Learning Communities

What is a Faculty Learning Community (FLC)?

A faculty learning community (FLC) is a peer-led group of faculty members with the goal to build community, engage in scholarly practice, and further develop the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

If you’re interested in beginning a new FLC, contact CETL!  We’re happy to help!

What is a Community of Practice (CoP)?

A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals. They often share best practices and create new knowledge to advance their professional practice.

If you’d like to start a CoP, contact CETL with your idea!

NEW Learning Community Opportunities

NEW: Generative AI PLC

As the AI PLC completes their survey research and manuscript, a new Generative AI PLC is forming. This new professional learning community is scheduled to launch Fall 2024. Those interested in joining this group should complete the PLC Interest Form. We will reach out to all those interested in August 2024.

Current Learning Communities

PLC: Artificial Intelligence

The AI Professional Learning Community (PLC) launched in the Spring of 2023. Participants across the campus–including faculty, staff, and administrators–joined this PLC. This AI PLC disseminated a campus wide AI survey in Fall 2023, shared their will research results in a CETL session entitled “Spring into the future: Unveiling WesternU’s generative AI insights” in April 2024. Their research poster was accepted as an ePoster session at AMEE 2024 and the group is finishing up their manuscript for publication.

Past Faculty Learning Communities

Green sign in desert that reads: Never Give Up
“Grit, in a word, is stamina. But it’s not just stamina in your effort. It’s also stamina in your direction, stamina in your interests. If you are working on different things but all of them very hard, you’re not really going to get anywhere. You’ll never become an expert.”  – Angela Duckworth

FLC: Grit and the Growth Mindset

Angela Duckworth defines grit as the power of passion and perseverance for long term goals, be they academic, professional, or personal (Duckworth, 2016). Grit entails “working strenuously toward challenges and maintaining effort and interest over years despite failures and adversity and plateaus in progress“ (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007, p. 1087). Grit is a character trait many believe should be cultivated in students to enhance their academic perseverance and success.

It is not intelligence that makes people excel in a given area but rather effort and practice. The new neural networks that form as a result of hard work and effort are what make us smarter, not our innate abilities. Growth mindset learners believe that new abilities can be developed through practice. Fixed mindset learners believe that intelligence is fixed and avoid challenges for fear of failure (Dweck, 2016). Research suggests that by fostering a growth mindset in our students, we can achieve better learning outcomes.

The desire to bolster grit and the growth mindset has been identified across the Pomona and Lebanon campuses. In response to this, we are launching a Grit and the Growth Mindset FLC for the 2019-20 Academic Year. This FLC will aim to identify and pilot teaching and learning strategies that promote grit and the growth mindset among WesternU students and measure the impact of these upon student learning. Findings emerging from this process will be disseminated to the campus and educational research communities.


Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.

Duckworth, A., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101.

Dweck, C.S. (2016) Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Socratic Sips: AI Afternoon Tea

Socratic Sips was a drop in meeting of AI enthusiasts.  Open to anyone to immerse in a warm and welcoming environment, where curiosity knows no bounds, and the quest for knowledge is coupled with the pleasure of an indulgent afternoon tea. Meeting ran through Fall 2023.