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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.

2019-2020 FLCs:

  • Less “Me,” More “We”: Supporting Students to Work and Learn in Teams (Facilitator: Mariajosé Castellanos, Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering)
  • Radical Vulnerability in the Classroom: Creating Brave Spaces to Engage and Deepen Learning (Facilitator: Suzanne Braunschweig, Geography and Environmental Systems)
  • Seeing White: The Influence of Structural and Institutional Racism on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Group A Facilitators: M. Nicole Belfiore, Social Work and Loren Henderson, Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy; Group B Facilitators: Sarah Leupen, Biology and Christopher Varlack, Individualized Study and Honors College)

Past FLCs:

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