• Faculty and Professional Learning Communities

Due to a generous grant from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Emily Davis after Mr. Davis' retirement as chairman of Shaw's Supermarket, Inc., the CTE is starting a new program for the Suffolk community called Faculty and Professional Learning Communities (FPLCs).


What is an FPLC?

A cross-disciplinary group of 8-10 faculty, staff, and administrators who will meet throughout the academic year to share their experiences, learn from one another, and explore the literature on the latest pedagogical and curricular trends. FPLCs also concentrate on the social aspects of building community; off-campus retreats and conferences. They include times for fun, and some gatherings during the year will also include family and guests.

Typically there are two categories of FPLC: cohort-based and topic-based.

Cohort-based FPLCs address the teaching, learning and developmental needs of an important group of faculty or staff that has been particularly affected by the isolation, fragmentation, stress, neglect, or chilly climate in the academy. The curriculum of a cohort FPLC is shaped by the participants to include a broad range of teaching and learning areas and topics of interest to them.

Topic-based FPLCs have a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity. These FPLCs provide opportunities for learning across all faculty rankgs and cohorts and make appropriate professional staff members available to focus on a specific theme.

What kind of FPLCs are we offering at Suffolk University?

In this inaugural year (2013-2014) of the program we are offering four topic-based FPLCs. With the university's Strategic Plan in mind, two of the four FPLCs will focus on hybrid teaching and learning. A third FPLC will focus on multi-cultural competencies while the fourth FPLC will focus on entrepreneurial and innovative thinking. In future years of the program faculty will be able to propose FPLC topics that are in alignment with the Strategic Plan.

When you participate in an FPLC, what do you do?

After forming, each FPLC will collaboratively identify a measurable outcome tied to their group's topic that they will work to achieve throughout the year-long community. Each FPLC will also collaboratively decide on their budget allocation (each FPLC gets a $10 000 budget for the year). Following a semester of reading and scholarly engagement (fall 2013), each FPLC participant will be expected to propose (through an IRB application) and implement a pedagogical or curricular change in their classroom based on the theme of their FPLC. Possible examples of outcomes include the incorporation and evaluation of hybrid learning activities, the implementation and assessment of new diversity-based curricula, or the measurement of innovative thinking through a new survey tool.

What is the time commitment for an FPLC?

FPLCs officially start and meet every three weeks throughout the fall (2013) semester to plan a group outcome and the use of their FPLC budget, design their research project, and begin drafting their IRB proposals. During spring (2014) FPLCs will continue to meet every three weeks and will start implementing their plans from fall 2013.

Who will facilitate the FPLCs?

Each FPLC will be co-facilitted by a faculty member and a staff member or administrator at the university. The facilitators for the 2013-2014 FPLC program are:

Hybrid Teaching and Learning I: Eric Dewar (Associate Professor, Biology) & Michelle Bolser (Academic Technologist, CAS)

Hybrid Teaching and Learning II: Mary-Joan Potvin (Instructor, Accounting) & Danny Fontaine (Assistant Director, Center for Teaching Excellence)

Multi-Cultural Competencies: Kim McLaurin (Associate Professor, Law) & Jacinda Felix-Haro (Director, Office of Diversity Services)

Entrepreneurial and Innovative Thinking: George Moker (Instructor, Management & Entrepreneuriship) & Michelle McIntyre (Program Coordinator, NESAD)

How do I apply and what are the criteria for selection?

FPLCs will be interdisciplinary and open to participants from the College of Arts and Sciences, Sawyer Business School, and the Law School. To apply, download and complete the application form. Please send your application in hardcopy to: Katie Linder, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, 12th floor, 73 Tremont Street by Friday the 5th of April, 2013. Please note that only hardcopy applications will be accepted.

How will I know if I have been accepted to participate in an FPLC?

Applicants will be chosen by the Center for Teaching Excellence staff in collaboration with FPLC facilitators who will, based on the applicant pool, attempt to create FPLCs with participants of diverse ranks and disciplines. Applicants will hear if they have been selected by Friday the 12th of April, 2013.


If you have any further questions or need more information, please contact Katie Linder or Danny Fontaine.