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2018 Faculty Learning Community

CSCA 2018 Faculty Learning Community 

CSCA Call for Participants

Faculty Learning Community

Title: Supporting Difference: Faculty Learning Community on Teaching Controversial Topics

Premise: Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) provide structured opportunities for faculty to systematically focus on a teaching challenge, engage academic literature, discuss barriers and opportunities with colleagues, develop and improve teaching skills, and report outcomes.

This FLC will bring together diverse faculty in the Communication discipline to work on projects tied to a shared challenge. Participating in the FLC is a year-long commitment that begins during CSCA 2018 and ends during CSCA 2019.

FLC Topic: Engaging in controversial discussions in the classroom often requires students to identify and manage new ways of thinking. This can be a challenging process that is often met with resistance. Although these ‘difficult’ topics can yield great insights and lead to paradigm shifts in thinking for students, the challenges associated with facilitating these discussions may lead faculty to shy away from or struggle with teaching controversial topics.

The content of this FLC will focus on investigating challenges and identifying techniques for teaching controversial topics and leading difficult discussions. Each participant will work on a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project connected to the FLC topic that aims to improve teaching and/or student outcomes. Project examples include assignment creation, a journal article, book proposal, etc. Participants are asked to identify a focus course (e.g., interpersonal, intercultural, family communication) and potential project when they apply.

The FLC Process: Once admitted, participants will receive a list of readings to complete in advance of the 2018 CSCA conference and a schedule of FLC activities. The FLC will formally begin during the pre-conference on Wednesday, April 4. Several sessions will be scheduled during the conference, with a final face-to-face session on Saturday, April 7. Conference planners will work to ensure that these sessions do not overlap with other obligations, however, participants are encouraged to not over commit themselves during the 2018 conference.

During the sessions, participants will engage the readings, discuss challenges with others, and formalize their SoTL projects. The FLC will continue informally throughout the year (probably through web meetings) as participants work on their projects. FLC participants will present their project outcomes at the 2019 CSCA conference.

FLC Projects: The SoTL projects can come in a number of forms and be tied to any focus course or project that involves engaging controversial topics (e.g., power, race, heterosexism, gender, sex, divorce). Examples of projects include: developing and implementing a new class activity, creating and assessing a new assignment, assessing learning on a current assignment or activity, developing or redesigning a course, and others.

Who can Apply: We welcome applications from communication academicians at all levels: administrators, senior faculty, junior faculty, adjunct/temporary faculty, and graduate students.

How to Apply: To participate in the FLC, submit a brief essay (700 words maximum) in which you a) identify your focus course, b) describe the controversial topic(s) you discuss in the course, c) describe the challenges you have faced in leading the discussion(s), and d) what you plan to accomplish in your SoTL project. Be as specific as possible.

Submit the essay to Stephanie Rollie Rodriguez at by October 9, 2017.

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