Learning Communities provide safe and supportive spaces for complicated conversations about curriculum and pedagogy. Michigan State University has supported these initiatives since 2004.
Learning Communities at MSU are free to select their own topics and determine the structures that best support their inquiries. Accordingly, communities tend to vary greatly in their practices, interests, and agendas. All communities, however, share three things in common: they meet monthly across the academic year, explore important educational themes, and welcome all members of MSU’s instructional staff, regardless of rank or discipline.Let's Talk
How to Join
Learning Communities run from September to April. Call for new proposals goes out in March with a due date of late June. If you are interested in joining or proposing a community, please look to the list of communities below and contact the facilitator for more information.
Learning Community Topics
For more information, and to participate in one of the following learning communities, please contact its facilitators.
Accessible Course Design: Instruction for All through Universal Design for Learning
The Accessible Course Design Learning Community takes a practice-based approach to exploring accessibility and Universal Design for Learning in face to face and online settings. Our goal is to develop our own accessible teaching practices, while creating and promoting accessibility to the campus community.
Adams Academy 2.0 Learning Community
As a group of former Adams Academy Fellows, our learning community extends the work of the Adams Academy by focusing on what Huber and Hutchins call ‚Äúgoing public‚Äù with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. With that said, we aim to ‚Äúbuild an audience‚Äù for SoTL at MSU by focusing on three questions:
- Who would benefit most from an increased understanding of SoTL?
- What would be the best ways to communicate knowledge of SoTL to those individuals/groups?
- What content/ideas would be most beneficial to their practice?
Advancing Online Graduate Programs
(formerly called Charting the Future of Online Graduate Education at Michigan State University)
Program coordinators and directors of online graduate programs across the university face a unique set of challenges in meeting their educational missions. This group provides a forum to discuss common challenges and a means to leverage collective resources to implement strategies. It gives members a place to find both instrumental support and a sense of community.
Alternative Modes for Early Literacy and Language Instruction
The disruption caused by Covid-19 has significantly affected early literacy instruction throughout the country, in particular students from low-income, urban, and rural communities. The lack of access to technological tools like high-speed internet and electronic devices has greatly disadvantaged students of this population. The goal of this learning community is to support efforts ongoing to bridge the digital divide focusing on early literacy instruction and exploring alternative modes of delivery that are sustainable.
Anti-Racist Strategies for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development Efforts
It is so strange that white academics and staff routinely conduct research in our own areas of expertise, yet as soon as issues of racism come to the fore, we ask our colleagues of color to teach us. Are anti-racist topics not worthy of the white academic’s own self-directed time and efforts? This community will be dedicated to advancing the understanding of how white faculty and staff at MSU can engage in anti-racist practices. We invite learners of all races and ethnicities who are committed to read, view, and listen to the research, creative scholarship, and voices of what our MSU campus colleagues and others have published on whiteness, social justice and anti-racist issues.
Department of Animal Science Teaching and Learning Community (ANS TLC)
The Department of Animal Science Teaching and Learning Community (ANS TLC) will address educational topics that are proposed by members of the Department of Animal Science (ANS) and additional ANS TLC members. For 2021, workshops will focus on discussions among ANS faculty/staff and ANS TLC members in order to align departmental SLOs across courses. The goal of ANS TLC is to provide tools for its members and SLO alignment across courses to create an impactful and cohesive educational experience for undergraduate students.
Digital Humanities Pedagogy Learning Community
The DH Pedagogy LC brings together educators from across campus who are new to digital humanities methods and theories and interested in integrating these approaches into their undergraduate courses. Digital humanities methods ‚Äì such as annotation, digital curation, mapping, text analysis, visualization, and social media analysis ‚Äì allow students to explore topics of the humanities through multiple hands-on ways of knowing and integrate active learning approaches alongside critical approaches to engaging with technology. Over the course of the year, LC members will transform the syllabus of a course they teach to integrate a digital project (or several) into the class.
GTA Virtual Lunch & Learn Best Practices TLC (Teaching Learning Community)
The GTA TLC meets twice a month to present and discuss best practices in teaching and learning, new and emerging pedagogy and new research in teaching. Anyone interested in learning about best practices in teaching from GTAs in various instructional settings is welcome to join and contribute their knowledge and practices in the teaching space.
HOBI@CANR = Hybrid, Online and Blended Instruction at CANR
- David Howe, CANR Ofc of Academic & Student Affairs - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Janice Siegford, Animal Science Department Anr
Instructors at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are invited to our community to search for solutions to issues they may be having related to online instruction, to learn from colleagues, and to share techniques that might be useful for others. Our focus is on both individual courses and the broader view of online learning at the college and the university.
Interdisciplinary Design Collaborative (a learning community)
With MSU at the center of the state’s intellectual economy and with so many faculty and students that engage Design from disparate areas of campus, creating an interdisciplinary group could lead to a more unified campus network of makers and thinkers. This learning community could facilitate alternative educational models, inform collaborative research practices, and further extend networks beyond MSU.
Military-Affiliated Students Learning Community
- Patrick Forystek, Student Veterans Resource Center - email@example.com
Did you know that 4% of students at MSU are military-affiliated? Come explore how we can best support these students in our community to achieve success in the classroom and beyond.
Mindful Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
In this Learning Community, we will define what mindfulness means in the context of teaching in a higher education setting. While mindfulness practices are often associated with stress-reduction, we will explore how such practices also enable the development of empathy, emotional resilience, and ethical awareness. This LC will continue the work begun during the 2019-2020 Academic year, while focusing specifically on how mindful practices can be applied both to DEI goals and to the challenges of dealing with current covid-19 social restrictions.
MSU Trauma Services and Training Network (TSTN)
The mission of the MSU Trauma Services and Training Network (MSU TSTN) is to better understand, communicate, and address the impact of trauma at MSU and in the broader mid-Michigan community. We strive to collaborate across disciplines to care for trauma survivors through the development of trauma-informed, evidence-based education, training, and service.
Open Pedagogy and Open Educational Practices Learning Community
In this learning community, participants will explore how open pedagogy and open educational practices are enabled through the use of open educational resources (OER). Participants will read works and share practices that promote open pedagogy and discuss specific approaches for improving teaching, learning, and student engagement both in-person and online environments.
We seek to create a community of scholarship and practice centering on restorative justice, and to identify ways to use RJ to build community within our campus. We will work to define restorative justice, explore ways in which it can be utilized on our campus, and to produce resources for other MSU community members interested in implementing restorative practices on campus.
Sharing Process Improvement Tools in Undergraduate Internships and Experiential Education
The Sharing Process Improvement Tools in Undergraduate Internships and Experiential Education community is designed to provide internship coordinators an opportunity to work through challenges commonly faced within the MSU environment when implementing internship experiences. The intended outcome of this group is to design resources for internship coordinators. All internship coordinators and experiential education specialists are welcome; we are looking to create a shared community of practice and network of support.
Team-Based Teaching and Learning Network (TBTLN)
MSU’s Team-Based Teaching and Learning Network (TBTLN) focuses on flipped classroom strategies and teaching methods across disciplines, course levels, and course formats. Our mission as a learning community is twofold: (a) to explore and discuss the benefits and challenges of engaged student learning through team-based pedagogy and (b) to implement and assess engaged team-based practices in our classes for the direct benefit of our MSU students.
Tier II Writing Faculty Learning Community
The Tier II Writing Faculty Learning Community seeks to bring faculty together to explore strategies to develop student writing skills that are effective for students and practical for faculty. Participants will gain insight into student writing needs; learn new writing-related learning activities and assessment strategies from the literature, experts on campus, and from each other; and be positioned to serve as college leaders for other Tier II writing instructors.
Veterinary – Medical School Collaborative Community
The MSU Veterinary School and MSU Medical School share many common interests including (but not limited to): orthopedic interventions, regenerative medicine therapies, oncology, neurology, virology, and infectious disease treatments. The Veterinary – Medical School Collaborative Community is focused on building lasting, impactful, collaborative relationships. The Community will meet eight times per year for topic-based presentations and discussions on clinical and didactic teaching tactics, graduate and professional student training, and shared medical interests in order to build and strengthen collaborations between the Veterinary and Medical School Learning Communities.
Water Infrastructure: The Interface of Natural and Built Environments in Urban, Suburban, and Rural Communities
- Steven Safferman, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering - SteveS@msu.edu
Water infrastructure at the urban, suburban, and rural interface offers challenges and opportunities to protect human health and the environment and to provide sustainable resources. This Learning Community brings together MSU faculty, extension educators/specialists, institutes/centers, facility professionals, and community members to enhance educational programs and research at this intersection. The Learning Community also advocates the use of MSU’s campus as a living, learning laboratory.