On this page, explore current and past Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs). Joining an FLC is a great way for faculty to meet colleagues from different disciplines across the university and to learn about a focused pedagogy in a community setting. What are you interested in exploring?
Interested in learning more about FLCs? We recommend this resource from the Miami University.
NEW: 2021-2022 FLCs
CTE is thrilled to announce the new FLCs! You will find descriptions of the 2021-22 FLCs below. FLCs are small, interdisciplinary groups of faculty who meet (typically twice a month) throughout the academic year to explore a teaching-related topic. To express your interest in joining an FLC, simply fill out this interest form
Change the World from Here AND There: Integrating Global Perspectives into Our Work
Facilitator: Dana Zartner (International Studies)
The pandemic has changed many things about higher education. One of the areas most impacted is internationalization, an area that includes study abroad and the enrollment of international students at USF, but also faculty and graduate student research abroad as well as global conferences and professional development opportunities. As we look forward to the next academic year and a hopeful return to a more “normal” college experience, we must ask ourselves what the global components of higher education will, and should, look like moving forward. This FLC will explore internationalization at USF, where our mission, values, and strategic planning all include global language without a great deal of detail. As a group, we will reflect on these issues and how they are relevant to our own courses and research, but also the role of the global at USF as a whole and how we might want to reimagine our global work after the pandemic. The goals of this FLC include assisting participants with developing the global aspects of their research, pedagogy, and programs, as well as collaborating with the Faculty Advisory Board on Internationalization and the Office of International Initiatives on global-themed policies and programs at USF. Provided university and SFDPH rules allow, this FLC will meet in-person only to facilitate community and promote engaged discussion.
Compassion Based Teaching and Learning: Applying the Science of Compassion in Our Work
Facilitator: Jude Wolf (Teacher Education)
Research in the science of compassion has increased over the past two decades with empirical data showing benefits in participants' overall well-being. Outcomes of research also show links to increases in altruistic traits in participants. As our society learns to live with the effects of the pandemic, it is most urgent to reconnect with the basic tenets of compassion. This FLC will focus on identifying the qualities and traits of compassion and work to integrate these traits in course design, instruction, and assessments. We are the custodians of our students’ academic and social-emotional identities, and it is incumbent upon us to model compassion and explicitly teach compassion principles in all our courses. We will begin by understanding the components of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) from Stanford's CCARE program and the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program by Neff & Germer. We will then analyze our course syllabi and infuse these principles where appropriate. Measures of effectiveness will include self-report surveys, quality of effectiveness rubrics, and other anecdotal interviews. The overall FLC experience will reconnect participants to their purpose and values that first led them to the ministry of teaching.
Facilitator: Stephen Zavestoski (Environmental Studies)
What is required to navigate a world redefined by the shocks and disruptions brought on by a global pandemic, climate change, and a reckoning with racial inequality and injustice? How can we adapt as educators to this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world? What kinds of radical pedagogical experiments should we consider? In the gaming world sandbox games establish certain parameters and then give players freedom within those parameters to deploy creative approaches towards a goal. What would it look like to adopt a "sandbox" approach to organizing a course? Since there is no formal concept or practice of sandbox pedagogy, we'll get "meta" and organize the FLC itself as a sandbox. We will collaborate in the sandbox to see what questions emerge and to explore how or if sandbox pedagogy can be deployed in our respective disciplines and courses. The developers of sandbox games are often surprised and delighted (and sometimes horrified) by what players build or create within their games. Could sandbox pedagogy similarly result in surprise and delight in the ways that a learning community forms, how students learn, and what they build or create? Let's jump into our own sandbox to explore these questions...
Building a Trauma-Informed Campus as Part of the Jesuit Mission for the 21st Century
Co-Facilitators: Lindsay Gifford (International Studies, Anthropology, Middle Eastern Studies) and Dana Zartner (International Studies, Environmental Studies, School of Law)
Building on faculty brainstorming sessions held last year, this FLC will consider the possibilities for a trauma informed campus (TIC) at USF. A TIC is one that recognizes the impacts that both primary and secondary trauma may have on our university community. Primary trauma—such as sexual assault, racism and discrimination, and recent issues such as the pandemic—are a big part of this discussion. This FLC will also consider the secondary trauma that can arise through the difficult material we teach and the work we do in our classes and communities, and through our own research. A TIC works to inform all aspects of the university experience (study, research, working, living) on issues relating to trauma in all its forms, with an emphasis on providing tools to address these issues. We will also explore how a TIC is related to the Jesuit mission of educating the whole person (cura personalis), and how principles of a TIC could be integrated into USF policies, activities, and learning as part of our social justice mission and educational approach.
Project-Based Learning (PBL) & Makerspaces
Facilitator: Julia Thompson (Engineering)
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an experiential learning approach that organizes learning within authentic and complex projects and in which the teacher’s role is that of facilitator rather than expert. The PBL approach integrates teamwork, communication, project management, etc. within the traditional content knowledge. This approach can be a central portion of the educational process, or an additional project within a lecture-based course.
In this FLC, members will explore project-based learning and also participate in a project themselves to learn the equipment and resources that USF has to offer. This includes the innovation spaces with equipment (e.g., 3D printers, laser cutters, virtual-reality headsets, and other technologies), active learning spaces, and mixed media equipment. As a community, we will devise project(s) we want to work on, learn about equipment and/or resources, work on the projects in groups, and then reflect on the experience to better understand the experiences of our students.
Examining the Impact of Grading Practices on Student Learning
Facilitator: Nicole Gonzales Howell (Rhetoric and Language, Arts and Sciences)
This FLC aims to bring together faculty members to examine, understand, and design/redesign their grading practices in order to best support student learning across diverse cultural communities (race, class, ability, etc.). While this FLC will focus on the use of grading contracts as a framework, we will also take the necessary time to examine whether or not (and how) current grading practices align with participants’ pedagogical values. Specifically, participants will examine examples of grading mechanisms such as grading contracts, work and grade agreements, and specification grading models in order to consider the pedagogical advantages and disadvantages of implementing new grading practices in their classes.
The Invisible Labor of Faculty of Color
Facilitator: Ursula Aldana (School of Education)
Research demonstrates faculty of color experience the academy differently than their white colleagues. Race and ethnicity continue to be salient for faculty of color, often intersecting with other identities, influencing their teaching, research and service. How does the university’s interest in diversity and a commitment to social justice relate to the “invisible labor” that overwhelmingly impacts faculty of color? This FLC will provide faculty the opportunity to explore how faculty diversity can embody critical knowledge and challenge oppressive structures and practices in higher education.
E-Portfolios as an Effective Teaching Tool
Facilitator: June Lee (School of Management)
The purpose of this FLC is to bring together faculty members across different disciplines to understand, explore, and incorporate elements of e-Portfolios into our teaching. Much like an art portfolio that shows the artist's development of skills and ideas over a period of time, the e-Portfolio is an electronic or online collection of evidence of student learning. Prior studies have demonstrated that e-Portfolios can facilitate student reflections across different courses, disciplines, and degree programs. It is an effective tool that helps students set and achieve personal learning goals. This FLC will review current literature on e-Portfolios, discuss pedagogical advantages and disadvantages, consider how it can be applied to our courses, and showcase a few examples.
Supporting First-Generation College Students in Classrooms, Across Schools and Divisions, and Beyond
Facilitators: Charlene Lobo Soriano (Center for Academic and Student Achievement) and Noriko Milman (College of Arts and Sciences)
First-generation college students comprise 33% of the incoming class at USF. Diverse in many ways, first-generation college students come to the University with challenges unique to them. Exploring the experiences of first-generation college students will reveal the challenges they face, how they navigate, and the people important in that process. We also want to find out what’s working—and what’s missing—in the university’s efforts to serve, teach, and support first-generation college students. This FLC will engage in learning about the needs—and assets—of first-generation college students from multiple angles, and will share with the community best practices to support their success.
Walking the Walk: Teaching Cultural Competence, Awareness, and Humility
Facilitator: Dellanira Garcia
By 2050, almost half of the U.S. population will be composed of ethnic minorities (U.S. Census, 2010). USF is recognized as a “university with a global perspective that educates leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world.” In order to advance our vision, undergraduate and graduate students must learn to lead, teach, and embody culturally competent knowledge and skills. This FLC will bring faculty from multiple disciplines together to discuss the teaching of cultural competence, cultural awareness, and cultural humility. We’ll explore pedagogical exercises and innovative techniques for graduate and undergraduate courses. We’ll discuss learning outcomes in these domains for undergraduate and graduate students, explore how to develop and grade assignments, and how to effectively measure culturally competent knowledge and skills.
Multimodal Communication across the Curriculum and in the Disciplines
Facilitators: Cathy Gabor and Michelle LaVigne
This FLC will address head-on the perceived lack of expertise in teaching rhetoric among the non-Rhetoric faculty. By forming a deep understanding of communication practices and expectations in the various disciplines represented, this FLC will allow us to define what oral and written rhetoric means in various fields, as well as discuss best pedagogical strategies for teaching students to communicate in their majors, in their future careers, and as productive citizens at and beyond USF. We will start by looking at the most notable publications on writing and communication in the majors to understand and articulate the epistemologies that inform how we conceive of and assess skillful student communication in written, oral, and digital formats. Then, we will formulate strategies for teaching communication across USF that grow out of our deep faculty collaboration.
Threshold Concepts for the Liminal Student
Facilitator: Billy Riggs
Threshold concepts are conceptual gateways that lead to previously inaccessible ways of thinking. Threshold concepts often are troublesome obstacles for students, but once grasped, they have a transformative and even irreversible impact. Members of this FLC will work together to identify threshold concepts in their fields, and to explore the pedagogical challenges and opportunities that accompany them. Our goal will be to develop new or redesigned course materials, supplemental teaching resources, and reflective narratives about our own pedagogical decisions.
Active Learning at USF
Facilitator: Susan Prion
The purpose of this Faculty Learning Community is to bring faculty and staff together to explore, share and articulate current best practices for effective active learning in our classrooms at USF. Research suggests that the incorporation of active learning encourages student engagement, reinforces concepts, provides an opportunity for students to process and create personal connections to material, and creates a sense of community. This FLC will review current literature, discuss pedagogical advantages and disadvantages of active learning, consider how to apply active learning instructional strategies across different types of learning spaces at USF, and culminate in the development of resources for the broader faculty community in their active learning endeavors. Sponsored by Vice Provost Shirley McGuire.
Mindfulness for Faculty Well Being
Facilitator: Kevin Lo
How can faculty engage in mindfulness practices for better health and well-being? How can faculty incorporate mindfulness into their teaching so that students' overall health and well-being are enhanced? This FLC will explore with other faculty how they might integrate mindfulness practices in their teaching through looking at mindfulness as 1. a practice in itself and 2. a pedagogical tool, and exploring methods for utilizing mindfulness in our classes.
Teaching Controversial Issues
Facilitators: Candice Harrison and Judy Pace
At USF our Jesuit mission sets the expectation that faculty teach students to examine significant moral, social, and political questions from diverse perspectives. Our politically turbulent climate makes this expectation even more urgent. This Faculty Learning Community will explore the challenges and opportunities embedded in teaching controversial issues, and a variety of strategies to navigate them. Led by two facilitators grounded in research and practice, the FLC will explore different approaches; contextual factors such as race, class, immigration status, gender/sexuality, and religion; and dilemmas such as conflicting rights. Participants will reflect on our own and our students’ positionalities in regard to power and identity as these shape our facilitation of classroom inquiry and discourse. And we will draw on our different areas of expertise to learn from one another about controversial issues and teaching informed by democratic values.
Sustainability Across the Curriculum
Facilitator: Gerard Kuperus
This FLC will explore ways to incorporate sustainability in courses taught across the university. We will examine literature and examples at other universities (such as the Piedmont Project at Emory, or the Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona). Faculty can develop (or improve) a sustainability module to be included in the syllabus of one of their courses (for example by generating ideas for lectures, assignments, and texts that incorporate the theme of sustainability). In addition the FLC will also attempt to develop (interdisciplinary) strategies to implement sustainability throughout the university (e.g. through workshops and/or curriculum related materials) as well as to connect to sustainability projects on campus. Whatever their majors, our students need tools to think about solutions to environmental issues. The global crisis we are facing is depressing and we should certainly not sugarcoat things. Yet discussing sustainability can be an uplifting experience that will strengthen a course, and the education and job prospects of our students.
Accessible Pedagogy and Universal Design for Learning
Facilitator: Emily Nusbaum (Learning & Instruction)
The Accessible Pedagogy and UDL post [host location will need to be changed] shares information about the half-day workshop the group created in April of 2017. We will finish updating the post during summer 2017 to include more resources and links to recordings (and transcriptions) from the event and from the group's findings over the year.
Field Study Courses
Facilitator: Melinda Stone (Media Studies, Urban Agriculture)
A page dedicated to the group's findings will be created during the summer of 2017 and linked here.
Best Practices in Hybrid Learning Experiences
Facilitator: Susan Prion (Nursing and Health Professions)
A page dedicated to the group's findings will be created during the summer of 2017 and linked here.
Student Engagement in the Classroom: Best Practices
Facilitator: Marjolein Oele (Philosophy)
This group inspired the CTE theme Student Engagement for the 2016-2017 academic year, in which group members presented their work in two CTE events: a fall Teaching Cafe on Student Engagement and the January '17 Winter Intensive on Student Engagement. In spring of 2017, CTE invited Nick Zepke (Massey University, New Zealand) - the group consulted Zepke throughout the year - to give a workshop for faculty and a talk on student engagement and neoliberalism. The work of the group culminated in a published article in Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal.
Practical Strategies for Working with International Students
Facilitator: Melissa Dale (Center for Asia Pacific Studies)
This group created two top ten lists - one for students and one for faculty - with best suggestions for creating an inclusive and engaging campus experience for international students. The FLC held a video contest for students, asking them to bring the top ten list to life. You can see the video contest information page with links to the top ten lists here and you can check out the winning student video here.
The Innovation Lab: Teaching & Technology
Facilitator: Eugene Kim (Law)
The Innovation Lab members created a report on the status of teaching and technology for administrators of the university, supported by their findings in two focus groups and a faculty survey. The report identified faculty needs and provided suggestions for developing collaborations across university programs including faculty-led sessions on technology. As a result, the CTE now collaborates more with the Center for Instructional Technology, such as the Peer2Peer Series on Teaching and Technology, Drop-in Canvas Sessions, and participation in the Ed Tech Expo, including a student panel led by co-director Jonathan Hunt.
Teaching at Branch Campuses
Facilitator: June Clausen (Psychology)
Community Engaged Pedagogies
Facilitator: Kevin Lo (Organization, Leadership and Communication)
Teaching First Year Students & Information Literacy
Facilitator: Marilyn DeLaure (Communication Studies)
Facilitator: Susan Prion (Nursing and Health Professions)
Qualitative Research Methods
Facilitator: Genevieve Leung (Rhetoric and Language)
Facilitator: Kimberly Connor (Public and Nonprofit Administration)