Current and Past FLCs

Faculty Learning Communities 2022-2023

 Teaching Indigenous Research Methods

This FLC will support faculty seeking to increase their understanding of Indigenous research methods (IRMs) and ways of knowing, and how to integrate IRMs into their teaching of research methods. Across two semesters, we will discuss key texts in Indigenous research methods and collaboratively workshop participants’ syllabi and/or assignments to generate shared knowledge about how to bring IRMs into the classroom at Mason. By the end of the year, we will have generated a “best practices” document and resource list for faculty looking to incorporate IRMs in their teaching. In the long term, we hope to work with faculty to integrate IRMs into curricula across the university, and increase awareness of and facility with IRMs and Indigenous ways of knowing across both the faculty and the student body. We will be working in conversation with Mason’s anti-racist pedagogy endeavors, as well as cultivating a global mindset in students and staff and foregrounding innovative pedagogical approaches.

Leaders: Jessica Hurley (jhurle@gmu.edu) and Sylvia Schreiner (sschrei2@gmu.edu), English. Please email both leaders if you have questions or would like to join. Meetings will be held four times per semester and may be in person or virtual depending on participants’ preferences, schedules, and locations. We also plan to make hybrid synchronous/asynchronous participation possible for meetings that participants are unable to attend.


Integrating Global Awareness into Any Class

This FLC aims to address global awareness at the course level and join in conversation with faculty across disciplines and campuses on course assessments, resources, teaching and learning tools that shape academic success in an interconnected and diverse world. The group will engage in learning (e.g., monthly readings, discussions, guest speakers) and sharing (e.g., syllabus and assessment examples) around the university commitment (GMU Strategic Plan 2014-2024) to: "Engagement with the world: We will prepare our students to thrive in a global context by infusing global awareness, citizenship values, and learning opportunities across all fields, and we will partner with other organizations in solving global problems where our impact will be highest." The intention of this FLC is to increase ways that global awareness is incorporated in any classroom. The short-term goal will be to provide organizational structure and support around this topic and attempt to engage faculty across the university. The long-term goal will be to document and present at teaching-related conferences on ways that global education is infused throughout classrooms at Mason.

Leaders: Hyunjin "Deborah" Kwak and Amy Lewis, Mason Korea. For questions or to join, contact Amy Lewis (alewis33@gmu.edu).


Faculty Learning Communities 2017-2021

Teaching in Large Active Learning Classrooms
Are you ready? In the next two years, Mason will quadruple the number of classrooms that seat 45 or more students with furniture, whiteboards, and technology that supports in-class active learning: our largest room will hold almost 120 students! This Faculty Learning Community will explore the research, strategies, and opportunities that can support faculty who are preparing to teach engaging classes in these rooms. Faculty teaching all levels in all disciplines -- from STEM to Arts, from introductory to research intensive -- are invited to participate, whether or not you have taught a class like this before. Topics may include fostering in-class engagement, balancing lecture coverage with collaborative activities, "flipping" some course material to virtual spaces, and supporting extended team projects. By the conclusion of this FLC, participants will have a plan for their own class and great advice to share with colleagues.

Leaders: Crystal Anderson, Stearns Center, Mario Gliozzi, Physics & Astronomy, and Katie Rosenbusch, School of Business.


Using Student Digital Portfolios
It’s 2019: Are your students ready to showcase their work online, in your course and beyond? Will your students participate in Mason Impact and need to submit their projects online? This Faculty Learning Community will explore digital portfolios, to include implementation, best practices and lessons learned. Topics will include fostering students’ digital identity, assessing student performance, and conducting program or institutional assessment. Participants will be able to gain experience implementing portfolios through group exercises and/or individual projects. By the conclusion of this FLC, participants will be encouraged to expand best practices explored through publication and scholarship. All levels of experience are welcomed.

Leaders: Amy Lewis, INTO Mason; Terri Ann Guingab, CHHS.


Teaching and Learning Databases
This community will be engaging in developing, reviewing, and sharing of teaching strategies, open resources and tools, evaluation methods and learning resources for teaching and learning of databases. While we decided to make the community specific to teaching databases, in order to catalyze the participants' interest, we expect that participating faculty and teaching assistants may explore a range of questions about teaching and learning in a world of "big data." At each meeting the group will address one topic of interest for the participants, to which all the members will be encouraged to contribute. (Possible topics include introducing undergraduate research in database courses, project-based learning in undergraduate courses, creating and locating ready to use online resources, supporting adjunct instructors, using active learning methods in teaching databases, available free software tools for designing and implementing databases, student testing strategies, and/or test question pools.)

We hope that a selected editorial team for each topic will summarize the key issues and present a short article on the topic that will be peer reviewed by other members of the group. The goal is to maintain and further develop such articles as open resources for the community.

The group will have both virtual and recorded face to face meetings.

Leaders: Mihai Boicu, Information Sciences and Technology; Ioulia Rytikova, Information Sciences and Technology


Developing Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Projects
This Faculty Learning Community started in August 2018 and continues to expand its projects. The community engages faculty from across disciplines who are interested in designing and implementing a classroom research project (novices and experienced SoTL researchers welcome; you don’t have to already know your project!). Are your students learning? How do you know? Our FLC on Developing Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Projects will provide a supportive environment for exploring how faculty from across disciplines can pursue Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research in their classrooms.

Novices and experienced SoTL researchers are all welcome. Recipients of recent Curriculum Improvement Grants are encouraged to consider signing up as part of your assessment planning -- but participants don’t have to already know what your project will be! The community will provide support and feedback throughout the year for faculty members (individually or in groups) as they move through relevant steps in process: understanding principles of SoTL research, developing a SoTL research topic, executing SoTL research in the classroom, assessing the results of the project, and where appropriate, conceptualizing, drafting, and submitting SoTL papers. See the FLC's webpage for more resources.

Leaders: Kelly Schrum, Higher Education Program; Jessica Rosenberg, Physics & STEM Accelerator; and Jill Nelson, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Course ReDesign Academy
This learning community continues the work of the Course ReDesign Academy. Members who are piloting their (re)designed courses will meet to assess and continue to revise their courses, focusing on active learning, course cohesion and alignment, relevant and authentic assessment, and opportunities for flipped or hybrid learning. To find out more about the Stearns Center's Course ReDesign Academy for 2019, see our CRA Overview page.

Leader: Shelley Reid


Grant Writing for SoTL Projects
This Faculty Learning Community started in August 2018. The community engages faculty from across disciplines this year who have a classroom research project in mind or underway, as they refine their projects so they can identify and apply for grants to support their research. Drawing on the grant-writing success of its leaders and support from offices across Mason, this group will provide a supportive environment for locating possible sources of funding and for writing and submitting grant proposals related to SoTL work. Faculty members--individuals and teams--working on a range of project and inquiry types are invited to join. The community will work to identify relevant funding sources across disciplines and within specific disciplines represented. The long-term goals are to collectively provide support and feedback throughout the year for faculty members to conceptualize, draft, and submit SoTL grant proposals. Grant deadlines vary, but the goal will be to support each active FLC member in submitting at least one grant proposal or preparing to submit one grant proposal during the academic year.

Leaders: Kelly Schrum, Higher Education Program, and Jessica Rosenberg, Physics & STEM Accelerator


Engineering Education
This Faculty Learning Community started in August 2018. Our Engineering Education FLC will engage faculty this year to investigate and implement best practices in a wide range of engineering and engineering-related courses. The FLC will address issues related to Engineering Education (defined broadly and including CS and IT education). We will investigate both general theories and questions from educational research and practice in ways that apply to Engineering Education: What do high-impact learning experiences mean in this context? How do we integrate global and entrepreneurial experiences better? Given the current environment, how do we infuse ethics across the curriculum so that it is reflect in engineering practices? We will also consider unique needs such as laboratory work, hands-on learning, and the challenges of online- and project-based learning that affect courses in these fields.

Leaders: Aditya Johri, Information Sciences & Technology; Nada Dabbagh, Learning Technology/CEHD; and Jaime Lester, Higher Education Program


Team-based Learning
This Faculty Learning Community started in August 2018. Do you assign groupwork or team projects in your class? Do you find these approaches both exciting and challenging to design? You're not alone: team-based learning in undergraduate education has become the norm in many fields, including many of the STEM majors, business, health sciences, and game design, to name a few. With the growth of team-based capstone projects and the introduction of the Mason Impact initiative, these options will only become more common. Faculty from all ranks and disciplines are invited to join this group to work together to investigate how individual students learn from team-created products/processes, and explore ways to assess individual learning in team environments. We will read about best practices, and research other institutions and programs--possibly interviewing faculty with successful models. What we learn from this group will serve a wide range of departments, units, and university-wide initiatives at Mason.

Leaders: Stephanie Foster, Undergraduate Education/OSCAR; Laura Poms, Global and Community Health


Open Educational Resources
Our Open Educational Resources (OERs) Faculty Learning Community helps faculty identify, use, and develop OERs for the classroom. Monthly meetings will focus on topics such as finding and evaluating OERs, copyright and fair use, developing original materials, publishing alternatives and options, and how to measure success.

The Mindful Classroom
The Mindful Classroom learning community is a collegial exploration of the role that mindfulness (and related contemplative practices) can play in student learning, pedagogical methods, and student success.
Leader: Mark Thurston, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.

Teaching Writing in All Disciplines
This learning community will focus on best practices for teaching with writing, including effective writing assignment design, the “scaffolding” of writing courses, the integration of writing assignments with course goals, and models for in- and out-of-class opportunities for students to learn more about the rhetorical nature of writing.
Leader: Tom Polk, Writing Across the Curriculum

Faculty Mentoring Faculty
This learning community, based in the INTO Mason program but also including faculty mentors from other programs, will study best practices in faculty peer mentoring, articulate objectives for a faculty mentoring program, design structures for faculty mentoring programs, and develop methods for assessment and evaluation of faculty mentoring.
Leaders: Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, Christina Brady, and Aimee Weinstein, INTO Mason

Building Better Literature Survey Courses
This learning community based in the English Department will investigate the nature and value of literary study in the contemporary context, and work to develop literature survey courses at the 300 level that enhance curricular cohesion and help students acquire robust and capacious knowledge of literary history and cultural contexts.
Leaders: Eric Anderson, Tamara Harvey, and Alok Yadav, English

Course ReDesign Academy
This learning community continues the work of the Course ReDesign Academy. Members who are piloting their (re)designed courses will meet to assess and continue to revise their courses, focusing on active learning, course cohesion and alignment, relevant and authentic assessment, and opportunities for flipped or hybrid learning. To find out more about the Stearns Center's Course ReDesign Academy, see our CRA Overview page.


Previous Faculty Learning Communities

2014-2016: Self-Study Scholars Collaborative

2013-2014: Social Justice Scholars and Educators