CFE Learning Communities

The Center For Faculty Excellence sponsors a number of interdisciplinary Faculty Learning Communities each year.  As a result of participation in the community, members produce "deliverables" such as specific and measurable changes to pedagogy, course redesigns, assignment redesigns, resource materials, and so on.


Facilitator: Bonnie Mitchel

The Active Learning using Digital Technologies in the Classroom Learning Community focuses on integrating technology and pedagogy to foster active learning environments that challenge students to think critically and solve problems in creative ways. We discover and investigate methods of employing technology in engaging and authentic ways to promote student learning. The learning community re-assesses instructional delivery styles and questions how we teach with a goal of shifting pedagogy from traditional, instructor-focused methods to student-centered learning. We work to transform our pedagogical styles by sharing knowledge, resources, ideas, tools, and solutions and applying what we learn in the classroom.


Facilitators: Jerry Schnepp and Mary-Jon Ludy

Working efficiently (and effectively) is important in any career. This is especially true for university faculty, whose time is largely self-directed. While the flexibility afforded to faculty members is designed to enable an equitable balance between teaching, scholarship, service, and personal life, it can inadvertently lead to divided focus and unproductive behaviors. There are myriad resources, mostly from the field of business, that address efficiency techniques. This learning community focuses on applying these established, practical techniques to the workflow of university faculty.


Facilitator: Sharon Subreenduth

With BGSU’s rapidly increasing international student population we as faculty find ourselves in the midst of global levels of socio-cultural and knowledge diversity that demands our attention and consideration for how we may be able to develop meaningful academic relationships and interactions with our international students. In this learning community, an interdisciplinary group of faculty:

• Examines current literature on international students on US campuses,

• Discusses the challenges and successes of teaching international students,

• Studies the importance and process of internationalizing the curriculum,

• Reflects on our own teaching and interactions, explore common cultural biases, and learn how to detect them in our own teaching,

• Examines why and where students may have travelled from and which helps us understand the context of our engagement, and

• Utilizes a universal design model to restructure our course(s) to integrate more global perspectives


Facilitators: Kate E. Dellenbusch, Matthew L. Partin

This learning community is for faculty, graduate students, and others with a common interest in understanding the effects of attitudes and motivation on student learning in STEM. Participants engage with the attitudes and motivation education literature and work collaboratively within the learning community to develop and conduct research in this area. Motivations and attitudes about a particular subject or about learning in general can influence student conceptual gains and course performance. For example, Oliver and Simpson (1988) found strong relationships between academic achievement and attitudes toward science, motivation to achieve, and self-efficacy for learning. Others, notably Dweck (e.g. 1999), have found that a students ideas about their own ability and whether that ability is fixed affect motivation as well as performance, particularly when the student faces difficulty. How do student attitudes and motivation affect learning? Do student perceptions and attitudes about learning itself significantly influence conceptual gains in the classroom? Can we structure the educational experiences our students have to improve their attitudes and motivation and help them become life-long learners? In this learning community we explore the literature in this area and discover the attitudes of our own students through research in our classrooms. We begin in the fall by exploring and discussing the literature on student attitudes and motivation. The primary goal of the community however, is to conduct research in this area collaboratively as a learning community. Members may elect to form small groups, each working on their own research question, or the entire community may work together on the same project. In the fall, in addition to discussing the literature, the research projects are planned so that data collection can begin early in the spring semester. This includes discussions on instruments that may be used to measure attitudes, such as the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1991). Data collection and initial analysis will be completed during the spring semester. This research is conducted with the goal that it will be suitable for publication.


Facilitator: Katherine Meizel

More frequently than we realize, all of us teach students with disabilities--both visible and invisible impairments, learning differences, mental health challenges--and there are many ways in which we can make our coursework and classrooms more accessible and effective for these students. The kinds of test accommodations with which we are familiar are only the tip of the iceberg. Our goals in this learning community center on the identification and application of pedagogical methods, techniques, and technologies--for example, universal classroom design--that will help students with disabilities engage more fully in our classes and in the university community. We work to understand different types of disabilities, and their impact on individual educational experiences, on classroom environments, and on instructional practices. Ultimately, we identify and implement strategies to facilitate a broader cultural shift on campus-- such as establishing general and area-specific workshops for faculty in different departments. This learning community brings together instructors in areas across campus. Graduate student participants are encouraged to join. Each member of the learning community is responsible for leading at least one meeting.


Facilitators: Amilcar Challu, Holly Myers

This Learning Community is a forum to exchange ideas and foster collaboration on our teaching about sustainability, climate change and the environment, in the spirit of contributing to our university’s Climate Action Plan. We also open dialogue among BGSU faculty about the unique challenges of teaching about sustainability. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and the development of effective teaching strategies. Participants share readings, lesson plans, and assignments, lead discussions, and survey colleagues. The specific goals are: a) to hold discussions on the teaching of sustainability, climate change and the environment; b) identify opportunities for collaboration in specific courses; c) create and pilot-tests proposals of student-centered interdisciplinary collaboration (e.g. guest lectures, public events, etc); d) develop a sustainability-themed track of courses integrated to the BG Perspectives program and college requirements.


Facilitator: Susan Kleine

Participants in this learning community are actively involved in investigating BGSU’s active learning classrooms and spaces. The goal is to produce scholarship contributing to the emerging literature on learning space design.


Facilitators: Paul Valdez and Lee Nickoson

Sponsored by the Office of Service-Learning, this learning community supports the creation of high quality courses using service-learning pedagogy, addressing the development of personal and social responsibility, civic action, and community engagement. The learning community supports university strategic goals to ensure all students have an opportunity for some type of experiential learning, specifically service-learning (2013-2014 Strategic Goal 1, Item 4), and that service learning opportunities are designed to advance global engagement (2013-2014 Strategic Goal 4, Item 3). Members of the community expand their understanding of service-leaning pedagogy, dialogue with peers engaged in course (re)design, and participate in an on-going professional development support network during course delivery. The learning community structure facilitates interdisciplinary connections and spurs future collaborations for service-learning research, outreach, and external funding. There is a clear timetable for participants to ensure that they conclude the fall and spring semesters with a strong course design and partnership development (including Blue Sheets etc., as required), and a summer plan to ensure the course is successfully taught in either fall 2016, or spring/summer 2017. The learning community meets bi-weekly in academic year 2015-2016. Participants continue to be part of a monthly learning community meeting in academic year 2016-2017, accessing a professional development network as they are implementing their new course.


Facilitator: Jacqueline Justice

The focus of the LC is scholarship of teaching with the specific goals of 1) identifying faculty needs to effectively support the enrollment plan focus on online course offerings and 2) developing approaches, processes, and specific activities/assignments to enhance the effectiveness of online teaching. Participants engage in the careful study of relevant scholarship and then apply that study to tangible online curriculum improvements. Topics include the following:

• Online Instruction and Online Learning: Communities of Inquiry

• Rethinking Content and Assessment

• Academic Honesty Online: Communities of Integrity

• Supporting Interaction Online – Online engagement of course content

• Quality and Efficiency

• Online Teaching at BGSU Firelands: SWOT Analysis