Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are groups of six to ten faculty who meet regularly to work together in an active, collaborative program for an extended period of time, to create connections and solve problems. Faculty Learning Communities were designed and developed by Milton Cox at Miami University of Ohio. He has identified 10 essential elements of an FLC that include: safety and trust, openness, respect, responsiveness, collaboration, relevance, challenge, enjoyment, esprit de corps and empowerment. These qualities require building a sense of community among the participants by meeting regularly for both accomplishing the work of the FLC and for building social connections between members.

Learning Innovation supported the following Faculty Learning Communities during the 2022-23 academic year:

Teaching for Sustainability in French

Facilitators: Laura Florand and Sandra Valnes Quammen


  • Natacha Boum-Biyong, Lecturing Fellow of Romance Studies
  • Germain Choffart, Lecturing Fellow of Romance Studies
  • Emeline Diolot-Bobalik, Instructor of Romance Studies
  • Laura Florand, Senior Lecturer of Romance Studies
  • Christelle Gonthier, Lecturing Fellow of Romance Studies
  • Emma Howell, Instructor of Romance Studies
  • Karine Provot, Lecturing Fellow of Romance Studies
  • Sandra Valnes Quammen, Senior Lecturer of Romance Studies

Given the global nature of both climate change’s impact on people and the planet and of climate solutions, foreign languages and cultures classes must take up the Office of Sustainability’s call to “include core concepts of sustainability” into their curricula (Duke Office of Sustainability). Our program-wide work in this yearlong Community initiative includes:

  • identifying and engaging with relevant research related to content-based language instruction, language learning and social/environmental justice, and language and sustainability competencies.
  • meeting regularly as a foreign language program working group to discuss and explore the integration of this work in our own instructional context.
  • using the knowledge gained in this working group to articulate curricular priorities and design curricular modules for piloting in our 100-300 level courses that both center topics related to environmental justice/sustainability conceived broadly and target level-appropriate language acquisition goals.

Inclusive Teaching Learning Community

Facilitators: Leslie Digby and Elaine Gomez Guevara


  • Mayowa Adegboyega, Postdoctoral Associate
  • Madelyn Crowell, Postdoctoral Associate
  • Leslie Digby, Associate Professor of the Practice of Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Joseph Feldblum, Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Elaine Gomez Guevara, Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Sarah Little, Postdoctoral Associate
  • Katherine McVay, Research Assistant in Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Keegan Selig, Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology 

We built a community of faculty and instructors interested in inclusive teaching. Using recently published books as a framework, we have created a supportive setting where faculty share ideas and experiences, talk through new approaches and get feedback on current teaching issues. As a community, our goals are to:

  • provide a supportive community for discussion current issues in our classrooms.
  • review the most recent literature on inclusive teaching. 
  • provide a structure for encouraging inclusive teaching specifically – with the community there to encourage buy-in and follow-through on small projects that can make large changes in our teaching.
  • share best practices in inclusive teaching with both our faculty and the wider teaching community.

Identifying Impactful Research-Based Teaching Methods and Forging Connections Across Departments Teaching Large Introductory Natural Science Courses

Facilitator: Jim Parise


  • Tori Akin, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Mathematics
  • Brandon Fain, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Computer Science
  • Elaine Guevara, Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Bridgette Hard, Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Zoë Isabella, Instructor in the Department of Biology
  • Yue Jiang, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Statistical Science
  • Jim Parise, Associate Professor of the Practice of Chemistry
  • Arya Roy, Lecturer of Physics

This multidisciplinary cohort meets frequently to:

  • share methods of successful implementations of modern, evidence-based teaching methods in large lecture courses, including methods that specifically encourage retention of underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines.
  • identify shared challenges in the offering of large courses and collaborate on methods to improve efficiency and optimize faculty time towards teaching efforts rather than on course administration. 
  • compare high-level learning objectives; identify cross-cutting interdepartmental themes with the goal of creating links between individual courses, specifically those that can show how science responds to modern challenges.

Dialogue Through Difference in the Classroom

Facilitators: David Landes and Rhiannon Scharnhorst


  • Blair Cadden, Instructor of Theater Studies
  • Rene Caputo, Instructor and ESL Specialist of Thompson Writing Program
  • David Landes, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Thompson Writing Program
  • Johann R. Montozzi-Wood, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Theater Studies
  • Marcia Rego, Associate Professor of the Practice of Thompson Writing Program
  • Rhiannon Scharnhorst, Lecturer of Thompson Writing Program

Our FLC brings together Duke faculty—especially new faculty—across disciplinary lines to share resources on learning and apply strategies to foster generative dialogue in the classroom. We will explore dialogue in the contexts of students’ experiences, social polarization, and faculty’s desire for training in creating productive dialogue. We will dive beyond the procedures for discussion and will go deeper into its complexities, such as building trust, safe spaces, and genuine collective process. It is often these subtle complexities that determine the value and uses of a dialogue as well as its ability to remedy disperate classroom issues that are currently unaddressed. As a critical pedagogical practice that attempts to create sustainable spaces for dynamic and active group learning, the FLC itself will also give faculty the practice and modeling to be a laboratory for practicing and modeling the dialogic practices we uncover.

Learning Innovation’s Carry the Innovation Forward program funded four Faculty Learning Communities in 2021-22: 

Transformative Learning at Duke 

Facilitators: Joan Clifford (Romance Studies), Liliana Paredes (Romance Studies) and Cori Crane (Germanic Languages and Literature)

Goals of the group include thinking about transformative learning across the disciplines, understanding the student experience and how to increase the participation of students from diverse backgrounds. The group will host speakers and faculty discussions and share information about transformative learning principles

Assessing and Creating Classroom Climates that Support Learning through Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging  

Facilitators: Barb Hooper and Lindy Norman (Physical Therapy)

Creating and assessing classroom climates that support learning through diversity, inclusion and belonging, and including the entire faculty and academic support staff for their new doctoral program.

CDS Anti-Racism Faculty Learning Community 

Facilitators: Christopher Sims and Michael Betts (Center for Documentary Studies)

This FLC includes structured learning activities about anti-racism in teaching documentary studies for their full-time and core adjunct faculty, supported by an expert consultant. 

Inclusive Assessment for Quantitative Disciplines 

Facilitators: Stacy Tantum (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Sophia Santillan (​​Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science)

Participants from Mathematics, Statistical Sciences and Engineering are investigating ways to design and structure assessments to be more inclusive. They are discussing ideas in one semester, and plan to implement new assessments or new assessment structures in the following semester and discuss the results.