Faculty interest groups and reading circles
Facilitated spaces for faculty and teaching staff to learn with colleagues on topics or readings related to teaching and learning.
About faculty interest groups
Faculty interest groups are faculty groups that meet regularly, usually once a month, to learn together. In contrast to a working group, these are spaces primarily focused on professional development, mobilizing expertise, multi-disciplinary knowledge sharing or creation, mutual support, and peer validation (Mihai, 2022; Wenger et al., 2002).
Our faculty interest groups attempt to follow the good design practices from Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002) and Wright & Lambert (n.d.):
- Bring participants together regularly.
- Ensure that the group can evolve and shift in focus.
- Encourage the introduction and discussion of new perspectives that come or are brought in from outside.
- Accept different levels of participation: core members, observers, occasionally active members, and so on.
- Encourage individual or group activities, public or private.
- Explicitly identify and value contributions.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning is available to support the initiation and facilitation of faculty interest groups on topics related to teaching and learning. Unless the group is in a team-forming stage, you can join any time—kindly contact us.
About the reading circles
The reading circles invite faculty and teaching staff to explore readings that deepen our understanding of a theme, foster discussion, and explore related teaching and learning practices.
The objectives are to:
- Support instructors in their exploration of a topic
- Provide an opportunity to reflect upon existing practices from a new perspective or to learn about new teaching and learning practices
How it works
What might happen during faculty interest group meetings?
There is no single, correct approach to faculty interest group meetings and it will depend upon the interests and needs of the members. Some possibilities include:
- Structured storytelling around specific challenges / topics
- Member spotlight: a member presents their practice or challenge to gather feedback and learn together.
- Guided discussion around members-selected materials (video/readings)
- Inviting a guest speaker
- Sharing resources and developing a collective/curated knowledge bank
Starting a new faculty interest group
If you would like to start a faculty interest group on a topic related to teaching and learning, kindly contact us to set up a meeting. The CTL will be pleased to help find interested members and facilitate the group’s success.
What to expect during reading circles?
Participants register for a reading circle session to receive the reading materials and, if online, a link to the Zoom event. Depending on the format, participants may receive a list of reflection questions before each session.
During each session, a facilitator leads a discussion based on the selected article or book chapter. The facilitator might guide participants through reflection or even practicing an method discussed in the article to provide them with a first-hand experience.
Past reading circles
Following are a selection of past reading circle sessions hosted by the CTL.
Mihai, A. (2022). Growing together: What's the key to a successful learning community? The Educationalist. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
Wenger, E., McDermott, R. A., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Harvard business press.
Wright, L., & Lambert, K. (n.d.). Working Group Guide. BCcampus. Retrieved December 22, 2022.