Teaching Commons > Programs > Faculty Learning Communities

Faculty Learning Communities

​The Center for Teaching and Learning is piloting a new professional development opportunity for 2020-21: Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs).

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. By the end of the academic year, the FLC members will share their knowledge with the DePaul community.

Proposals for FLCs were reviewed by a committee that included instructors and staff from the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, the Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Office for Multicultural Student Success, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

​The proposal review committee worked with the leader(s) of the FLCs to select FLC participants through an application process. A primary goal of the committee was to ensure FLCs not only advance inclusive teaching practices at DePaul, but that the FLC participants reflect the diversity of our DePaul community. Participants will receive stipends of $300 each. ​​

Learning Communities for 2020-21

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) focuses on integrating practical ways to increase the diversity, equity, and inclusive nature of your 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 your course (e.g., guest speakers, real and virtual field excursions). 

Additionally, the Finding Balance LC will pair up members for a collaborative partnership in the pursuit of incorporating DEI foundations into their courses. This faculty learning community will help 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. 

The Finding Balance LC will meet every other month for AY20-21 beginning in November 2020 (November 2020, January 2021, March 2021, May 2021) for 90-minute sessions. The Finding Balance LC will be led by Dr. Michele McCay (Dr. McCay is an Excellence in Teaching Award winner, leads implicit bias trainings for students and health sciences professionals and Dr. Cricel Molina (Dr. Molina is an Excellence in Teaching Award nominee, serves on the College of Science and Health, Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).

We will meet regularly synchronously with some asynchronous activities in between meetings. Synchronous meetings in Jan 2021, March 2021, and May 2021.

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 is a diverse faculty group that works 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 will share 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 will examine these approaches in depth and discuss them, then bring back recommendations to their own units and classes to help improve outcomes for students at DePaul.

This FLC plans to meet synchronously to facilitate conversation biweekly for one hour, and keep an asynchronous conversation ongoing online (likely in Teams).

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 is 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 have 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 will provide access to a collection of useful materials, guest speakers, and interaction with the network of organizations who support this learner in the Chicago region. It will serve to link this community of faculty experts on the subject matter, and advocates in the faculty who may share attributes with this community for the benefit of providing a universal design approach toward teaching this learner.  

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

Our plan is to meet virtually on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 1:00 – 2:30 pm.