Improving Teaching Effectiveness and Student Learning Through the Use of Faculty Learning Communities

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Stephen M. Roth
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Higher education faculty have many responsibilities, with teaching as arguably the most public of those yet also the task for which many are least prepared. Professional development around teaching and learning can provide faculty with the knowledge and skills needed to improve student learning while also improving job satisfaction. The present paper describes the use of faculty learning communities as a best practice for professional development around teaching. Such communities engage a group of participants over time and provide a way to impart knowledge and resources around teaching and learning, encourage application of new skills in the classroom, and evaluate and refect on the effectiveness of those trials. Research shows that time spent in faculty learning communities translates into improvements in both teaching effectiveness and student learning. Resources are provided for administrators interested in developing and supporting faculty learning communities around teaching and learning.

Roth is with the Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, and the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

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