Faculty learning communities: Learning to teach together

Teaching tends to be faculty members’ most solitary activity–we rarely visit each other’s courses, comment on each other’s syllabi or assignments, help each other develop new ideas, comment on each other’s lecture style and content, etc. This article discusses the creation of faculty learning communities that are an essential part of faculty development. Faculty are either assigned or volunteer to be a part of a community. Each community consists of 4-5 faculty from different departments and different career stages. These faculty meet once every three weeks to discuss each other’s syllabi and assignments and to discuss teaching resources. Learning community members visit each other’s courses and critique each others teaching. Members of these learning communities are then also essential partners in the faculty evaluation process. These communities will also debrief the teacher-course evaluations each member receives every semester. This idea is from the University of Georgia–see the first article in the collection of the Chronicle’s Best Ideas for 2017.