Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs)

Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are designed to enhance teaching effectiveness using group discussions of shared experiences.

2016-17 Communities

Supporting Fresno State Student Writers

Facilitators: Thomas McNamara and Magda Gilewicz (tmcnamara@csufresno.edu, magdag@csufresno.edu)

In this Faculty Learning Community, participants will develop strategies to improve the quality of student writing in their courses. We'll explore in particular the writing backgrounds and needs of Fresno State's diverse student body. Topics for reading and discussion will include designing effective writing assignments, the writing process, responding to student writing, peer review and workshops, and supporting multilingual writers. Participants will also develop and share classroom activities that draw on best practices in writing instruction.

View all the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program opportunities here.

Schedule: We will meet 5 times during the spring semester: 

  • Meeting 1: Introducing Students to Writing in Your Discipline (TBD during week of February 6 - 10)
  • Meeting 2: Scaffolding and Designing Writing Assignments (February 17, 11:00 - 2:30; Dan Melzer visit from UC Davis)
  • Meeting 3: Responding to Student Writing (Friday, March 10, 1:30 - 3:30; special workshop by Dr. Kelly Ritter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Meeting 4: The Writing Process and Low-Stakes Writing (TBD during week of March 27-31)
  • Meeting 5: Peer Review (TBD during week of April 17-21)

Develop Your Research Agenda and Publish your Scholarly Article

Facilitator: Ida Jones (idaj@csufresno.edu)

Publication is a key requirement for faculty. Yet when an instructor begins his or her academic career, the demands of the classroom can seem overwhelming so that attention to publication only occurs after all teaching tasks are completed. This FLC is designed to help newer faculty develop and follow a research agenda that works for them and to support each other to submit a manuscript to a peer reviewed journal by the end of the academic year.

Schedule: Tentatively Monday, Wednesday or Friday early afternoon.

Critical Play

Facilitators: Hillary Jones, Dvera Saxton, and Aimee Rickman (hjones@csufresno.edu, dsaxton@csufresno.edu, arickman@csufresno.edu)

The Critical Play FLC will convene faculty interested in exploring the theoretical principles and pedagogical and political possibilities of critical play. In addition, this FLC will engage faculty members in experimentation and creation as they develop new tools, informed by this collaborative exploration, that can be used to improve teaching, conduct emancipatory research, and/or advance critical applications, including activism and community outreach.

Schedule: The FLC will run across the 2016-2017 academic year, to include 7 total meetings (4 in the fall semester and 3 in the spring semester). Meetings will occur face-to-face. In addition, resources will be shared digitally with participants. Fall Semester:

  • September: Overview of critical play theory and research, complete TILT paperwork
  • October: Critical play and application (e.g. outreach, activism), submit critical play project proposal
  • November: Critical play and pedagogy
  • December: Critical play applied session, experimenting with various games and tools

Spring Semester:

  • Late January/Early February: Workshop, teach-in, or play-testing session, determined based on the specific interests and projects of the FLC participants
  • March: Workshop, teach-in, or play-testing session, determined based on the specific interests and projects of the FLC participants
  • April: Workshop, teach-in, or play-testing session, determined based on the specific interests and projects of the FLC participants

NVivo to Support your Research Project

Facilitator: Kimberly Coy (kcoy@csufresno.edu)

Faculty work together and complete analyzing data for individual research projects using NVivo. What is NVivo? “NVivo is software that supports qualitative and mixed methods research. It’s designed to help you organize, analyze and find insights in unstructured, or qualitative data like: interviews, open-ended survey responses, articles, social media and web content.” http://www.qsrinternational.com/what-is-nvivo

Schedule: FTF: 2+ hours four times. Digital: Zoom meetings four times, with optional synchronous meeting opportunities. Will also use Blackboard to store resources and communicate questions as well as curate expert input.

Supporting Untenured Faculty

Facilitators: Frederick Nelson, Kathleen Rindahl, and Deborah Walker (fnelson@csufresno.edu, krindahl@csufresno.edu, dewalker@csufresno.edu)

The Untenured Faculty Organizations will provide a series of workshops and panels throughout the academic year, designed specifically to support untenured faculty. These workshops will include topics such as:

  • Supporting Each Other for Innovative Teaching and Extraordinary Learning
  • Constructing Your Probationary Plan
  • Getting the Most from Your Mentor
  • Digital Management of Your WPAF Assets
  • Effective Strategies for Scholarly Productivity
  • and others on relevant topics to provide relevant information and collegiality to untenured faculty.

Schedule: We do not have a schedule completed at this time, as some workshops are dependent on access to specific meeting rooms. We plan to offer at least four workshop events each semester, beginning in September.

Service-Learning Reflection Modules

Facilitator: Kim Morin (kimm@csufresno.edu)

By revising, implementing and promoting the use of reflection tools for service-learning, this FLC is aligned with two major priorities identified in the strategic plan: Priority 1 and Priority 4.
Priority One: Enhance teaching and learning through best practices, innovative programs, and high-impact experiences that attract talented and diverse students and contribute to retention, extraordinary learning, the development of the whole student, and lifelong success.
A main goal of this FLC is to promote best practices and high-impact experiences through service-learning. It will lead directly to curriculum and course re-design.
Priority Four: Grow and develop collaborative and engaged community partnerships to increase support for students and the University.
By its very nature, Service-Learning is defined by its development of collaborative and engaged community partnerships. This FLC will also promote further collaboration between faculty who are establishing these kinds of relationships in the community.

Tentative Schedule:
Monthly Discussion Boards on Bb (SL Module Organization) responding to online materials in the SL Modules
9/26, 10/14, 11/21, 2/24, 3/17, 4/21
Two Meetings in person in the fall (Oct, Dec)
Two meetings in person in the spring (March, May)

Ethics Case Studies in Business and Entrepreneurship

Ethics FLC Members

Facilitators: Andrew Fiala and Lynn Forsythe (afiala@csufresno.edu and lynnf@csufresno.edu)

About the facilitators:
Andrew Fiala is professor of Philosophy, Director of the Ethics Center, and Ethicist in Residence with the Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  He teaches applied ethics courses.  He has published a number of books and articles on ethics and political philosophy.  He writes a column on ethics for the Fresno Bee.

Lynn M. Forsythe is professor of Business Law at the Craig School of Business, where she teaches BA 18, Business and the Legal Environment, and BA 152, Law for Entrepreneurs.  She has written four business law textbooks and four case studies with teaching notes.  Some of her work can found on Google Scholar and/or Research Gate.

Description of FLC:
Participants will work on developing and utilizing ethics case studies in business and entrepreneurship. This FLC is intended for faculty across the curriculum who teach courses that deal with ethical challenges in business and entrepreneurial activity. A framework for analyzing ethical problems will be provided. Participants will develop discipline specific cases, which can also be used in ethics discussions in course work across the campus. These cases will engage students in authentic, discipline specific discussion of ethics.Cohort participants will be supported in developing and analyzing original case studies. Participants will be encouraged to develop Valley specific cases (e.g., agriculture, immigration, water, air quality, poverty, the arts, education, local businesses/issues/concerns).

Schedule: Likely meeting dates/times:

Tuesday 1PM in Music 102. Will meet for 2 hours, once per month.

Key Dates:

  • Rough draft of case study will be presented to the group by December 1.
  • Case study draft will be employed in classroom instruction during either Fall or Spring semester (ideally both)
  • Final draft will be submitted by May 1 for publication by the end of the Spring semester.

FLC Meeting Schedule

  • September – Introductions, goals of FLC, ethical decision making framework
  • October – Identify discipline specific context for ethics cases, present background in which ethical dilemmas often arise in the discipline
  • November—Present drafts to FLC for suggestions, discuss draft of survey for student input
  • February—Review data from student surveys for cases that have been tested with students, continue to add information to enrich the cases and make them relevant to students
  • March—Continue to support the writing and editing of cases
  • April –Review and editing of final drafts

Clinical Education

Facilitators: Stephanie Moore-Reed and Brittany Castro-Conde (sdmreed@csufresno.edu and bcastroconde@csufresno.edu)

Connect clinical education coordinators and program directors on campus to identify current affiliated sites and service-learning sites used by each program and discuss the potential to streamline affiliation agreements and documents across multiple departments at each affiliated site.

Schedule: Face to Face meetings, with the potential for faculty to use Zoom to join in if necessary. Propose Thursday 8-9:50am first Thursday of Oct, Nov, Dec, Feb, March, April but would like to remain flexible to the schedules of the interested faculty.

Statistics - Professional Development in Teaching of Statistics & Advanced Statistics Methods

Facilitators: Christian Wandeler, Mariya Yukhimenko, and Susan Tracz (cwandeler@csufresno.edu, mariyay@csufresno.edu, susant@csufresno.edu)

This FLC enables the exchange of faculty who teach or use statistics in different departments. The goal is to develop our pedagogy of creating statistics learning environment, our statistics content knowledge, and build relationships between statistics users.

Schedule: Thursdays 10am-12 monthly, week of month TBD

Fresno State's Award Winning Supplemental Instruction

Facilitators: Beth Weinman, Mai Kou Vang, and Tosha Giuffrida (bweinman@csufresno.edu, tgiuffrida@csufresno.edu)

Did you know that Fresno State has an internationally recognized Supplemental Instruction program? If not, and if you’re not even sure what Supplemental Instruction is, that is totally okay! It probably also means that this is the right learning community for you. Supplemental Instruction, or “SI” for short, is a fast growing “high impact practice” that uses a peer-led instructional approach to facilitate learning, which raises class grades and closes achievement gaps like no other intervention. The purpose of this learning community is to promote faculty awareness about SI, and to learn how the practice can be implemented in your classes. This learning community will spend the Fall learning about SI and the Spring implementing SI without one or more of our classes.

Read more about what Supplemental Instruction is.


  • 3 Fall Zoom meetings - plan SI
  • 2 Spring Zoom meetings - implement
  • 1 end of year face-to-face pizza workshop

*Funding provided by the Learning Center and the Center for Faculty Excellence

Peer Coaching for Teaching Effectiveness

Facilitators: LJ Fine (larryf@csufresno.edu)

The Peer Coaching for Teaching Effectiveness Program is a partnered coaching opportunity sponsored by the Center for Faculty Excellence. Participants select teaching areas they are most interested in developing toward their own professional growth. The program matches same-ranked faculty members from different disciplines to engage in peer feedback. Faculty who have participated in peer coaching found that it served as a springboard to innovative ideas on teaching and learning in a non-threatening setting while fostering collegial relationships across campus . We invite faculty of all ranks and disciplines to join us in this peer supported conversation on college teaching. Introductory meetings will be held to further explain the process.


Informational Meetings will be held:

  • Tuesday, September 20 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 21 from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.

Use this link to let us know which informational meeting you will be attending.

October 12th - time TBD
October 15th - time TBD

Enhancing Graduate Student Services

Facilitators: Imelda Dudley (isantacruz@csufresno.edu)

In a concerted, multi-prong approach, in the past years Fresno State has implemented to great effect a number of initiatives focused on the improvement of undergraduate student services. Similar efforts are now being developed at the graduate level, fueled in part by the University’s receipt of a new U.S. Department of Education Title V-B grant. The grant project, named the Graduate Net Initiative, aims to strengthen the graduate experience at Fresno State through three main initiatives: first is the creation of an online digital hub, a cohesive, centralized digital space from which all Fresno State graduate services will be accessible; second is the expansion of online graduate programs and the delivery of online pedagogy trainings for faculty; third is the campus-wide expansion of mentorship and internship programs for graduate students. An equally important aim of the project is to attract more students to Fresno State, strengthening and expanding current programmatic outreach and recruitment efforts. This Faculty Learning Community, to be facilitated by the Initiative’s Graduate Outreach Specialist, will bring together graduate faculty and program coordinators to consider their current outreach efforts and student services. The main objective of the FLC will be to develop improvement plans to strengthen graduate support services and enhance department websites.


Faculty will participate in monthly meetings and hands-on trainings to perform their work. There will be six meetings throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. A Doodle Poll will be used to find the best time to meet for participants.

  • Mid- September: Face to face
  • Mid- October: Face to face
  • Mid- November: Face to face
  • Mid- February: Face to face
  • Mid-March: Face to face
  • Mid- April: Face to face

*Funded through the Graduate Net Initiative

Best Practices for Graduate Online Pedagogy (Graduate Net Initiative)

Facilitators: Maritere Lopez (mariterel@csufresno.edu)

The Graduate Net Initiative's Best Practices for Graduate Online Pedagogy FLC allows participants to investigate, discuss, and implement best practices in graduate online pedagogy and mentorship. Faculty experts from across campus share with participants their ideas, experiences, and best practices, which participants get to test and implement in their own courses. Topics include, among others: higher order critical discussions online, formative and summative assessments in the graduate online environment, continuous student feedback in online graduate courses, and effective strategies for online mentoring.


Faculty will participate in six monthly meetings throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. The introductory meeting, to be held in early October, will serve as an opportunity to identify major areas of concern, as well as desired outcomes, collaboratively. The subsequent four meeting (in early November, December, February, and March) will focus on discussing theories and approaches to graduate online teaching and mentoring, and on identifying innovative and effective strategies to be both implemented individually and shared with other graduate faculty members in future CFE trainings. The concluding meeting, to be held in April, will focus on the evaluation of progress made and the development of future plans for continued faculty development in this area.
After fellow faculty "experts" from across campus come in and share with us their experiences, best practices, and ideas, each participant will choose one of the topics to focus on and will develop and implement at least one module/instance in one of our courses (or, in my case, student interactions).
Participants will receive assistance from Sue Yang in CFE, if needed, in developing and implementing the practice. If a participant is not teaching online this academic year, he/she will substitute one face-to-face interactions with a digital one.
Each participant will then report out to the group in the April meeting and submit a short report to be compiled both for CSALT and participants’ use. Individual reports will include at a minimum:

  • A short introduction identifying the practice selected, whether he/she had tried it before (and if so, what he/she tried this time that was different), why he/she chose it, and (perhaps?) his/her expectations going in
  • A short narrative of his/her development and deployment of the practice, including his/her resulting experience
  • A short conclusion summarizing his/her view of the practice's applicability, what worked or didn't work, how he/she would do it differently (if so) and why, whether he/she would utilize it again, etc.

The facilitator will compile the individual reports, write introductory and concluding sections, and submit to CFE.

*Funded through the Graduate Net Initiative

Reading About Water

Facilitators: Beth Weinman, Fred Nelson, David Drexler, Balaji Seth, Laura Ramos, David Zoldoske, Chris Hernandez and Matt Zivot (bweinman@csufresno.edu, fnelson@csufresno.edu, ddrexler@csufresno.edu, balajis@csufresno.edu, chhernandez@csufresno.edu, mzivot@csufresno.edu)

Water is not only essential for life, but provides real benefits to our human well-being. Why are fountains such important features of cities? Why is the sound of a “babbling brook” soothing? This year’s Reading About Water book is Blue Mind, by Wallace J. Nichols, and we will engage faculty in considering how to integrate this reading into our Spring courses. During Fall 2016, we will meet to discuss important ideas from the book and collaborate on curricular and pedagogical strategies. We will then implement those strategies in Spring 2017, culminating with the Student Water Showcase, a visit from the author, and a Faculty & Student Water Panel later in the semester.


Fall FLC Meetings:

  • Day 1: Sep 29th Thursday 3 - 4.30 pm
  • Day 2: Oct 27th Thursday 3 - 4.30 pm
  • Day 3: Dec 1st Thursday 3 - 4.30 pm
  • Additional Online Session(s) on Blackboard using Voice Thread (vt) will be scheduled (TBD).

Spring FLC Meetings:

  • April 17 - May 5 - Student Water Showcase
  • Thursday, April 20, 27 or May 4 - Author visit and public talk
  • Week of May 1-5 - Faculty/Student Water Panel Discussion
  • February, March, April - class visits & course observations 
  • Week after author visit - Student survey
  • Final week of class - Water Literacy Inventory

*Funding provided by Laval and David Zoldoske and the Center for Faculty Excellence

2015-16 Communities

Digital Humanities

Facilitators: Kathleen Godfrey, John Beynon, and David Drexler

  • Identify DH project started by FLC participants
  • Further develop DH with the aim of submitting for an NEH grant

ePortfolios - Using ePortfolios to Assess Student Learning

Facilitator: Melissa Jordine

Implement e-portfolios and engage students/improve student success

Graduate Net Initiative Best Practices for Faculty in Online Learning

Facilitator: Maritere Lopez

Faculty "experts" from across campus to come in and share their experiences, best practices, and ideas on four topics:

  • Effective Advanced Student Collaborations Online
  • Continuous Student Feedback in Online Graduate
  • Courses Effective use of short Course Videos
  • Zoom & Digital Meetings/Discussion

Graduate Net Initiative Support for Graduate Students Online

Facilitator: Imelda Santacruz-Dudley

Graduate Program, Website Redesign, and New Graduate Resources

Integrating Career-Related Assignments

Facilitators: Adrian Ramirez and Jody Burum

Discuss online and campus resources to engage students in their career and professional development

Pedagogy & Tools for Teaching with Tablets & Online

Facilitator: Christian Wandeler

Make content emotionally engaging and humanize online instruction

Publishing a Scholarly Article - Fulfilling Your Research Agenda

Facilitator: Ida M. Jones

Submission of an article/scholarly activity to a peer-reviewed journal

Reading About Water in Your Course

Facilitators: Beth Weinman, Fred Nelson, David Drexler, Florence Cassal Shermar, Jes Therkelsen, Samendra Sherchan, and Chih-Hao Wang

View several websites about dynamic climate changes

Statistics - Professional Development in Teaching of Statistics & Advanced Statistics Methods

Facilitator: Christian Wandeler

Make data engaging for students, use simulations, and exchange different resources

Sustainability - Across Campus/Across Division Support for Improving & Teaching Campus Sustainability

Facilitators: Mara Brady and Arun Nambiar

  • Identify goals
  • Possible courses for a campus-wide Sustainability Certificate
  • Discussion of possibility of setting up a Sustainability Institute and/or campus wide committee to explore sustainability projects around campus

2014-15 Communities

Addressing Student Psycho-Social Needs for Academic Success

Facilitators:  Christine Edmondson and Malik Raheem

  • Identify Fresno State student psycho-social needs that affect academic success
  • Identify strategies that faculty can use to address these needs in their courses
  • Support Mental Health Conference


Facilitators:  Melissa Jordine and Andrew Lawson

Increase discussions, interdisciplinary collaboration, and developing innovative and effective strategies for campus-wide assessment

Integrating Career and Professional Development - Related Assignment in Your Courses

Facilitators:  Rita Bocchinfuson-Cohen, Jody Burum and Adrian Ramirez

  • Each FLC member will have at least 1-2 new career assignments with learning outcomes
  • Some faculty will implement career assignments in courses and conduct pre/posttests of students’ opinions
  • Blackboard organization or Pathbrite ePortfolio will be created in order to inventory and share career-related assignments across campus

Integrating Information Literacy into the Curriculum

Facilitators:  Amanda Dinscore and Hiromi Kubo

In this FLC, faculty and librarians will discuss and learn about how to prepare students for a lifetime of learning by integrating information literacy into the curriculum. We will explore the philosophy and concepts of information literacy, and develop discipline-specific applications of competencies for courses taught by participating faculty. Participants will have the opportunity to work closely with librarians who will assist with assignment development. We will also provide faculty with an opportunity to update their own research skills using discipline-specific library and web resources.

Internship FLC 2.0

Facilitator:  Debbie Young

  • Connect all Internship Coordinators and new and experienced faculty on campus to share common issues and concerns unique to internship programs such as risk management, the legalities of internships and internship assessment.
  • Has a community Bb group containing all forms and practices of various internship programs already running on campus.

Linked Learning

Facilitator:  Nancy Akhavan

  • Virtual connection to two Linked Learning consortia
  • Visits to Linked Learning certified schools in various parts of California
  • Design and implementation of Linked Learning principals, activities, and focus areas in the Single Subject Credential Program.

Professional Ethics

Facilitators:  Andrew Fiala and Jack Benninga

A collaboration of faculty from across the campus focused on professional ethics.

Reading About Water in Your Course

Facilitators:  Florence Cassel Sharma, David Drexler, Frederick Nelson, Fayzul Pasha, Jes Therkelsen and Beth Weinman

  • Facilitate connections about water between our course 
  • Examine how to integrate readings from the book, The Big Thirst, by Charles Fishman in our courses
  • Consider how to engage students to develop critical, informed thinking regarding these concerns
  • Develop specific course activities focusing on excerpts from the book

Scholarly Writing

Facilitator:  Ida M. Jones

Submission of an article/scholarly activity to a peer-reviewed journal