applications to participate in new FLCs goes out in mid-spring semester.

How is an FLC different from a committee, work group, or seminar, and what are the benefits of the FLC model? The primary purpose of an FLC is learning, not producing a product or engaging in a process. FLCs are driven by the interests of the participants, and the specific objectives and working processes of each FLC are determined by the participants themselves. Unlike a course or a seminar, participants in an FLC are co-learners; none of the participants enters the FLC as a recognized “expert” in the topic. This approach generates and validates more diverse perspectives, cultivates individual accountability, and results in a greater sense of ownership of ideas and outcomes.

Unlike a brown bag or one-time faculty development event, FLCs allow participants extended time to explore the topic and to develop and potentially implement a change in pedagogy. Meeting regularly with the same group of colleagues also fosters another goal of FLCs: to create a sense of community and common purpose among the participants. Many participants in FLCs highlight the expansion of their network of colleague-friends across roles and disciplines at UMBC as one of the most rewarding aspects of participation.

Apply for a 2019-2020 FLC!

The application form contains a description of each of the proposed FLCs. Please submit your application to fdc@umbc.edu by Friday, May 24. Although you can only participate in one FLC, you may apply to more than one, ranking your choices on the application form. The FLCs that receive the greatest numbers of applicants will go forward as FDC-sponsored FLCs for 2019-20.

Proposed Topics for FLCs for AY 2019-20:

  • Contemplative Pedagogies: Mindfulness in the Classroom (Proposed by Janet Gross, English)
  • Creating Authentic, Meaningful Course Projects (Proposed by Suzanne Lea, Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy)
  • Less “Me,” More “We”: Supporting Students to Work and Learn in Teams (Proposed by Simon Stacey, Honors College)
  • Radical Vulnerability in the Classroom: Creating Brave Spaces to Engage and Deepen Learning (Proposed by Lauren Hamilton Edwards, School of Public Policy)
  • Seeing White: The Influence of Structural and Institutional Racism on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Proposed by M. Nicole Belfiore, Social Work)

Past FLCs:

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