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 are designed to foster reflection on student learning needs and experiences and support faculty in developing new pedagogical approaches, assignments, or assessments. 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, 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 the late 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.

Who is eligible to apply? Participation is open to all faculty and staff who teach who are interested in one of the FLC topics and can commit to participating for the academic year. Adjunct faculty who have a reasonable expectation of holding a contract for both fall and spring semesters and who have their chair’s endorsement are welcome to apply.

2023-24 FLCs

  • Re-engaging Students After the Pandemic (Facilitated by Mariajosé Castellanos, CBEE, and Sarah Leupen, BIOL)
  • Teaching in the Era of AI: A Multidisciplinary Conversation (Group IP facilitated by John Schumacher, SAPH, and Donald Snyder, MCS. Group O facilitated by Elisabeth Arévalo-Guerrero, MLLI, and Karen Chen, IS)
  • Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking (Facilitated by Nicki Belfiore, SOWK, and Janet Gross, ENGL)

Past FLCs

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