1. Goals for the Institution

The FLC Program Director, in consultation with administrators, a faculty advisory committee, and/or other appropriate groups, should determine what institutional goals could be addressed by a faculty learning community approach. For special, strategic initiatives, an FLC may provide a valuable approach. For example, technology or diversity initiatives have been successfully addressed by FLCs, providing well-informed and civic-minded faculty who are qualified to get involved outside the FLC. As another example, the AAHE “Heeding New Voices” study (Rice, Sorcinelli, & Austin, 2000) provides 3 serious concerns that early-career faculty have expressed nationwide: lack of a comprehensible tenure system, lack of community, and lack of an integration between one’s academic life and one’s personal life. An early-career FLC provides an excellent way to address all three of these concerns. An example follows. Also, see Cox (1995).

EXAMPLE OF GOALS

This example illustrates how certain university-wide challenges can determine the goals of a faculty learning communities program.

THE FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITIES PROGRAM

A Faculty Learning Communities Program could be conceived to address the challenges of

At Miami we conjectured that the learning outcomes of student learning communities, if similar for faculty, would address many of the above challenges, for example, increased interest in learning, civic responsibility, and collaboration and cooperation across disciplines. Hence we developed a faculty learning community approach to meet the challenges. The Faculty Learning Community Program has the following goals in response to the above challenges:

  1. Build university-wide community through teaching and learning, creating a learning organization
  2. Increase faculty interest in undergraduate teaching and learning
  3. Increase the rewards for and prestige of excellent teaching
  4. Investigate and incorporate ways that diversity can enhance teaching and learning
  5. Nourish scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and its application to student learning
  6. Broaden the evaluation of teaching
  7. Encourage and motivate new approaches to teaching and learning
  8. Create an awareness of the complexity of teaching and learning
  9. Increase faculty collaboration across disciplines
  10. Increase civic responsibility and interest in institution-wide perspectives
  11. Broaden the assessment of student learning
  12. Encourage reflection about liberal education and coherence of learning across disciplines

This project has been supported in part by grants from the US Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) and the Ohio Board of Regents.