Creating a Community of Practice
Procedures and Guidance
Communities of practice are small groups of faculty sharing similar interests who meet periodically to collaborate, share resources, learn a new skill or gain other expertise, network, hold workshops and events and more. View a current list of our CoP’s here.
Building a Community of Practice
- Contact us: If you are interested in starting a faculty-led community of practice in an area of interest, please contact email@example.com to schedule an initial consultation meeting with a member of the CITLS staff to discuss your ideas.
- Establish a facilitator: This can be you or someone who will be willing to run the meetings by translating the CoP’s established purpose into action plans, managing the members by making sure they are focused on accomplishing their designated tasks, communicate with the CITLS team by providing summaries and updates when needed, and enhance and support the CoP’s agenda. It may be beneficial to have a co-facilitator, but one lead facilitator is necessary.
- Gather faculty members: When finding the right faculty members, consider the purpose of your CoP and it’s needs. We can also help you gather faculty who have similar interests and can contribute to the group.
- Create your CoP description and objectives: With our help, you will come up with a description for your specific CoP as well as several objectives you plan to get out of your meetings. These should be attainable goals that you are able to accomplish within your first year as a CoP group.
Schedule the Meeting Times
Schedule meetings by contacting CITLS as early as possible to ensure the best availability of your group members. The Administrative Coordinator will work with the group to find meeting times that work for everyone to meet. Meetings can be held virtually or in the 101 Hogg Hall conference room (when the College moves to in-person instruction).
CoP Guidelines During the Semester or Year
- End of the Semester: Provide a short summary email report to CITLS . You will share the feedback you received from the meetings, goals for the next semester, and any other important updates/information that has been shared.
- End of the Year: Provide a detailed summary report to CITLS . This report contains the objectives and goals reached during the year, any research contributed, the pedagogical models used/created, and the benefits to student learning and challenges that your CoP encountered. Please also include the intention of whether the CoP will continue next year, why/why not. If you do plan to continue, please generally share what you hope to achieve in the future.
Funding CoP Initiatives
CoP’s can convene at little or no cost. However, if there is a particular resource or initiative for which your CoP would like to apply for funding, please consult with CITLS staff. There are curriculum and pedagogy funds that may be relevant for you to apply for through the Provost’s Office.
We recommend that you review the resources below to follow good practices in developing your community of practice. Please note that in the literature faculty learning communities is a common term applied to communities of practice consisting of instructors within higher education.
Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities (Cox)
Faculty Learning Communities: Making the Connection Virtually (Atwell et. al)