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Professional Development WeekContact: Paige E. Franklin, Ph.D.
Recent literature suggests the potential of faculty learning communities to significantly impact teaching
and learning (Polich 2008). As opposed to workshops or presentations, learning communities allow
teachers time to systematically investigate a pedagogical question, reflect on the impact of curricular
changes on student learning, receive feedback from peers, and build connections within the university
community. While the learning community model generally focuses on full-time faculty (for example, Cox
and Richlin, 2004), staff educators also play an important role in student learning, whether in the
traditional classroom or through other modalities. "Faculty, administrators, and others must challenge
students and each other to view learning as continuous and contagious in the biology lab, library,
academic advisors' office, residence hall lounge, place of employment, student union, community service,
and playing fields" (Kuh, Branch Douglas, Lund, Ramin-Gyurnek 1995). Scholarship on student affairs also
emphasizes the potential of faculty and staff partnerships to deepen student learning (Astin 1993, Kuh,
Schuh, Whitt and Associates, 1991).
In 2011-2012, the Office of Faculty Development launched a faculty and staff learning community program.
The focus of the first year was fostering student success through evidence-based classroom inquiry. The
learning community program continued in 2012-2013 with "Best Practices in Teaching Statistics and
Research Methods" and in 2013-14, with "Flipped Classrooms." In 2014-2015, the theme was be "Teaching
This year's Faculty Learning Community is led by Dr. Miako Rankin. This Faculty Learning Community will
consider the principles in the book How Learning Works: 7 Research-based Principles for Smart
Teaching by Susan A. Ambrose et al. and apply these principles to their classrooms.
Participants will spend the fall semester exploring the principles themselves through group discussion
of the book and their first-hand experiences in the classroom. During the spring semester, they will
implement strategies for fostering classroom environments more conducive to real learning in their
classes. Participants will then assess the results of these efforts and present to the campus community
about their effectiveness on August 16, 2016 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in the Gilbert Eastman Studio
Theatre (also known as the Black Box).
Astin, A. W. (1993). What Matters in College: Four Critical Years Revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Blaich, C. and K. Wise (2011). "From Gathering to Using Assessment Results: Lessons from the Wabash
Study." NILOA Occasional Paper No. 8. Indiana: NILOA.
Cox, M. D. & L. Richlin (2004). Building faculty learning communities. New Directions for
Teaching and Learning: No. 97. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Hutchings, P. (2010). Opening Doors to Faculty Involvement in Assessment. NILOA Occasional Paper No. 4.
Kuh, G., J. Schuh, E. Whitt & Associates. (1991). Involving Colleges: Successful Approaches to
Fostering Student Learning and Development Outside the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kuh, G., K. Branch Douglas, J. Lund, & J. Ramin-Gyurnek
(1995). Student Learning Outside the Classroom: Transcending Artificial Boundaries. San
Polich, S. Assessment of a faculty learning community program: Do faculty members really change? In L. B.
Nilson &J. E. Millers (Eds.), To Improve the Academy: Vol. 26. Resources for faculty, instructional,
and organizational development (pp. 3-17). Bolton, MA: Anker.
Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private and premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing since 1864.
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Spring 2021 – Dec 12Fall 2021 – May 15