Gonzaga’s New Faculty Learning Community (NFLC), facilitated by the Center for Teaching and Advising, addresses the particular needs of first-year tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty. We meet monthly throughout the academic year and support new faculty in several specific ways.
- Designed both as an “extended orientation” and an ongoing conversation for faculty new to campus and/or newly launched in their careers.
- Fall semester meetings take up just-in- time topics that constitute further orientation to Gonzaga’s distinct systems, processes, and cultures.
- Over the year, the learning-community model enables genuine cohort-formation and a related emphasis on reading, inquiry, and discussion concerning key aspects of our work and life as faculty, with a consistent emphasis on our teaching and learning work with students.
- Recent topics of NFLC inquiry include: educational psychology, motivation (Dweck), and learning; race and diversity on campus; talking, engaging, teaching; deep learning, and teaching that encourages deep learning; work-life balance as faculty – ideas and strategies; e-portfolios and teaching portfolios.
- The model also works well with a common book scaffolding part of the year.
In short, we want NFLC to be the foundational of Gonzaga’s commitment to reflective pedagogical practice. The NFLC is effective and distinctive because of its learning community model.
- A Learning Community (LC) is defined as "a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students" (EdGlossary.org).
- New faculty here receive a two-day Orientation in late August that offers the strict orientation to the university that they need as the academic year begins. With this in place, the LC that begins later in September is elective and a different kind of opportunity for new faculty, one that supports LC-style learning and exchange and addresses some specific needs at this early-career stage.
- We find the LC-model to be significant because of its distinct invitation, beyond the merely topical, to join and help form a cohort that engages in and values collaborative inquiry as well as meta-cognitive and self-reflexive practices about our work as faculty (Austin 2010; Bain 2004; Shulman 1993).
For more information on this program please contact our office.