Learning Communities

books on a shelf

Community is often missing in higher education, where connections across disciplines and institutional units are overlooked. Faculty and Professional Learning Communities (FLCs and PLCs) help establish these connections and achieve increased interest in teaching and learning, retention, active learning, rate of intellectual development, and civic contributions to the common good. Safety and support is engendered in the community that enables risk taking and the achievement of both individual and team objectives. There is evidence that FLCs and PLCs provide deep learning that encourages and supports faculty and staff to investigate, develop, and adopt new methods of teaching and mentoring. It is also the goal of an FLC or PLC to create a tangible product, such as a presentation or publication about the findings that participation in the community generated. Research assessing the impact of faculty development interventions has noted that professional learning communities are among the most effective means of influencing positive outcomes for those involved in such project-based communities of practice (Chism, Harris & Holley, 2011).

2018-2019 FLC: The Search for What Matters: Exploring Vocation in our Contemporary World

Sponsored by Mission and Ministry and the Center for Educational Excellence

This group is open to full-time faculty, adjuncts, and teaching professors in any discipline who are interested in exploring their vocation of professor/scholar/teacher, considering how they can contribute to the vocational discernment of students and interested in being a part of robust mentoring environment where students are challenged and supported in asking questions of meaning and purpose, justice and solidarity. Teaching methods that foster these and related learning outcomes will be studied; integrating such concerns into one’s scholarly endeavors will be a focus.

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Previous Professional Learning Communities

  • 2017-2018 Professional Learning Community - Envisioning 2024
  • 2016-2017 Professional Learning Community - Universal Design Learning
  • 2015-2016 Professional Learning Community - Just in Time Teaching
  • 2013 – 2014 Faculty Learning Community – Flipping Your Classroom
  • 2012 – 2013 Professional Learning Community – Changemaking at USD
  • 2012 – 2013 Faculty Learning Community – Diversity as defined by Sexuality: Investigating Curricula Options at a Catholic Institution
  • 2011-2012 Professional Learning Community- The Spirit of the Academy: Investigating the Traditions and Practices of Diverse Spiritualities