Faculty Learning Communities

A faculty learning community (FLC) meets regularly to explore a teaching topic that interests them.  This interdisciplinary group researches the topic, reads together, and supports each other in making positive changes in the classroom.  Since Fall 2013, members of the VU faculty have been involved in multiple FLCs each year.


Cynthia Rutz, PhD Director of Faculty Development 219.464.5960 Location: Christopher Center, 400a

Fall 2022

Unconventional Grading Methods

Facilitated by Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo (Math & Statistics) and Jenna VanSickle (Lilly Fellows Program)

There is a lot of evidence that shows that conventional grading is not conducive for learning. Students often only care about the number of points they get, and not about the feedback they receive. The competitive nature of point collection also increases honor code violations. There is a growing literature of non-traditional assessment methods, such as contract based grading, specs grading, mastery based grading, unessay, ungrading, etc. In this FLC we will learn about different models and will work on implementing elements of these techniques in our Spring courses.

NOTE: We have recently received an NSF grant. As part of this grant we proposed an FLC in each of three years. There is a small stipend associated with faculty participation.

Teaching to your Strengths

Facilitated by: Sara Gundersen (Economics) and Lori Miltenberger (Grad School & Continuing Education)

When we structure our classes around things we are good at, we believe the classes go much smoother.  For example, someone might excel at leading impromptu class discussions, so a more flexible syllabus would work well for them.  Whereas someone else may be a master at creating interesting and detailed assignments, so she thrives on having a set syllabus.  

We will spend the first third of the FLC exploring our strengths, perhaps by interviewing others or completing the CliftonStrengths Assessment.  For the middle third we will brainstorm how we might apply our strengths to the classroom. Finally, in the last third we will work to match our syllabi to our strengths.