Office of the Provost
Faculty/Staff Learning Communities
The Office of the Provost at Butler University sponsors Faculty/Staff Learning Communities (FSLCs) that bring together small groups of faculty and academic staff from a variety of disciplines and units to regularly engage in dynamic discussion, reflection, and collaboration on a professional development topic of shared interest.
The goals of FSLCs are to build and strengthen the Butler academic community and its commitment to community engagement, to share resources and expertise, to encourage evidence-based decisions about our work, and to support Butler’s faculty and academic staff in their pursuit of lifelong learning and multidisciplinary collaboration.
Each FSLC will consist of up to (approximately) 15 voluntary participants who may represent various areas within the academic division (i.e., colleges, libraries, academic affairs units), represent both faculty and academic staff, and represent multiple career stages (i.e., a mix of junior and more experienced members of the Butler community). Participants are expected to attend the meetings of the FSLC, to assist the facilitator in developing agendas and group goals, and to contribute meaningfully to session discussions and activities. Participants will also contribute to the “final project,” which will be assembled by the facilitator.
FSLC facilitators will be expected to schedule meetings, reserve meeting space, select readings, assignments, and topics, and organize and steer group activities and conversations. Facilitators will also coordinate and assemble the FSLC “final project.” Each FSLC can decide what their final deliverable will be. Some examples of typical ways to present to campus or to the community include:
- Deliver a Brown Bag or Food for Thought session on what your FSLC learned
- Present lessons learned from your FSLC at a professional conference
- Act as a mentor to other FSLC participants and facilitators
- Host a series of conversations on your FSLC’s topic
- Present on your FSLC at the Celebration of Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL)
- Submit a manuscript for publication in an applicable journal (e.g., Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) or a proposal for presentation at a relevant conference (e.g., the Lilly Conferences on College and University Teaching and Learning)
The FSLC facilitators have three main responsibilities:
- Champion—By keeping members’ focus on the big picture while motivating participants to take the risk to change in their individual areas, the champion serves as a catalyst for academic change.
- Coordinate—Initial tasks of a coordinator would be to identify the key components of the FSLC in consultation with the Program Directors and build a framework for the year around those components and the FSLC objectives.
- Energize—By thoughtfully observing and providing feedback on both the focus and the harmony of the group, the energizer makes any necessary interventions to bring the group back to the overarching goals of the FSLC program: to enhance student learning and to build community and foster relationships across disciplines (Petrone & Ortquist-Ahrens, 65-66).
Facilitator training will be provided prior to the start of the FSLCs.
Members of each FSLC are expected to meet approximately once every three weeks for 1–2 hours, for a total of approximately 6 meetings throughout the academic year. Facilitators will be responsible for coordinating participants’ schedules and arranging meeting times and places.
Each FSLC will have $500 to spend on books, materials, and other meeting supplies, subject to current university procurement guidelines. Funds may be used for other purposes with the approval of the Provost and expenses over $500 should be explicitly justified. Additionally, a stipend of $750 will be available for facilitators as a sign of appreciation for the extra effort involved in leading an FSLC.
FSLC Themes for 2021-22:
All faculty (full-time or part-time) and staff are welcome to join any of the FSLCs listed.
Butler in the Time of Corona - The Podcast Edition
The purpose of this FSLC is to capture the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of Butler faculty and staff who had to rethink approaches to their work in the context of COVID-19. Participants will plan and produce a series of podcasts examining not only the psychic cost of changing their approaches but also the professional growth and new ways of thinking prompted by those changes. Special emphasis will be placed on storytelling strategies for audio, audio recording and editing techniques, interviewing tips, and podcast promotion and distribution. No prior experience with podcasting is required. Training approaches will take shape in response to the group’s collective expertise and experience.
For staff and faculty of any skillset interested in exploring the scholarly and pedagogical applications of immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and 360° video. Monthly meetings will involve a mix of information sharing, hands-on exploration of immersive technologies housed in the Center for Academic Technology, discussion around how these tools might enhance teaching and learning, and clarify its scope by highlighting relevant activities at Butler.
Readings on Race: Critical Race Theory
The goal of this reading group is to provide a shared reading experience and theoretical trajectory of Critical Race Theory (CRT) for the interdisciplinary faculty that teach in RGSS or are interested in critical race theory. This FSLC will be a collaboration of faculty and staff from a range of disciplines that will engage in a common set of readings with the goal of fostering an intellectual community and a shared vocabulary centered on critical race theory.
Shared Governance for Faculty and Staff
This FSLC will bring together staff and faculty to discuss shared governance at Butler - what is, what isn't, and what it might be. Some examples of the types of topics to be explored include:
- What is the history of shared staff and faculty governance on Butler's campus?
- What is the value of shared governance?
- What are its limits?
- Can shared governance help to redress patterns and histories of inequality?
Understanding Copyright: From the Courtroom to the Classroom
As Butler University, and other universities across the country, look back on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to content, textbooks, and course materials played a large role in the early days of the transition to online learning. Copyright continues to be a daunting concept, especially in the online environment. Before the mass switch to flipped classrooms and online only instruction, academics were often protected by in-classroom instruction and distance learning exemptions in copyright law. With COVID-19, copyright law has become a gray area of academic understanding.
This FSLC is designed to provide a foundational understanding of copyright in the classroom and equip academics with the tools to make informed decisions about copyright issues in their instruction. Participants from all aspects of Butler University are encouraged to participate, especially those interested in learning how to find and use copyrighted, Creative Commons licensed, and public domain materials in the classroom or on campus, professionals looking to further their understanding of copyright, and those looking to discuss copyright issues and reform.
Please note that, because of the extra time commitment involved in being part of a FSLC, applicants should discuss with their supervisors how participation would affect their workload. Faculty applicants should secure department chair and -dean approval. Academic staff applicants should secure support from their immediate supervisor.
Timeline for FSLCs
March 1, 2021: Online proposal for 2021-22 FSLC topics opens.
April 16, 2021: Proposals for 2021-22 FSLC topics due by 5:00 PM
May 7, 2021: 2020-2021 FSLCs officially end
May 10, 2021: 2021-22 FSLC topics announced and online participation application opens
Tentative timeline for 2021-22 academic year FSLC events:
September 2021 date TBD: Facilitator training
September 2021 date TBD: FSLC Information session
September 17, 2021: Participant applications due by 5:00 PM
September 24, 2021: Participant applicants notified
September 27, 2021: 2021-22 FSLCs officially begin
March 4, 2022: Online proposal for 2022-23 FSLC topics opens
April 8, 2022: Proposals for 2022-23 FSLC topics due by 5:00 PM (please note this due date for an FSLC that begins in August 2022; we are happy to consider proposals that adhere to a different timeline if it makes sense for your proposed topic)
May 10, 2022: 2022-23 FSLC topics announced and online participation application opens
May 6, 2022: 2021-22 FSLCs officially end
To learn more about learning communities, please visit the following links:
- Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities by Milton Cox
- Learning Communities Journal
- Special issue: Building Faculty Learning Communities; New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Spring 2004, issue 97
- Facilitating Faculty Learning Communities: A Compact Guide to Creating Change and Inspiring Community Martha C. Petrone, Leslie Ortquist-Ahrens, New Directions for Teaching & Learning, Spring 2004, issue 97.
Please address questions to the FSLC Program Co-Directors: