Faculty Learning Communities
The Austin Community College (ACC) Office of Faculty Development is pleased to support opportunities for ACC faculty to engage in instructor-centered and initiated groups of like-minded peers to explore shared topics of interest such as Faculty Learning Communities (FLC).
A Faculty Learning Community is a group of faculty that work together for a year who are committed to learning from each other across disciplines to improve their teaching practice. FLC members select a focus and agree to produce some “deliverable” product by the end of the project. An FLC is more formal and longer in duration than a Faculty Interest Group (FIG).
Since 2019, 41 faculty have participated in ACC faculty learning communities. Curious about what it’s like to participate in a faculty learning community? Please read “My Experience in a Faculty Learning Community” by Rebel Sanders, Associate Professor of Biology to find out!
Overview: FLCs at ACC
FLCs consist of a group of an interdisciplinary cohort of faculty who work together to research, discuss and implement a new teaching strategy to create a well-defined project.
- The group agrees to meet regularly to share ideas
- A facilitator starts the process of creating an FLC through an application. As the applicant, you agree to:
- direct the FLC
- organize meetings
- coordinate research
- facilitate discussion
- manage any budget provided
- ensure the completion of the project
- Funding may be available
- Facilitators and participants are eligible to earn professional development credit
- Group size is limited to no more than 12 faculty members
- One year (w/optional one-year renewal)
- Logs of meetings, topics, and attendees.
- Written progress reports on the status of research, results, and deliverables
- At least one FCTL Faculty Forum blog post
- Results and the research undertaken are shared with colleagues through a workshop or session at ACC hosted by the FCTL
- A contribution to research on the topic resulting in a practical deliverable able to be used in teaching
- A publication of results at ACC or for a wider audience
- Course Development and Design: new course development, course redesign, syllabus development
- Instructional Design: teaching online, hybrid, flipped courses
- Educational Technology: in classroom, gaming/simulation, social media
- Pedagogy: collaborative learning/group work, active learning, critical thinking, writing to learn, writing across the curriculum, writing in the disciplines
- Research: effective library use, research assignments, plagiarism
- Student Affairs: attendance, retention, classroom safety, mentoring, tutoring, special needs
- An excellent article for novices of the subject is “Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities” by Dr. Milton Cox*.
- This handout from a 2016 Lilly Conference presentation on FLCs by Dr. Cox provides an overview of definitions and includes recommendations for creating effective FLCs.
- Miami University: Center for Teaching Excellence Faculty Learning Communities page
*Dr. Milton Cox is a leader in the development of faculty learning communities.
How is the FLC Experience at ACC?
“This is an exceptionally well-run program that achieved ambitious goals. The program directors created a structured space for faculty interaction and connected ACC faculty to the new scholarship and to interdisciplinary ways of thinking about recent global events in order to demonstrably improve our pedagogy. This set of experiences was the highlight of my academic year. Offering this program is one of the most meaningful ways ACC can directly support faculty and our mission to our students. As a result of this FLC, I feel renewed energy and excitement that I take back with me to the classroom every day.”
“The opportunity to interact with ACC faculty from different disciplines. I learned so much from their perspectives that will aid my teaching, and I enjoyed feeling a sense of community with other ACC faculty.”
Impact on Teaching Practices
“My experiences will affect all aspects of my teaching, from developing the syllabi for new courses from the ground up to revision of existing courses. I’ve already implemented new classroom activities, essay assignments, and learning objectives in all of my courses.”
“Rewriting my courses to give them a fresher perspective while incorporating some of the excellent tips and practices I picked up. I have already modified the curriculum for one course and look forward to implementing changes in other courses.”
For general information about faculty learning communities, please email the Office of Faculty Development via firstname.lastname@example.org.