This book offers a game plan for developing faculty expertise in student success pedagogies across disciplines through hundreds of supported faculty learning communities (FLC). Using the FLC as a foundation and offering support and training for individual faculty moderators/facilitators, the program establishes systemwide conversations around selected topics and pedagogies. The topics have been selected as evidence-based practices that can be used across the disciplines to inform faculty and support student success in undergraduate coursework. These pedagogies include: transparency in learning and teaching (TiLT), inclusive pedagogy, course redesign, mindset, High Impact Practices, strategies from neuroscience, Small Teaching, and SoTL.
The program is set in motion by nominations for facilitators (Chancellor’s Learning Scholars, CLS) from institutional academic leaders, an individual application, and confirmation. Training for the CLS is provided by the system’s Office of Faculty Development and supported by directors of the institutional teaching centers. The formation of each FLC, the identification of course products and changes emerging from the FLC, and the full story of each FLC is contained in the annual report. All told, the program has involved 2500 faculty and thousands of course changes.
Finally, the book offers evaluation of three types—by USG office, by system’s teaching center directors, and by the analysis of the final reports submitted each year.
Jeffery Galle is associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, faculty development, for the University System of Georgia. As an English professor, an administrator, and an author whose work focuses on innovative teaching, Galle has derived immense joy in creative work with students, staff, and fellow faculty.
Denise Pinette Domizi is director of faculty development for the University System of Georgia. She works to promote and support innovation and research in teaching and learning at the twenty-six public colleges and universities in the state of Georgia.
Preface: Jeffery Galle
Introduction: Jeffery Galle
Chapter 1: Chancellor’s Learning Scholars: Pedagogy and Faculty Learning Communities
Chapter 2: Implementing a System-Wide Faculty Development Program
Denise Pinette Domizi
Chapter 3: Successes and Challenges for CTLs Partnering with a System-wide Faculty Learning Community Program: Three Case Studies
Jamie Landau, Anna Higgins-Harrell, Ren Denton
Chapter 4: Representative Reports: The Products and Outcomes of the First Two Years
Chapter 5: Uses of Lessons Learned for Larger Audiences
Anyone who believes that U.S. higher education should change, and everyone who believes that it can’t change, should take the time to read this book. Faculty Learning Communities will give you a new vision of what the faculty role can become in achieving both meanings of student success—higher levels of completion and higher levels of student readiness for the future.
Many educators, and this reviewer as well, have ardently championed High Impact Practices or HIPs (first year seminars, undergraduate research, community-based learning, internships, capstones, etc.). HIPs are evidence-based pedagogies that lead to higher levels of student persistence and higher achievement of learning outcomes, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, that educators and employers both consider “essential.”
The University System of Georgia (USG) made HIPs a system-wide priority, and tapped campus-nominated Chancellor’s Learning Scholars (CLS) to lead the reform—with equity as a core value—across all twenty-six USG campuses.
So then what happened? Vividly upending the canard that faculty reflexively resist innovation, Faculty Learning Communities shows us, in often riveting detail, how very smart scholar-teachers enlarged the HIPs directive by embedding it in a rich, ambitious effort to engage faculty leaders on every campus, not just with HIPs but with the core concepts of active, hand-on, inclusive, and integrative learning that HIPs at their best have in common.
Boldly, in a strong and reciprocal partnership between the system and campus-level teaching and learning centers, USG charted an ambitious goal of involving all full-time USG faculty with the scholarship on “what works” in fostering purposeful learning, and with the goal of embedding active learning practices in all courses, not just the two or three HIPs courses that administrators hope students will take.
Was this easy? Of course not – and this brave design for systemic change was launched before the pandemic. And yet they persisted.
The portrait of faculty and administrative creativity that emerges from these pages will give every reader new reasons for hope—and new understanding of where equity-minded student success initiatives should go.