Extending faculty development through a sustainable community of practice

Sarah Hoyt, Lindy Hamilton Mayled, Stephen J. Krause, Keith D. Hjelmstad, Kara L. Hjelmstad, Claire Fletcher Honeycutt, Eugene Judson, Lydia Ross, James A. Middleton, Robert J. Culbertson, Ke Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Research has shown that creating communities of practice can help solidify organizational learning. With pedagogical shifts towards engagement-style teaching and active learning, institutions are working to create robust faculty development that will not only provide the necessary support for shifting pedagogical styles, but one that will also sustain what is learned and provide an opportunity for faculty to continue that discussion beyond the end of the professional development series. Communities of Practice (CoPs) provide support for faculty that is collaborative, peer-engaged, structured, and non-evaluative. This evidenced-based practice paper examines the extension of a faculty development program through a sustainable CoP across multiple disciplines in engineering at a large southwestern university. The IUSE NSF-funded grant referenced in this study, entitled Just-in-Time-Teaching with Two Way Formative Feedback for Multiple Disciplines (JTFD), began in the fall of 2015 with the goal of shifting teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning through active learning and formative feedback. Once the workshop series concluded, the grant established ongoing CoPs that have been sustained for the final two years of the grant. The initial program utilized a train-the-trainer model with multi-disciplinary engineering faculty participating in eight bi-weekly workshops and six biweekly CoPs for a year-long faculty development program. The trainers, disciplinary leader pairs (DLPs) who were chosen by the PIs, first completed the eight workshops and six CoPs before moving on to lead their own workshops with faculty from the same discipline the following year. Workshop topics included Bloom's Taxonomy, learning objectives, interactive classes, active and cooperative learning, muddiest points, tech tools, and fostering inclusive learning environments. The subsequent CoPs followed a semi-structured format; in other words, each session had a chapter from Felder and Brent's Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide but also provided opportunities for faculty to discuss the process of implementing active learning into their classes and sharing ideas. The CoPs were created at the request of faculty participants, who asked for an ongoing forum to continue discussions around engineering education-related topics. In the Fall of 2018, the CoPs broadened in scope to include sessions and topics that faculty deemed important for the year. Themes from this semester included tips on integrating active learning into the classroom and migrating course content to the new LMS. In the Spring of 2019, using faculty feedback, the CoP topics were expanded further and included: 3 Ways to Integrate Active Learning into Your Classroom in 10 Minutes or Less!; Asking the Right Questions: A Discussion of Building Tests to Improve Student Achievement; Psychology-Based Approaches to Improving Student Motivation; 5 Features You're Not Using in Canvas (But Should Be). Based on faculty feedback through the use of surveys, the new topics were found to be of value and attendance remained steady with a slow increase. The Fall 2019 topics include Setting the Tone/Building Relationships on the First Day for the Engaged Class; Do My Students Know What I Want Them to Know? Using a Backward Design Approach to Assessment; Getting the Wayward Student Back on Track Using Midterm Formative Feedback and Assessment; Motivating Your Students to Finish Strongly: Ending the Semester Successfully. The preferred method of presentation is active lecture to engage the audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number698
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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