Communities of Practice
The Teaching and Learning Forum are excited to announce our new line-up of Communities of Practice (COPs). Are you curious about how you can embed gloabl learning in the classroom? What about inclusive teaching for equitable learning? You might want to explore digital fluency across the curriculum or how to support LGBTQ+ students in your courses. All of these opportunities and more are available through Communities of Practice.
What is a Community of Practice?
A Community of Practice is a faculty learning group of 8-12 people who share a common concern, passion about a topic and come together with a facilitator to deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting with each other on an ongoing basis (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002 p. 4). At Weber State, these communities of practice are groups of faculty and staff who commit to regularly scheduled sessions on a focus area in teaching and learning followed by actions such as planning and trying out the techniques discussed in the group. Your community will provide a supportive environment where members can experiment with new approaches to teaching and learning, share successes and challenges, and/or engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) through collaborative research projects and dissemination of instructional practices and tools. (Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, & William Snyder, 2002).Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)
What are the goals of a Faculty Learning Community?
- To promote faculty interest in teaching and learning, especially for undergraduate students.
- To create collaborative spaces in which faculty connect with colleagues across disciplines.
- To promote the exploration and study of theoretical and practical perspectives on teaching and learning.
- To pilot short term or semester-long activities in classes or in our broader work with students.
- To increase faculty capacity to apply evidence-based research to undergraduate education.
- To cultivate reflective practitioners by reflecting upon individual and collective experiences.
Participants in learning communities should be able to demonstrate at least two of the following:
- Integrate research-based, learner-centered, and/or inclusive pedagogies in their teaching. Related activities could include reviewing and revising course materials such as syllabi, learning outcomes, and class activities.
- Leverage collaborative relationships with colleagues across disciplines on topics related to learning-centered instructional innovation and student success. Related activities could include sharing experiences, successes, and challenges with colleagues in the learning community; providing feedback on observations and/or research design and implementation.
- Disseminate practices and scholarship with the broader teaching community at and beyond WSU. Related activities might include sharing work through presentations, sharing instructional resource materials, and/or presenting findings at a TLF event, an external venue or through publication.
What are the Benefits of Joining a Community of Practice?
- Participants become members of a community of peers with shared interests in teaching and learning at WSU.
- The community provides an inclusive space where members share experiences, ideas and strategies about teaching; experiment with evidence-based practices; build skills; engage in SoTL research; and reflect on their roles as educators.
- Each learning community is given a $500 budget to be used as the group determines will best meet the needs of the group (ie, books, supplies, lunches, etc.).
- Members of learning communities can include their participation as professional development efforts to improve teaching on tenure and promotion documents and faculty annual reviews. When you make changes to your teaching based upon your participation in a faculty learning community, you can explain those changes as innovations in the aforementioned documents.
- Participation in a Faculty Learning Community is part of the “Ten Before Tenure” initiative.
Community of Practice Expectations
- COP members will actively prepare for, attend, and participate in community meetings. (COPs will likely meet once or twice a month, depending on the group and its goals. The semester schedule will be set during the first meeting).
- Each group will submit an executive summary and reflective analysis of their COP participation by May 1, 2023.
- COPs will be expected to share their learning, activities, and their reflections at the TLF Symposium during Spring Semester.
- Each COP will also provide some sort of deliverable that can be shared with a larger audience (either at WSU or an external venue). For example, you could select one or more of the following options:
- Provide instructional resource materials (instructional tools, teaching strategies, videos, annotated bibliographies, presentational materials, etc.) on the topic of their COP for the larger teaching community at WSU.
- Present their work at a conference venue beyond WSU.
- Publish the findings of their work (through portfolios, white papers, academic journals, etc.)
2022-2023 Communities of Practice
ADJUNCT COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
Facilitators: John Beal and Deana Froerer
Both long-time and newer adjunct faculty will share their academic experiences including how they came to adjunct at WSU, what motivates them to continue teaching as an adjunct, the changes they have seen relating to what is required to stay current with the needs of the newest generation of students i.e., experiences that have the potential to contribute to a best practices approach teaching iGen/Gen Z students. Key points brought up in conversation might have the potential to become the basis of a journal article. Also, the community will focus on mutual support.
COURSE BASED RESEARCH EXPERIENCES
Facilitators: Tracy Covey, John Cavitt, Therese Grijalva
The focus for this Community of Practice is Course-based Research Experiences (CRE). We'll be discussing how we bring undergraduate research to our classes, successes we've had, problems we've encountered, sustainability and managing faculty workload for CRE courses, assessment of CRE learning outcomes, access and equity of CRE courses, and more. We'd love a diverse group of faculty from those running all their classes as CRE to those just thinking about bringing research into their classroom.
EMBEDDING GLOBAL LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM
Facilitators: Stephanie Wolfe and Kacy Peckenpaugh
Global learning is an essential part of a well-rounded education and has become increasingly important in the globalized and interconnected world of today. Many, if not all, social, economic, technological, and environmental issues need to be considered and addressed at the global level with a strong background of global knowledge and competencies. This Community of Practice will examine what it means to embed global learning into your curriculum, and how to do so in an inclusive way. The goal of this COP will be to either have at least one course designated as GLB at the end of the session, or to strengthen your current courses with a global perspective. Topics can include:
- ensuring all students participate in global learning
- connecting global learning to careers and/or community engagement
- designing and assessing global learning courses, curricula, and programs
- situating DEI efforts within global contexts
- focusing on global engagement in local settings
- decolonizing global learning practice
- integrating global learning outcomes into curricular and cocurricular experiences
- integrating intercultural competence in the classroom
INCLUSIVE TEACHING FOR EQUITABLE LEARNING: ACTION RESEARCH
Facilitators: Colleen Packer and Melina Alexander
This Community of Practice provides an opportunity for participants to complete an action research project focused on inclusive teaching practices consistent with the focus of the recent ACUE course sponsored by the TLF. Participants will create and complete an action research study focused on inclusive teaching for equitable learning in their own educational settings (F2F, virtual, online). Depending on the number of participants, there will be a small stipend for completion and presentation of the project at the WSU Faculty Forum or another conference. This project is funded in part through an RS&PG grant.
Facilitator: Amy Huntington
A diverse group of learning to use Life Design approaches in first-year, capstone, and graduate courses. Life Design harnesses design thinking methods to tackle key questions and major decisions surrounding key facets of a person’s life including education, career, and overall life’s ambitions and purpose.
OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Facilitators: Jim Hutchins, Melina Alexander, Isabel Asensio
To promote the spread of Open Educational Resources (OER) and affordable materials at Weber State University; to tie teaching improvement to the use of OER which allows for continuous and ongoing evaluation and enhancement of teaching materials.
PEDAGOGY AMPLIFIED: DIGITAL FLUENCY ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Facilitator: Stephanie Speicher
This COP will support WSU faculty in facilitating the integration of digital pedagogy into classrooms across the university. Beyond simply rethinking how digital skills can be taught in the future, faculty will improve their teaching practice and student learning outcomes related to digital fluency skills by participating and utilizing the tools that will be shared in the COP. Faculty will complete short projects that will give them the opportunity to produce artifacts they can use to improve digital literacy in their courses. Benefits for eligible faculty who complete all projects and upload their work into Portfolio will receive a certificate of completion from Adobe as well and a monetary incentive.
POSITIVE PEDAGOGY FOR STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH
Join this Community of Practice to discuss strategies you can use in the classroom to make a positive impact on student mental health. This group will provide a forum for faculty to discuss perspectives on student mental health as well as related pedagogical approaches, student communication, and aspects of course structure. We will build our understanding while we generate ideas and tips to be implemented in courses of any type.
SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHER PREPARATION
Facilitator: Adam Johnston
This COP will address the recruitment, retention, and preparation of science and math teachers both locally and beyond. Currently, as we experience a shortage of qualified professionals in these areas, multiple strategies are being implemented to put teachers into classrooms, but we also need to figure out how to best prepare and support these individuals. This community will consider both the theoretical and practical directions, and we will use these to propose potential program changes here at Weber State.
SUSTAINABILITY ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Facilitators: Alice Mulder and Carla Trentelman
The Sustainability Community of Practice will focus on fostering sustainability teaching and learning by faculty from across campus. The facilitators (from Geography, Sociology, Economics and Education) of this COP include faculty who have been engaged in sustainability teaching and training.
The Sustainability COP will meet 8 times during the year. Sessions will include:
- Definitions of sustainability, in its most expansive sense;
- Intersectional points of connection and relevance across the curricular landscape;
- Connections to our place: campus, community and region;
- Possible brief content area presentations (particularly relevant to our locality/region);
- Dialogue and sharing of resources, challenges and solutions with fellow faculty from an array of disciplines across campus; and
- Time to workshop, learn and implement with colleagues a step-wise process to help include sustainability in some way into your own course (the articulation of learning outcomes, the collection of resources and strategies for assessment).
For the 2022-2023 year, faculty who attend at least 7 of the 8 COP sessions and successfully apply during the spring semester to have one or more of their courses listed with the SUS course attribute (which indicates that course includes sustainability in some way) will be eligible for a $750 honorarium at the end of the academic year. Space is limited to 10 faculty.
TENURE AND PROMOTION
Facilitators: Valerie Herzog and Kelley Trump
Helping tenure track faculty gain a better understanding of tenure requirements and offer support during the process.