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.

2022-2023 FLCs

  • Contemplative Pedagogies (Facilitated by Mariajosé Castellanos, CBEE, and Sarah Leupen, BIOL)
  • Flexible, Alternative, or “Un”grading Strategies (Facilitated by Marie van Staveren, CHEM, and Cynthia Wagner, BIOL)
  • Teaching Creativity Across Disciplines (Facilitated by Loren Henderson, PUBL, and A. Paige Rogers, BIOL)

Past FLCs

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