What are FLCs?
A Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is a faculty-led community of practice with five or more members (eight to twelve is the reccomended size). Key goals for FLCs include: (a) building community, (b) engaging in scholarly (evidence-based) teaching, and (c) advancing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Cox & Richlin, 2004). FLCs enable faculty to focus on specific issues or interests and provide a safe and supportive environment to investigage, challenge, assess, and adopt or change practices (Cox, 2001).
FLCs are Communities of Practice
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly - Wegner-Traynor & Wegner-Trayner, 2015
As communities of practice, FLCs are groups with:
- Shared purpose/interest
- High level member interaction
- Members who are practitioners
Membership involves the sharing of "resources: experiences, stories, tools...", however, communities of practice also:
- Innovate & solve problems
- Invent new practices
- Create new knowledge
- Define new territory
- Develop a collective & strategic voice
(Wegner-Traynor & Wegner-Traynor, 2015)
Benefits of Participation
- Transdisciplinary networking
- Opportunities to talk and reflect on teaching and learning
- Learning with others in a small group of 8-12 faculty members
- Groups facilitated by faculty skilled in leading communities of practice and passionate about teaching and learning
- Regular face-to-face interactions (minimum of 4 to 5 times over the semester for a total of 10 contact hours)
- Goal-focused activities with impactful outcomes (i.e. course improvements, teaching resource creation, research contributing to the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, conference presentations, publications, case studies, policy recommendations)
- Evidence of commitment to teaching excellence, which can be documented in your annual reviews or P&T materials
100% of FLC participants surveyed (2022) reported:
- Increased self-confidence
- Increased sense of accomplishment
- Increased enthusiasm
The cross-departmental, cross-college, cross-disciplinary community that was created through this FLC was incredible. - Fall 2022 FLC Participant
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Cox, M. (2001). Faculty learning communities: Change agents for transforming institutions into learning organizations. To Improve the Academy, 19(1), 69-93.
Cox, M. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 97, 5-23.
Cox, M. & Richlin, L. (2004). Developing scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning through faculty learning communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 97, 127-135.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Wenger-Trayner, E. and Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015) An introduction to communities of practice: a brief overview of the concept and its uses. Available from authors at https://www.wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice.