Office of the
Provost

Faculty Learning Communities

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, as part of RooSTRONG, is funding faculty participation in learning communities to explore their teaching practice. Each year the Provost Office will announce faculty learning communities across a range of topics related to student success and the strategic plan.

Faculty Learning Communities

A Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is a peer-led group of faculty members (non-tenure track, tenure track, and tenured) who engage in an active, collaborative, program, structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection. FLC members work together to produce outcomes or products about teaching and learning. Through FLCs, faculty members engage in scholarly teaching and student-centered learning, collaborating within a collegial framework that offers peer review and support. 

FLCs are inclusive spaces where members exchange experiences, ideas, and strategies about teaching, experiment with research-based practices, build skills, and reflect on their roles as educators. Faculty have a significant voice in shaping the program based on their own needs, skills, and goals.

During AY2021, FLCs will meet approximately 10 times during fall and spring semester. Participant availability, to the extent possible, will determine the dates and times of FLC meetings. The goal is to begin at the end of October, meet approximately every other week, excluding the week before and the week of spring break, and conclude by mid-April. Each community has two types of outcomes—individual changes to one's own practice, and a group "give back" to the larger UMKC teaching community. 

Expectations:

  • Integrate new practices into their teaching. Related activities include: actively preparing and participating in the FLC meetings (six times per semester) and review and revise course materials (e.g., syllabi, learning outcomes, and class activities).
  • Build collaborative relationships with colleagues. Related activities include sharing experiences, successes, and challenges with peers in the FLCs.
  • Articulate the process for the development of skills for reflective teaching. Related activities include writing reflections about outcomes of the FLCs on teaching, networking, and scholarship.
  • Disseminate practices and scholarship at and beyond UMKC. Related activities include: sharing work by providing a presentation, instructional resource materials (e.g., a classroom activity), or publication of findings at a UMKC event or external venues.

A faculty facilitator will lead each FLC with logistical support from Alexis Petri.

Stipends are available for each participant for $500, which participants can receive either as extra salary, given to a student scholarship fund of the faculty member's choice, or transferred to a research account for use for travel, technology, or teaching tools (when unfrozen). Each FLC will have a minimum of five and a maximum of ten participants.

Supporting Faculty Learning Communities is part of UMKC's investment in student success through RooSTRONG. Faculty learning communities support student success by providing faculty an opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the university and engage together in professional learning. 

All UMKC faculty members - tenure track, tenured, and non-tenure-track -- are encouraged to participate in FLCs.

Underserved and marginalized students may face unique difficulties (isolation, marginalization, discrimination, racism, ableism) that cause them to change majors early in their time at UMKC, decide to transfer to another college or university or stop their postsecondary education altogether. This FLC will bring together faculty interested in exploring how to help students develop a sense of belonging in a class, major, and/or discipline. Academic disciplines are not value-neutral, cultural-free spaces. Faculty interested in connecting belonging and exploring the implications of structural racism for students, courses, and academic disciplines are welcome to select a diversity and inclusion focus. 

This FLC is also in search of a facilitator to help shape reading and the “give back” to the UMKC teaching community. If you would like to facilitate, logic in the application that will include two questions about being a facilitator.

Apply

Facilitated by Arthur “Gus” Jacob

Want to connect with urban high school teachers to share insights and reflect on the transition from high school to college? This faculty learning community is for you.

UMKC faculty teach students who recently graduated from high school and it may have been a while since faculty were in a high school classroom. High school teachers prepare students for college, while the school guidance counselor typically interacts with the colleges. College faculty may know about high school – they went to high school – and yet many things have changed. Faculty from other countries may also be intrigued about U.S. high schools. Let’s talk about transition! 

A vertical team is a group of educators at various grade levels who work together to help more students acquire the academic skills necessary for success. Typically, vertical teams are comprised of educators in the same district to assist with the transition from middle school to high school. In vertical teams, teachers representing multiple grade levels across subject area expertise collaborate. For this vertical team, we will partner with urban high schools in the Kansas City Public School attendance boundary (both KCPS and charter schools). UMKC faculty who teach first-year students will benefit from learning more about urban high school experiences and high school teachers will benefit from learning more about the college classroom and faculty experiences with incoming first-time college students.

The FLC will meet on Zoom, likely at 3:00 pm, after “the last bell.” Hopefully, the last two meetings will be able to take place safely, in person.  

Apply

Facilitated by Antonio Byrd, Thomas Ferrel, and Margaret Kincaid

This faculty learning community (FLC) will focus on (1) how and why faculty write differently in their disciplines and (2) how to articulate and apply threshold concepts in writing studies and one’s own discipline. Threshold concepts are “established and widely agreed-upon knowledge/ideas/orientations” that have come to be “foundational” for successfully entering a discipline, according to the editors of (Re)Considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy (23). Modeled after the Howe Center for Writing Excellence’s Faculty Writing Fellows Program at Miami University, this FLC will bring together WI faculty from across the university to learn from the expertise about writing in one’s discipline that everyone brings with them to their classroom and scholarship. This FLC will not only facilitate individual learning about effective writing instruction and assignment design practices but also will make visible the knowledgeable, diverse, creative culture(s) of writing at UMKC.

This Faculty Learning Community will convene ten WI faculty to discuss threshold concepts in writing studies and in their individual disciplines. These discussions will address how and why we write differently in our disciplines. Based upon these conversations, faculty will choose to revise an assignment, unit, or the syllabus of their existing WI course with the intention to teach these revised courses/assignments in the next semester or within the next academic year. Faculty will be encouraged to apply for the FLC with colleagues from their department, and preference will be given to groups of 2-3 from the same department or academic unit. 

Apply