The learning community format requires faculty members to make pedagogical changes, explore alternative forms of assessment, and incorporate readings, activities, and discussions that will help students understand the themes they are exploring. BSU faculty members typically carry heavy course loads and may feel that they do not have enough support and time to make the required changes. How does Scholar's Studio address this issue?
We recognize the commitment and effort that faculty members invest to build quality learning communities. To ease their transition and support faculty growth, we offer a yearly planning retreat, bi-weekly meetings throughout the semester, and individual consultations as needed.
Scholar's Studio helps faculty build their tenure/promotion portfolio by offering opportunities to participate in research and formally acknowledging faculty with a certificate of service.
Do learning communities change course curricula, a process that must be vetted by the curriculum committee?
The simple answer is no. Teaching in learning communities requires that faculty members make pedagogical changes; however, "what" they teach remains the same. Learning communities add context to the curriculum, offer students opportunities to experience the phenomena and theories they are studying, and help them make connections across disciplines.
Students enrolled in learning communities are required to register for all classes in the community. To be most effective, these courses will need to be blocked. How will Scholar's Studio handle the course scheduling and registration process?
Scholar's Studio staff hope to work with the Registrar to develop a "one click" course registration process through People Soft. This will eliminate potential confusion that registering for individual sections may cause. Blocked scheduling may ultimately benefit both faculty and students. It will allow faculty more flexibility and provide dedicated time for field experiences and other co-curricular activities. The impact of block scheduling will be relegated to Scholar's Studio learning communities. Scholar's Studio staff will work closely with Chairs to determine the best schedules.