As FLC Program Director, your first task is to establish an FLC Program on your campus. See chapter 5’s leadership section on implementing and facilitating FLCs. Once the existence of your FLC Program and its budget are in place, it is time to select the facilitators for your FLCs and work with them regarding advertising, call for applications, convening (along with a facilitator) a selection committee, etc. Once that is done, the role of your staff is to orchestrate the administrative needs of your FLCs: room scheduling, food orders, travel arrangements, budgets, requisitions, assessment outcomes, evaluation of program components, etc.
One important task is to convene your FLC facilitators. Early in your FLC program you should convene them at least once a month so they can share conundrums and successes. One key item is for you to monitor the building of community in each FLC. A second is to monitor the development of teaching projects that will lead to SoTL. At the initiation of your FLC Program your FLC facilitators will not have been members of a previous FLC. They will be exploring new ground and you will need to provide support for them.
An outcome of the FIPSE FLC Project is the importance of identifying suitable FLC facilitators. On page 79 is a list of qualities that a facilitator should possess. Once you have several FLCs going, I suggest you have the FLC facilitators form a faculty learning community.
As a facilitator of a faculty learning community, you are a “local line leader” creating academic change. The following roles are important ones as you engage in this leadership.
One of the FLC facilitators at Miami says it well:
Stay flexible! Nothing happens as fast you think it will. Be willing to pause, take valuable side trips dictated by the ebb and flow of the group. Don’t push too hard, and listen a lot more than you talk. Good things will happen, but it takes time and will not follow the road map drawn on day one. Also, be sure everyone is having fun and enjoying the process. Do fun things. Eat well. Build a culture of trust and mutual respect. Learn from the diversity and creativity of the individuals in the group.
See Chapters 4 and 5 of the book, Building Faculty Learning Communities, (Cox & Richlin, 1994) for excellent models of developing facilitators and guide for facilitation.
Ideally the Program Director and Facilitator should be well respected teacher scholars, be acquainted with the literature on teaching and learning in higher education, have good consulting abilities, and be community builders.
An Important Reading
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.