Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs)


Our Faculty Learning Communities (or FLCs) bring together small, inter-disciplinary groups of faculty who meet twice a month each semester for an academic year to address a pedagogy or academia-related problem of mutual interest.

2024-25 Faculty Learning Communities

Clinical Pedagogy, facilitated by Lindsay M. Harris (Professor of Law, and Director of the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Clinic)
Scheduling for this FLC will be determined at a later date.

This is intended for professors and instructors engaging with students in practical community and/or client-serving work. For example, the law school has six legal clinics where students engage directly representing communities and individuals under the supervision of licensed Professor-attorneys. Instructors from other schools who are supervising students engaged in direct community/patient/client work are invited to participate.
The group will follow a “rounds” structure – borrowed from the medical profession but used throughout clinical legal education today to explore challenges facing professors and instructors supervising students engaged in bridging theory and practice. The six stages of rounds involve:

  • Fact Gathering
  • Problem diagnosis
  • Question flooding
  • Problem solving
  • Check in
  • Reflection

Some fruitful issues to bring to a rounds discussion may involve: student partnership/team/collaboration challenges, practice management questions or problems, professional identity formation, working with students through a lens of cultural humility, anti-racism and empathy, rapport building and client/patient relationships, oral/written communication challenges, emotional responses to trauma exposure and high intensity/stress work, cultivating hope and resilience, and more.


Exploring the Unique Histories and Common Identities of APIMEDA Communities, facilitated by Saera R. Khan (Professor of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences)

Scheduling for this FLC will be determined at a later date.

Who is included in the “Asian American” community? This FLC (in partnership with the new AANAPISI initiative at USF) will seek to understand the unique histories and common identities of Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and Desi (i.e., Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis) American communities. We will examine the shifting boundaries of who feels part of the group and who gets to be included under the umbrella term of “Asian American” from multiple scholarly and artistic perspectives. We also explore the socio-political, psychological and historical factors that influence how socio-cultural identities are created and experienced as racialized among first, second, and third generation communities in the US especially on college campuses.

Members of the FLC will read, discuss, and analyze scholarly and artistic works examining why some universities are calling for a new descriptive term, APIMEDA (Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, Desi American) to better reflect the American experience, especially on college campuses. Through our readings, museum trips, guest speakers and other varied activities, we will gear our explorations on what would be lost and gained for students, faculty and staff if USF embraced this new way of thinking about group memberships and ultimately, who is part of this community? This FLC welcomes perspectives from all cultural and academic backgrounds.


2023-24 Faculty Learning Communities

Pedagogy for the Age of AI: Responding to and Learning From AI-generated Content, co-facilitated by Chris Brooks (CAS, Computer Science) and Nicole Gonzales Howell (CAS, Rhetoric, and Language)

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, Bard, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney have, in a very short time, upended academia and the ways in which we teach. These tools allow users to provide a text prompt and generate extremely sophisticated texts and images. While this has raised concerns in some quarters about the ease of plagiarism, generative AI also provides the opportunity to be a powerful new tool for teaching about tasks from writing to programming to design. For example, students can use ChatGPT as a tool for generating ideas for essays, or to write paragraphs with intentionally bad grammar that can be corrected, or code to solve simple problems. One interesting aspect of generative AI tools is their lack of an internal model; this causes them to generate text or images that seem believable but are wrong. The ability to identify this sort of content, and question the veracity of sources, is also an essential skill for our students to learn.

In this FLC, we will explore and develop ways in which generative AI can be used to support new pedagogies across disciplines and learning modes, and better teach students the critical thinking and analysis skills they will need to survive in a world of AI-generated content. In particular, together we hope to develop a USF-centric toolkit that provides pedagogical strategies and exercises for effectively applying Generative AI as a learning and support tool across the disciplines. 

Re-Envisioning Grading Systems to Advance Equity & Effectiveness in Teaching, co-facilitated by Dhara Meghani and Alette Coble-Temple (School of Nursing and Health Professions, Clinical Psychology PsyD Program)

Grading is widely accepted as a fundamental requirement of the teaching and learning process in higher education. It is assumed that grading is necessary for motivating students; assessing their learning; setting high standards for achievement; and ensuring a meritocratic system in which everyone is given the same opportunity to succeed based on their own hard work, aptitude, and objective performance.

But what if none of these assumptions are true? Contrary to popular belief, abundant research shows that traditional grading practices actually undermine academic motivation, do not help students improve future performance, and are in any event highly inaccurate and unreliable in assessing students. Perhaps most importantly, current grading structures privilege students who acquire knowledge in a conventionally structured, traditional style of learning and who have consistent familial and financial support for their educational pursuits.

In order for all of our students to effectively meet learning competencies, our grading systems must encourage mistakes rather than punish them and must be reconceptualized and recalibrated to instill hope and a desire to learn. As academic professionals, it is our calling to follow the research on how best to promote student learning. And as instructors at a university grounded in social justice values, it is our duty to re-envision how to ethically and equitably assess a student's acquisition of knowledge. This Faculty Learning Community will review the literature on the history, theory, and principles of grading to help us look beyond the status quo and promote changes to the grading system that will improve both equity and effectiveness in our teaching practices.

Post-Pandemic Learning, facilitated by Keally McBride (CAS, Politics)

What are the continuing impacts of the pandemic on student learning?  Some of these impacts may be related to trauma, others may be related to a cultural shift around learning and higher education more broadly.  This FLC will look at existing studies around post-pandemic learning in higher ed.  It will also organize several focus groups with current USF students to get their insights, which will be used to further direct our collective inquiries.  The goal of the group is to explore how teaching and learning can evolve in order to meet the changing needs of our students.  One possibility is that this group could help produce ideas and research to develop a grant for USF to implement pilot programs intended to address post-pandemic trends to improve our students’ learning. But ultimately, the direction of the group will be determined collectively by our research and our conversations with students and one another.



2022-23 FLCs

‘Zine Making as Transformative Pedagogy

 Facilitator: Adrienne Johnson (Environmental Studies) 

‘Zines' have long been used as a tool to disseminate information and material to the masses. Zines, which are self-published, do-it-yourself (DIY) booklets, often contain bold images and text that aim to inspire and revolutionize. They can reflect deeply personal work. Most importantly, they allow for the authentic, creative expression of ideas often considered ‘fringe.’ In contemporary times, zines have played a key role in the communication of messages and actions linked to anti-oppression movements, environmental justice, and mutual aid. Tapping into the transformative and subversive, yet playful potential zines can have in spaces of higher education, many educators have begun to employ zine-making techniques and zine pedagogy in the classroom, seeing them as ways to “repurpose universities into more generative, loving spaces for engaged learning and living” (Bagelman and Bagelman, 2016: 365).

This FLC will examine the pedagogical value of zines in transformative social justice teaching and learning in the classroom. It will explore the strengths, limitations, and opportunities of zine-making and how zines can be used as effective classroom tools to inspire critical student thinking, reflective dialogue, and meaningful action. Lastly, the FLC will examine how zine pedagogy links to broader academic movements to democratize knowledge production and dissemination practices such as open education resources (OER) and open-access publishing.

Knowledge Sovereignty and Indigenizing Universities

Facilitator: Kouslaa Kessler-Mata (Politics)

What does it mean to integrate or incorporate Indigenous knowledge into University instruction? How can we do this responsibly and respectfully in a way that does not replicate inequitable, extractive practices that harm communities? What is data sovereignty and what are Indigenous research methods? In this FLC, faculty will consider questions that push us to think about the challenges in decolonizing university teaching and learning. We will read works from Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors about decolonial and anticolonial research practices and discuss whether and how to employ these practices and considerations to develop our department’s courses and curriculum.

"FLCs are like freshman seminars for faculty"

-EJ Jung (Computer Sciences)

"With FLCs I regained my addiction for learning."

-Shawn Doubiago (Comparative Literature and Culture)