Fostering Faculty Collaboration and Community: Reflecting on Practice

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Originally Published In

Paper presented at the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network Conference, San Francisco, CA.


Presentation Description: Our field has a long history of facilitating collaboration, coordinating communities and fostering reflective practice among faculty. Whether we do this under the moniker of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs), Communities of Practice (CoPs), Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) or Curriculum Redesign, the primary focus remains the same: connecting faculty and promoting reflection to improve teaching and learning. This session will engage participants in reflecting on the origins and evolution of these practices, sharing examples and projecting elements that are most likely to sustain future collaboration, connection and practice.
(See attachments and handouts below)

Conceptual Framework/Rationale: Educational developers have long embraced community and collaboration as critical tools for fostering effective teaching and significant learning (Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Millis & Cottell, 1998, Fink, 2003). Action and reflection are recognized as central to learning, both for students and faculty (Dewey, 1933; Kolb, 1984; Bransford et al, 2000). Connecting faculty through Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) and engaging them in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) provides pivotal opportunities to share, assess, select and collect effective practices (Cox, 2006) and allows faculty to test and prove their teaching practices promote learning. Opportunities to tap into faculty wisdom of practice by identifying, sharing and considering how to integrate ideas from others can enhance organizational culture (Senge, 2000) and ultimately work to transform teaching and enhance learning at multiple levels.
Outcomes/Objectives: By the end of the session participants will:

  1. Reflect on the origins and evolution of practices that facilitate collaboration and foster reflective practice among faculty;
  2. Share examples of such communities and practices;
  3. Project elements that are most likely to sustain future collaboration, connection and practice.

Description of Session: The session will begin by providing a brief visual orientation to the origins of practices promoting faculty collaboration and community and unravel the alphabet soup that inhabits our reflective practice (FLCs, CoPs, SoTL), inviting participants to brainstorm and contribute to the terminology and timeline construction. Participants will discuss and share examples of faculty communities and SoTL projects they have supported and referencing these examples, work in groups to identify elements that are most likely to sustain future collaboration, communities, connection and practice. Following the group conversations facilitator and participants will compile elements and generate a vision for building forward on effective practice.