Faculty Learning Communities: Inspirational Quotes

"Learning communities, as we define them, purposefully restructure the curriculum to link together courses or course work so that students find greater coherence in what they are learning as well as increased intellectual interaction with faculty and fellow students."

-- Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines; Gabelnick, MacGregor, Matthews, & Smith, 1990, p. 5

"We use the term community centered to refer to several aspects of community, including the classroom as a community, the school as a community, and the degree to which students, teachers, and administrators feel connected to the larger community of homes, businesses, states, the nation, and even the world."

-- How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School; Bransford, Brown, & Cocking (Eds.), 2000, pp.144-145

"Understandably there is considerable debate over the definition of learning communities...I shall simply define them as groups of people engaged in intellectual interaction for the purpose of learning."

-- Cross, "Why Learning Communities? Why Now?" About Campus, 1998, p. 4

"We need to create programs that bring us together structurally in some cases, intellectually and emotionally in others….Learning communities are one way that we may build the commonalities and connections so essential to our education and our society."

-- Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines; Gabelnick, et al., 1990 p. 92

"For the first two-thirds of the twentieth century a powerful tide bore Americans into ever deeper engagement in the life of their communities, but a few decades ago--silently, without warning--that tide reversed and we were overtaken by a treacherous rip current. Without at first noting, we have been pulled apart from one another and from our communities over the last third of the century."

-- Bowling Alone; Putnam, 2000, p.27

Cross (1998) addresses the question, "Why Learning Communities? Why Now?" She gives three reasons: "philosophical (because learning communities fit into a changing philosophy of knowledge), research based (because learning communities fit with what research tells us about learning), and pragmatic (because learning communities work)."

-- Cross, "Why Learning Communities? Why Now?" About Campus, 1998, p. 4

"The Hogwarts House System is the mystical worlds equivalent of residential learning communities….At Hogwarts, the simple premise is that students learn best in an environment that builds on their strengths and individual characteristics. However, Hogwarts also stresses learning from others and respect for difference."

-- "Hogwarts --The Learning Community;" About Campus, Levine & Shapiro, 2000, p.10

"Learning is not an ‘add on,’ to be done when we have some free time or at training sessions. Some of the most significant innovations have been in infrastructures and day-to-day practices, allowing teams and intact work groups to integrate working and learning."

-- "The Academy As Learning Community: Contradiction in Terms or Realizable Future?" Senge, in Leading Academic Change: Essential Roles for Department Chairs, Lucas, A. F. & Associates, 2000, pp. 280-281.

"Heeding New Voices interviewees told us they want to pursue their work in communities where collaboration is respected and encouraged, where friendships develop between colleagues within and across departments, and where there is time and opportunity for interaction and talk about ideas, one’s work, and the institution."

-- Heeding New Voices: Academic Careers for a New Generation; Rice, Sorcinelli, & Austin, AAHE, 2000, p.13

"We concluded that the only way to continue this collective learning process was to work more collaboratively across many organizations. Only then would people see just how universal their deepest problems were. Only then would one company’s small steps be encouraging to others. Only then would the inevitable setbacks and crises that all organizations encounter not derail them--for they would be able to look at the progress that others were making and get themselves back on track. In a funny way we rediscovered a very old idea. In facing the challenges of profound change, there is no substitute for collaboration--people coming together out of common purpose and willing to support one another so that all can advance. Without actually intending it, we began to create a learning community."

-- "The Academy As Learning Community: Contradiction in Terms or Realizable Future?" Senge, in Leading Academic Change: Essential Roles for Department Chairs, Lucas, A. F. & Associates, 2000, pp. 280-281.

Question for presidential candidates: "Describe what a ‘community dedicated to teaching and learning’ would look like. What community have you created and how did it function?"

-- POD Listserv, 2/7/01, Brooke, Center for Teaching Excellence, Iowa State University

"Extensive documentary evidence suggests that effective learning communities have important benefits for students and faculty. Benefits for students include higher academic achievement, better retention rates, greater satisfaction with college life, improved quality of thinking and communicating, a better understanding of self and others, and a greater ability to bridge the gap between the academic and social worlds. Faculty benefits include diminished isolation, a shared purpose and cooperation among faculty colleagues, increased curricular integration, a fresh approach to one’s discipline, and increased satisfaction with their students’ learning."

-- The Powerful Potential of Learning Communities: Improving Education for the Future; Lenning & Ebbers, 1999, p. iv.

"There is a deep hunger among faculty members for more meaningful collegial relationships and more ‘conversational structures’ in our institutions."

-- Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines; Gabelnick, et al., 1990, p.86

"Learning communities always seem to push against an institutional glacier that grinds away at innovation, smoothing it out and trying to make it like everything else."

-- Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines; Gabelnick, et al., 1990, p. 50

"Learning Communities represent a major transformation in how campuses think about teaching and learning."

-- Creating Learning Communities; Shapiro, & Levine, 1999, p. xi

"When campuses begin to implement learning communities, whether they know it or not they are embarking on a road that leads to a profound change in culture".

-- About Campus; Shapiro, & Levine, 1999, front cover

"The growth of any craft depends on shared practice and honest dialogue among the people who do it. We grow by private trial and error, to be sure -- but our willingness to try, and fail, as individuals is severely limited when we are not supported by a community that encourages such risks."

-- The Courage to Teach; Palmer, 1998, p. 144

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