Teaching Commons > Programs > Faculty Learning Communities

Faculty Learning Communities

​Overview

FLCs consist of small groups of instructors (10 max) who meet regularly throughout the academic year to learn together about a specific topic related to teaching and learning. FLCs are designed to be supportive environments where members can engage in a variety of activities and experiment with new approaches to teaching; share successes and challenges; reflect on teaching practices and learn about instructional strategies and tools. FLC members will share their knowledge with the DePaul community.

2020-2021 Learning Communities

Balance Learning Community: Infusing DEI in Your Courses

Michele McCay | College of Science & Health | Health Sciences
Cricel Molina | College of Science & Health | Health Sciences

The Finding Balance Learning Community (Finding Balance LC) focused on integrating practical ways to increase the diversity, equity, and inclusive nature of course learning materials (e.g., texts, readings), course activities (in-class activities, assignments), learning environment (e.g., practice active listening and respectful inquiry, utilizing diverse learning tools beyond textbooks), and practice-based enhancements for courses (e.g., guest speakers, real and virtual field excursions). 

Additionally, the Finding Balance LC paired up members for a collaborative partnership in the pursuit of incorporating DEI foundations into their courses. This faculty learning community helped foster evidence-based pedagogy rooted in pushing faculty to utilize authors, theories, and knowledge from traditionally marginalized groups or more diverse sources to improve teaching and learning.

Faculty Learning Community in Foundational STEM Courses

Kyle Grice | College of Science & Health | Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Margaret Bell | College of Science & Health | Biological Sciences

The Learning Community in Foundational STEM Courses worked together to examine best practices for increasing feelings of belonging and inclusion, decreasing the gap between hard work and academic success, and increasing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Hundreds of DePaul students enroll in foundational STEM courses, such as general chemistry, general biology, calculus, physics, environmental science, and other courses during their first years of college. 

Students often negatively view introductory STEM courses as “gate-keeper” courses that serve as barriers to their career goals. Students from underrepresented groups, those who are first-generation, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to experiencing feelings of cultural and/or academic discomfort due to accumulated disadvantages. Members of the FLC are motivated to implement new strategies in their upcoming courses or have worked individually to confront these issues.

Collectively, the FLC shared resources and concrete strategies on teaching and learning in the classroom for improved diverse student success in STEM. Several approaches have been explored in the literature and previously at DePaul. This FLC examined these approaches in-depth and discussed them, then brought back recommendations to their own units and classes to help improve outcomes for students at DePaul.

Disability Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Teaching Learners with Disabilities at DePaul

Kelly Tzoumis | College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences | SPS/PPS
Kent Klaus | College of Business | Accounting 

This learning community focused on bringing together faculty expertise for reaching out to the learners with disabilities who are enrolled across the university.  This is often an overlooked community of diversity equity and inclusion at DePaul.  Participating members had a common level of dedication and desire for working with this learner, and will share skills and pedagogies across the university for the benefit of this learner. Participating in this learning community provided access to a collection of useful materials, guest speakers, and interaction with the network of organizations that support this learner in the Chicago region. It served to link this community of faculty experts on the subject matter, and advocates in the faculty who shared attributes with this community for the benefit of providing a universal design approach toward teaching this learner.  

This FLC was designed to engage in a variety of activities and experiment with new approaches to teaching for learners with disabilities.  Also, it shared successes and challenges particularly relevant to the pandemic online instruction and how it has impacted this learner. Current and relevant research were discussed and shared as well as input from experts external to DePaul ​for understanding innovative approaches unique to this learner.