A Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is a multidisciplinary group of 8-12 faculty and staff who come together with the purpose of engaging in active, collaborative and self-guided exploration of a topic or issue in teaching and learning. Occurring over the course of a semester or two, participants are able to immerse themselves in the topic. Results include

  • a more in-depth understanding of the issue;
  • a modification of teaching, and student learning, based on the faculty’s investigation;
  • a dissemination and promotion of the understanding of teaching and learning across the university and higher education community.

Participation is open to faculty members holding tenure track or contractual appointments in any academic unit of the university including Burris Laboratory School and the Indiana Academy teaching staff.

FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITIES FOR 2016-2017

Faculty Learning Community on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - SPRING - SUMMER 2017

At its essence, SoTL systematically evaluates educational processes and outcomes, and can be a satisfying means for blending one’s interests related to effective teaching with the goal of producing impactful scholarship.

As part of the university’s Centennial Commitment to be a Model 21st Century Public Research University by in part “Defin[ing] and Support[ing] Strategic National Peer Recognition of Ball State’s faculty and signature academic programs,” the University has committed to increasing the number of publications and amount of external funding related to SoTL. Furthermore, as one of the four types of scholarship recognized in the University’s Promotion and Tenure document, “the scholarship of teaching studies the development of knowledge, skill, mind, character, and/or ability of others” and makes an important contribution to the academy. Our goal is to assist faculty as they engage in impactful SoTL projects that have the potential for scholarly output (e.g., presentations, publications, external funding) and pedagogical advancement.

TIMELINE

Spring 2017     Participants will:

  • Meet face-to-face every three weeks to discuss resources related to SoTL and to develop and work on SoTL projects. Faculty may choose to team up in smaller groups to collaborate on projects. The meeting time will be determined by participants’ common availability (either Tuesday 3:30-5pm, Thursday 3-430pm, or Thursday 4-5:30pm).

Summer 2017*     Participants will:

  • Continue working on a SoTL project and meet as a team to advance a SoTL project under the guidance of the facilitator or other mentors as needed.
  • Produce evidence of advancing a SoTL project (or concrete plans to do so) in the form of an IRB proposal, grant proposal, presentation or article submission, data gathering, etc.
  • Maintain electronic contact with members.
  • Attend at least one get-together to reflect on overall experience.

*Summer timeline is flexible. Any meeting times will be determined by participants’ schedules.

Participation is open to faculty members holding tenure, tenure track, or contractual appointments in any academic unit of the university including Burris Laboratory School and the Indiana Academy teaching staff.

Faculty Learning Community on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning applications are due FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017. Please complete and submit to the Office of Educational Excellence.

Faculty Learning Community on Specifications Grading and Assessment - FALL 2016

Are we as clear as we could be in communicating to students our course goals and expectations? Are we as clear in our own minds as we could be? It may be relatively easy when we teach basic concepts from our field, but how about when we are teaching things such as writing, art, argument and analysis, or creative thinking where there is no one correct answer? As educators, we usually recognize “good” examples of student work when we see them, but what really defines “good” work and how do we communicate that to students beforehand? How do we encourage freedom and creativity in our course assignments while still upholding high standards and assessing it correctly and fairly? In assessing that work, what if there was a more straightforward, yet rigorous, model of communication and assessment that would bring clarity to both sides of the classroom? What if your grading could be faster, clearer, and more precise, allowing you to focus more on promoting improvement in students rather than worrying about justifying a grade? There is, and it’s called “specifications grading” which is an outgrowth of a “standards-based grading” model. Join us as we investigate specifications/standards based grading and see what it might do for you and your students.

In this Faculty Learning Community, participants will

  • Read and discuss Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time by Linda B. Nilson. You’ll be provided with a free copy.
  • Meet 4-5 times over the semester for discussion starting the week of 9/18.
  • Discuss the pros, cons, and variations of her approach.
  • Research specific examples of this approach from your own field to find relevant models.
  • Evaluate your course goals and how you communicate them to students.
  • Examine your own assessment strategies in light of Nilson’s method.
  • Consider trying specifications grading in your Spring 2017 courses and, if interested, revamp one or more of your courses.
  • Help others in the learning community as we evaluate this method and/or revise our approaches.
  • Meet twice during the Spring 2017 semester to discuss getting this going in your class and then debriefing on how things went in your courses.

Participation is open to faculty members holding tenure track or contractual appointments in any academic unit of the university including Burris Laboratory School and the Indiana Academy teaching staff.

Faculty Learning Community on Specifications Grading and Assessment applications are due Monday, September 12, 2016. Please complete and submit to the Office of Educational Excellence (TC 415).

RESOURCES

We will provide FLC participants with a copy of Linda Nilson’s book Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time.

FACILITATOR

Timothy Berg is an Assistant Professor of Honors Humanities in the Honors College. He earned a Ph.D. in History at Purdue in 1999 and has been teaching at the university level since then. He’s a former Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry fellow and winner of the 2011 C. Warren Vander Hill Award for Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education.

Faculty Learning Community on Community Engagement - AY 2016-17

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Lilla Watson, Indigenous Australian

In 2015, Ball State received Carnegie’s voluntary Community Engagement Classification. Our goal is to continue to discuss and debate the strengths and weaknesses of community engagement in an academic setting and to increase the number of faculty involved in community engaged teaching and research practices.

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification – Definition of Community Engagement
Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher learning and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens, strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.


Last year, members of this FLC discussed and debated engagement practices, brought community leaders to campus to talk about potential projects, and connected faculty with the valuable resources available to them on campus. This fall we will be presenting what we learned during two oral presentations at the Indiana Campus Compact Leadership Retreat (Indianapolis) and at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (Omaha).

The goal for this year is to meet local community change agents in off-campus locations, experience what Muncie/Delaware County has to offer, and “dream big” as we develop trusted alliances that can have lasting impact.

Complete and submit an Application for the Faculty Learning Community on Community Engagement as an email attachment to Kathleen Jacobi by Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

TIMELINE

Fall 2016

  • Friday, September 23 from 2-4 pm – Meeting to get to know group members, to discuss concepts and definitions related to community engagement, and to determine who we would like to visit and what we would like to experience
  • Friday, October 14 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip:
    • Meet with Angie Pool (Cardinal Greenways) at the Cardinal Greenway Depot to learn about our trails
    • Borrow “cruiser bikes” from the Depot (bring a picture ID) and ride to the Craddock Wetlands
    • Meet with Julie Borgmann (Redtail Conversancy) to learn about community projects working to connect local residents with nature
    • Bike back to the Depot
    • Meet with Kyle Johnson (County GIS Coordinator and BIKE MUNCIE) to learn about Muncie’s designation as a Bike Friendly Community and the great plans underway to continue to make ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION a reality
  • Friday, November 4 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip: TBD based on interest
  • Friday, December 2 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip: TBD based on interest

Spring 2016

  • Friday, February 3 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip: TBD based on interest
  • Friday, February 24 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip: TBD based on interest
  • Friday, March 17 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip: TBD based on interest
  • Friday April 7 from 2-4 pm – Community field trip: TBD based on interest
  • April TBD – Wrap Up Celebration with Participants in Office of Community Engagement activities

Resources for participants to review prior to September 23 discussion:

Diamond, R. M. (2006). Tenure and promotion: The next iteration. The National Academy for Academic Leadership. Retrieved from https://tomprof.stanford.edu/posting/744

Fitzgerald, H. E., Bruns, K., Sonka, S. T., Furco, A., & Swanson, L. (2012). The centrality of engagement in higher education. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(3), 7–28. Retrieved from http://openjournals.libs.uga.edu/index.php/jheoe/article/view/861

Furco, A. (2010). The Engaged Campus: Toward a Comprehensive Approach to Public Engagement. British Journal of Educational Studies, 58(4), 375–390. doi:10.1080/00071005.2010.527656 https://www.csusm.edu/community/facultyengagement/resources/documents/Furco-TheEngagedCampus-2011.pdf

Sriram, R. (2012). Reframing Academic Leadership. Journal of College Student Development, 53(6), 860–861. doi:10.1353/csd.2012.0081