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Faculty Learning Community

2014-2015 Faculty Learning Community: Student LearningTheory and First-Year Students

About the Faculty Learning Community (FLC) Program

A Faculty Learning Community, now in its third year, is a year-long professional development experience organized by the Center for Excellence in Teaching. The CET provides leadership for the group, including selecting a topic, selecting meeting times, and providing support; through the leadership of faculty facilitators, the FLC members also shape the group's activities as the academic year progresses. The 2014-2015 FLC will be comprised of a maximum of twelve (12) full-time faculty members selected from across Simmons' five schools.

Goals and Activities

FLC members will engage in research-based discussion related to Student Learning Theory and First-Year Students. By the end of the program, FLC participants will have:

  • Read and discussed two books and several book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, and/or online resources related to multiple approaches to understanding Student Learning Theory, its impact on how we perceive and practice teaching and learning, and considerations for teaching first-year students.
  • Discussed key research related to student learning theory, including:
    • Ambrose et al's Seven Principles of Learning;
    • Fink's Taxonomy of Significant Learning Experiences and Chickering & Gamson's Principles for Undergraduate Education;
    • Strategies for Teaching First-Year College Students;


    • Stage-Based Theories (Bloom's Taxonomy, Maslow, and Cognitive Development Research);
    • Metacognition;
    • Democratic Perspectives: bell hooks and Paulo Freire;
    • Social Learning and Constructivism; and
    • Learning Styles and Universal Design.
  • Shared their insights and perspectives on their readings with their colleagues during two seminar-style discussions open to all Simmons faculty (one in the late fall and one in the late spring);
  • Shared key takeaways with members of the Simmons community developing new first-year courses (as appropriate);
  • Implemented changes to their teaching to enhance their students' learning based on their discussions and insights;
  • Expanded their knowledge of student learning theory, best teaching practices, and supporting first-year students.

Time and Resources

The FLC will meet for 1.5 hours once a month from October 2014 to May 2015. Exact dates and times will be selected based on the members' availability. Expect to dedicate about 1-2 hours' work per month to FLC activities outside of meeting times.

Participants are required to attend at least six of the eight meetings and to share their insights publicly through at least one of the two seminar-style discussions open to all Simmons faculty members. If these requirements are met by June 15, 2015, the participant will be awarded a stipend of $500.00.

Also, the CET will provide travel expenses up to $600.00 for each FLC participant to offset the cost of attending a Lilly conference, a Teaching Professor conference, a SoTL conference, or a conference focused on first-year students during the 2014-2015 academic year. The CET will help coordinate group trips for those interested in attending. Additional travel funds may be available if not all FLC members choose to attend a conference.

FLC members will be encouraged to submit a proposal for presentation, share insights gained at the conference with fellow FLC members or Simmons peers, and/or otherwise engage or reflect on how the knowledge and experiences gained at the conference can help enhance evidence-based teaching and learning at Simmons.

Additionally, all FLC participants will receive two books upon their acceptance to the program: Ambrose et al's How Learning Works and Erickson, Peters, & Strommer's Teaching First-Year College Students. A collection of articles and other readings will be provided to each participant as well.

Participant Selection

Applications will be reviewed and participants chosen by CET staff in collaboration with CET's Advisory Committee, which includes faculty members from across Simmons. The committee will endeavor to select a group that is representative of the various disciplines, levels of experience, and other diversities among Simmons faculty. Previous participants in the FLC program are welcome and encouraged to apply.

Applicants will be notified of their status by October 1, 2014.