What is a Community of Practice?
Communities of Practice are informal groups exploring common teaching projects or questions. A group’s focus can be topic-driven (e.g writing strategies, team-based learning, online assessment) or a shared teaching experience (e.g. FSEM instructors, post-tenure SoTL researchers, STEM instruction).
Group members may represent a variety of departments, colleges, and divisions–the more interdisciplinary, the better! Communities of Practice must have a minimum of four members. Furthermore, we recommend a maximum of twelve total members to ensure equitable participation.
Communities of Practice may form for one semester or an entire academic year. Typically, groups meet 3-5 times each semester. The Center for Teaching serves as ‘home base’ for the Communities of Practice. However, groups may use flexible meeting arrangements, as needed.
Who leads a Community of Practice?
Each Community of Practice is led by a facilitator. Facilitators may be faculty or staff, including members from the Center for Teaching. Facilitator responsibilities include:
- working with Center for Teaching staff to reserve meeting space and secure materials;
- setting each meeting agenda with input from group members;
- facilitating discussions and feedback;
- writing a one-page summary report at the end of each semester for the Center for Teaching.
How do I create or recommend a Community of Practice?
Community of Practice proposals can be submitted through the 10th week of the semester prior to when the group will begin. In your application, you will describe:
- the group’s focus topic or question
- possible activities or projects the group can undertake
- connections to UMW mission and/or strategic plan
How are Communities of Practice supported by the Center for Teaching?
A limited number of Communities of Practice can be supported each semester. The Center for Teaching will provide:
- scheduling for physical or virtual meeting space
- a budget for materials and supplies
- facilitator training, as needed
Reach out to the Center for Teaching staff if you have questions about forming or leading a Community of Practice.