A faculty learning community is a cross-disciplinary faculty group of five or more members engaging in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum focus on specific topics about pedagogy in higher education.

General Criteria that Define Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs):

  • An ongoing opportunity for faculty members to meet regularly to learn about and reflect on their teaching. FLCs focus on specific topics about pedagogy in higher education.
  • Faculty led, with support from the Center for Teaching and other relevant University of Iowa units
  • Outcomes can take many different forms, depending on the goals of the group and the needs of the university. Possible outcomes include a summary paper, a website (or pages), a workshop for peers, literature reviews, conference presentations and publications, or policy recommendations for administrators.
  • FLCs often begin the academic year by sharing short readings that can then be used to jump-start discussion. FLC members can build on these early discussions to create individual teaching projects that are assessed or more global projects around curricular or policy design or contextualizing what is happening on a campus in light of the larger frameworks of contemporary higher education.  Frameworks created by professional organizations such as the American Association of Colleges and Universities could serve to guide discussion and outcomes at this level.
  • “A faculty learning community is a cross-disciplinary faculty group of five or more members (eight to 12 is the recommended size) engaging in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, interdisciplinary, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and community.”  Milton D. Cox, “Essays on Teaching Excellence,” 2002-03.
  • FLCs are encouraged to choose readings from a range of genres, including academic journals, serial publications in higher ed such as the Chronicle of Higher Ed, periodic publications by national/international higher ed organizations such as the American Association of Colleges & Universities, fiction, and the popular press. 

Support & Funding

Center for Teaching staff can help organize the group, schedule meetings, and reserve rooms.Center staff members can attend FLC meetings when appropriate. 

Funding from the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology can provide books used to spark discussion during FLC meetings, enable FLC members to attend relevant community events, or participate in working dinners.   

News about FLCs

Close Looking Across Disciplines: A Faculty Learning Community

What do you see when you look at a cell, a newspaper ad, a blueprint, a historic photograph, or any other material of your discipline? What do your students see?  

Faculty members are invited to examine the possibilities of object-based learning in the classroom in the Close Looking Faculty Learning Community, a collaboration between the Stanley Museum of Art and the OTLT Center for Teaching. 

Setting the Stage for a Deeper Kind of Learning

Since its inception, the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology has worked to enhance student learning by creatively connecting instructors and administrators across traditional institutional boundaries. The OTLT Center for Teaching partnered with Hancher and the Cashore Marionettes to create a special opportunity for faculty members who seek to consider how emotion factors into learning and imaginatively weave the performing arts into their courses.

Big Ideas Faculty Learning Community