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Scholarly Learning Communities

M. I. King Library, detail shot of one of the outdoor lightsA scholarly learning community (SLC) is a multi-disciplinary group of faculty, graduate students and/or professional staff consisting of eight to twelve members engaged in an active, collaborative, year-long program typically focused on enhancing teaching and learning. The organization and activities of SLCs create an environment that allows for and encourages learning, development, a trans-disciplinary approach to problem solving, and community building. Learning communities have also proven to be very effective in supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Some characteristics of a typical SLC

  • Topic-based or cohort-based
  • Led and operated by members of the community (to include meeting times, agenda, activities, goals)
  • Facilitated by educational development consultants from CELT
  • Consists of between 8 and 12 members
  • Meets for one year or more
  • Holds monthly meetings
  • May apply for a modest budget to be used by individual members or the community as a whole to spend on activities and materials to support the work of the SLC (e.g., books, speakers, retreats, social gatherings, conferences, course design, scholarship of teaching and learning projects)
  • Produces some product(s) or result(s) either as individuals or as a community that is shared with the university community and, perhaps, a wider audience

Hundreds of learning communities exist on many campuses and have proven to be a successful means for university members to address academic issues. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio has been a leader in this area. Examples of learning communities at other campuses can be seen at http://www.units.muohio.edu/flc/consortium/participating.php.

Examples of recent UK SLCs are Service Learning, First Generation Students, and Sustainability

For more information or to suggest a learning community at UK, contact Bill Burke, Associate Director, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (burke@uky.edu).