Announcing Faculty Learning Community Themes for 2018

December 18, 2017

The Educational Development Council (EDC) has reviewed statements of interest for Faculty Learning Community (FLC) themes in the next round of Teaching Innovation Grants. Based on the level and substance of interest in potential themes, EDC members and representatives of the Academic Technology Center (ATC) have decided to solicit formal applications for two possible FLCs. Whether one or two are funded will depend on the quantity and quality of formal proposals.

  • Infusing Development of Intercultural Competency Across the Curriculum. This past summer a WPI task force reviewed definitions of global and intercultural competency and proposed the following definition for WPI: the skills, knowledge, and dispositions enabling one to engage in open, peaceful, and productive interactions with diverse peoples and ideas on the basis of a shared respect for human dignity. People can demonstrate this competency by identifying, explaining, and critically analyzing the complex social, cultural, economic, and political forces that shape the self and others when they engage with local and global communities. Participants in this FLC would transform courses in a broad range of departments and programs to infuse development of intercultural competency or social justice perspectives, such that students are more likely to encounter these issues at multiple points in their WPI education.
  • Enhancing Students’ Visual Communication Abilities: Our students and graduates are increasingly called upon to critically view, use, and produce visual content such as images, illustrations, models, graphs and charts, and other data visualizations. Most course instructors and project advisors (IQP, MQP, thesis) understand the importance of these skills and abilities (sometimes captured by the term “visual literacy”) but are not formally trained to teach them. Participants in this FLC would develop and test teaching and learning resources in courses or projects to help students, instructors, and advisors across disciplines to teach and learn these skills and abilities.

In a FLC, each member pursues their own project, while meeting monthly with the multidisciplinary community for peer feedback and support. Anyone who wishes to join a particular FLC should submit an application by February 1, 2018. (Having submitted a statement of interest earlier in December is neither necessary nor sufficient to apply to an FLC.) If you submitted a statement of interest for a theme that is not being supported, or if you would rather work independently on one of the themes described above, we encourage you to submit an “independent project” proposal instead. Independent project (IP) proposals are also welcome in any other area related to innovation in undergraduate and graduate education. Proposals, whether for a FLC or IP grant, will merit funding only if they go beyond normal expectations for renewal and improvement of curricula and pedagogical strategies.

Details about expectations and funding, along with application procedures and criteria for selection for both types of grants, can be found in the Call for Proposals and Program Guidelines.