CELT offers two new learning communities for faculty

Much like helping students adapt at the start of a new academic year, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) is putting the focus on instructors with two new faculty learning communities.

How to participate

Schedules for all learning communities are on the CELT events page. An RSVP is requested.

The Large Enrollment Learning Community will meet the first Friday of every month (1 p.m., 2030 Morrill) beginning Sept. 1, and the New Instructor Teaching and Learning Community has its first meeting Sept. 11 (2 p.m., 2030 Morrill).

"These two communities were developed because of needs expressed by faculty across campus," said CELT instructor development coordinator Krista Klocke. "Community is such a vital aspect of building a sense of belonging and feeling connected on campus. Teaching can sometimes feel solitary, or like you are the only one dealing with a particular challenge, or wondering how best to meet student needs in the classroom."

Klocke said learning communities for faculty can help. As they create connections within the learning community, instructors help one another while giving and receiving encouragement and support. Talking about a topic with another instructor can yield helpful insights.

The in-person learning communities are designed to promote conversation and shared ideas on how to excel in situations and overcome challenges. There now are four CELT faculty learning communities. The other two are the ISU Online Learning Community, which supports instructors of online courses, and the Teaching with AI asynchronous Canvas course.

Large enrollment

The large enrollment community will be co-facilitated by four faculty members who helped design it and will guide conversation. Ecology, evolution and organismal biology adjunct associate professor Lori Biederman, chemistry teaching professor Cristina Bonaccorsi, Morrill Professor of mathematics Steve Butler and psychology associate teaching professor Bob Hessling all have experience teaching large enrollment courses. Klocke also will co-facilitate the community.

"Instructors in large enrollment courses are teaching in a different format that requires different kinds of support," she said. "We want this to be the community of practice for those teaching large enrollment courses."

The conversations and information gathered throughout this academic year will lead to the development of an online teaching toolkit that will be officially launched by fall 2024 and made available to all faculty. Klocke said it will provide an overview of what it's like to teach a large enrollment course with strategies and suggestions for success.

New instructors

The new instructor community is for those new to teaching or to Iowa State. It will be co-facilitated by accounting associate professor Christine Denison and Klocke. Klocke said one of the biggest goals is to help alleviate some of the stress that comes with teaching for the first time, teaching a new course or teaching on a new campus, by building community and offering support through interdisciplinary connections. A new instructor teaching toolkit also will be developed and launched for all instructors next fall.

Attend when you can

Attendance isn't mandatory, so faculty can choose which sessions of each learning community fit their schedule. The learning communities will run through the academic year but pause during winter session.

For more information about any of the faculty learning communities, email Klocke.