Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Elliott Hall, Room 200A
275 Varner Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2751

Two women sitting in a library talking

Learning Communities

Learning Communities  are faculty-driven small groups that spend an academic year exploring a topic related to teaching and student success in higher education. Every winter faculty have an opportunity to submit an application to start an LC, and awarded LCs have $300 available for resources. Learn more about and participate in Learning Communities.

 More about Learning Communities and proposals.

Current LCs

Unlearning Grading: Alternative Assessment Strategies 
Facilitators: Patrick Hillberg, Annie Sullivan, and Dawn Woods.

Join the Unlearning Grading

  • Critically evaluate the use of traditional grades and grading approaches.
  • Explore alternative grading approaches that support students to have agency to learn.
  • Support instructors to empower students to take ownership of their learning.

PASS! 2.0: Building Classroom Community
Facilitators: Charlene Hayden and Holly Greiner-Hallman

Join PASS! 2.0: Building Classroom Community

  • Research methods for creating a sense of community in the classroom environment for STEM courses
  • Develop advice to share with other STEM faculty about how to build community in their classrooms

Adventure, Adapt and Achieve - The Triple A’s of Teaching 
Facilitated by Subha Bhaskaran

Join The Triple A's of Teaching

  • Start a book club with books geared towards best teaching practices and tools
  • Discuss ideas/strategies from the book club readings to improve effectiveness in teaching methods by adventuring new technologies and also to improve the quality of student learning by adapting those ideas.
  • Implement/demonstrate ideas in teaching classes and reflect on the outcomes.
What Are LCs?
What Is an OU Learning Community?

An OU Learning Community is an active, collaborative year-long program, meeting biweekly. Participants typically include 6-12 faculty, graduate students and professional staff from a variety of disciplines.

How do you lead a LC?

Those interested in facilitating an LC will:.

  • Submit a proposal to CETL
  • If accepted, seek membership and participation with assistance from CETL
  • Organize and facilitate regular sessions (approximately 2 times per month)
  • Submit final report
  • Share results of LC with others on campus
What are some examples of topics for a LC?
  • Alternative grading approaches
  • Antiracist teaching
  • Facilitating conversation on crucial topics (e.g., through books like Intellectual Empathy: Critical Thinking for Social Justice by Linker, 2015; Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education, by Merculieff & Roderick, 2013; and Crucial Conversations)
  • Partnering with students on how to best create learning environments (e.g., students could participate as well through books like The Courage to Learn)
  • Trauma-aware pedagogy
  • Centering holistic wellness in teaching and learning
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), or first steps in studying and disseminating teaching practice
  • Teaching with technology (e.g. HyFlex, instructional videos, interactive content via H5P, social reading through annotation tools)
  • Mentoring undergraduate research
  • Active learning
  • Engaging students in large classes
  • Service learning and community engagement
  • Student learning through writing
  • Disseminating teaching practices via publications and other methods

Up to $300 is available for the following:

  • Books and materials related to the topic
  • Registration for events on learning community topic
  • Travel for regional or virtual expert on the selected topic to come to OU

Learning Community Facilitators will have to request funds for these or other purposes. CETL curates a list of teaching and learning conferences, prioritizing those that require less travel and cost.