Center for Teaching Excellence Faculty Learning Communities

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The Center's FLCs are based on the principle of a "community of practice," which is a group of people engaged in collective learning around a particular set of questions, topics, circumstances, goals, or challenges. FLCs are most successful and rewarding when participants commit not just to their own learning and development, but the growth and fulfillment of other members in the community of practice. Out of this shared set of interests and desires, new knowledge and practices emerge. The process is often quite transformative, and members often "graduate" from the FLC with practical insights and action plans for their teaching.

How the FLC Is Organized
Typically, the FLCs that the CTE facilitates are centered loosely around a book or set of readings. But participants are invited to bring their own experiences and knowledge into this space for exploration. The Center provides organization, recruitment, and facilitation of faculty learning communities designed for specific cohorts, such as new faculty, adjuncts, online instructors, or those who have a common pedagogical interest. 

How the FLC Works
Faculty Learning Communities meet at least once a month on a schedule determined by the participants. Refreshments are provided. Please contact Brianne as soon as possible to indicate your interest in joining one. If you have other ideas for FLCs, or perhaps would like to lead one yourself with support from the CTE, please let us know as soon as possible!

Schedule for Fall 2015

Junior Faculty - Canceled

This FLC is for new and untenured faculty and gives these faculty time and space to share challenges and successes in teaching, and to broaden and strengthen their membership in the Plattsburgh faculty community. (This FLC is facilitated by Becky.)
Meeting times:
Wednesday, September 16, 10:00-11:30ACC #1
Wednesday, October 14, 10:00-11:30 ACC #1
Wednesday, November 18, 10:00-11:30, ACC #1

The Virtues of Ignorance

What would it mean for us to emphasize not the power and breadth of our knowledge, but the limits of our knowledge and ability, even in our own field of expertise, and to share this humility with our students? Using the text, The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge by editors Bill Vitek and Wes Jackson, we will explore the values and also dangers of a perpetually provisional and even suspicious attitude regarding what we do know. We will especially consider how such an attitude can be incorporated into our teaching in a way that respects the incredible intellectual achievements of our cultures and disciplines, but offers a refreshing relief from the pressures of being Prometheus. Check out the chapter by Robert Perry, "Ignorance--An Inner Perspective," to get a sense for the kinds of questions we will be asking. 
Meeting days, times, and locations will be determined in cooperation with the participants. (This FLC is facilitated by Michael.)


The objective of the Gateway course is to provide students with the opportunity to engage productively in the intellectual community of a liberal arts college. Students demonstrate success in that engagement through participation in and critical reflection on the cultural and academic “life of the mind,” both within and outside of the classroom. Faculty who have taught, are teaching and who are interested in teaching Gateway course are welcome to join this FLC.
Meeting days, times, and locations will be determined in cooperation with the participants. (This FLC is facilitated by Becky.)

The Learning Brain

Current research on the brain has yielded information that can have significant impact on how we design courses and teach our content. What is particularly helpful is understanding how the brain processes information through the various layers of memory, vision, and emotion. We will review some of the literature of neuroscience and discuss how what scientists are learning about the brain can inform how we are teaching. Participants will be reading material provided by the CTE.
Meeting days, times, and locations will be determined in cooperation with the participants.  (This FLC is facilitated by Becky.)

Contact Information

For general inquiries about the Center for Teaching Excellence, please contact:

The Center for Teaching Excellence
SUNY Plattsburgh
301 Feinberg Library, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-3043
Fax: (518) 564-5100