As we wrote in an earlier post, the Consortium for Teaching & Learning is sponsoring five Learning Communities that will span and connect colleagues from many (hopefully all) our GLCA campuses. As we noted, “As liberal arts colleges, we share a number of characteristics that allow for similar practices and approaches, as well as a broadly shared set of values and goals. On the other hand, campus culture varies widely from one campus to the next, and these differences undoubtedly shape both how we frame many issues and the institutional frameworks through which we work. This combination of similarities and differences, we believe, will provide a rich environment for discussion and reflection.”

These five learning communities will begin their work in October. We will use this column of the website to list the resources they are consulting, share their queries and findings, and communicate with the larger community with the hope and intention that others will be encouraged to reach out to colleagues to form additional Learning Communities. The CTL is here to help that process.

The five LC’s are:

On our Campuses:

(1) CHANGES IN FACULTY ROLES AND IN TEACHING:  Considering changes in faculty roles and pedagogical practices that are made necessary by demographic changes in the country, the evolving job market, technological developments (including the dominant role of social media), and an increasingly fractured/tribal political and cultural environment;

(2) INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING:  Reflecting on how to fashion practices of inclusive excellence and culturally relevant curriculum in order to support all our students; and

(3) EVIDENCE-BASED TEACHING AND EVALUATION:  Developing methods of promoting evidence-based practices in teaching and assessment.

Within our Local Communities, particularly given our location in four “rust-belt” states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana):

(4) COMMUNITY ENGAGED TEACHING AND LEARNING:  Using high-impact, research-based pedagogical practices to encourage local liberal arts colleges to engage more productively and sustainably with the communities in which they are situated; working toward deeper understandings of our local community on the part of students and faculty; helping students negotiate their residence in communities with which, for the most part, they are unfamiliar; and promoting interaction in a manner that responds to community interests and priorities while helping students develop thoughtful and reflective forms of civic engagement.

At a National Level:

(5) THE VALUE OF A LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION:  Joining and engaging the conversation on the value of a liberal arts education to students and society.  Addressing the importance of higher education in general, and a liberal education in particular, and   encouraging pedagogical approaches based on participation, engagement, respect, community, and critical evaluation as a method of preparing graduates for their post-graduate as individuals and citizens.  Through these means, helping to the future of our democracy and the health of our planet.



Kelley E. Matthews, Beth Marquis, and Mick Healey, “International collaborative writing groups as communities of practice,” in Jacquie McDonald and Aileen Cater-Steel, eds., Implementing Communities of Practice in Higher Education (Singapore: Springer, 2016), pp. 597-617.

Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

Martha Petrone and Leslie Ortquist-Ahren, “Facilitating Faculty Learning Communities: A Compact Guide to Creating Change and Inspiring Community,” in Milton D. Cox and Laurie Richlin, eds., New Directions for Teaching and Learning: Building Faculty Learning Communities (Spring 2004), Volume 2004, Issue 97, Pages 1–157.


Robert Barr and John Tagg, “A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education,” Change 27:6 (Nov-Dec 1995), pp. 12-25.

Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, “Cultivating the Imagination in a World of Constant Change,” Forum for the Future of Higher Education (2012)

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