Faculty Learning Communities and Affinity Groups at NC State
What are Faculty Learning Communities?
Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are peer-led groups of faculty, staff, and graduate students who engage in active, collaborative, long-term programs structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection around a topic of mutual interest. They stand as vibrant spaces of academic growth and professional development, fostering an environment where educators transcend the confines of their classrooms to engage in collaborative and reflective exploration. These communities are more than mere forums; they encourage the exchange of ideas, promote cross-disciplinary interactions, and cultivate a culture of continuous learning. By gathering diverse minds and perspectives, FLCs enable faculty members to reinvigorate their pedagogical approaches and respond adeptly to the evolving educational landscape. Moreover, FLCs kindle a sense of belonging, reducing the professional isolation often endemic to academia.
During the past year, we have intentionally worked on establishing some FLCs at NC State, covering subjects such as Qualitative Research, planning for retirement, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). If you are interested in joining any of these vibrant communities, or would like support organizing a new learning community, please contact us at email@example.com.
What are Affinity Groups?
An Affinity Group is a group of faculty and staff linked by a common purpose, ideology, or interest. Affinity Groups play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed. Faculty affinity groups foster a sense of belonging and inclusion within the academic landscape, enriching the world of higher education with diverse voices and perspectives. These groups provide a meeting space where faculty members, often from historically marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds, can gather to share their unique experiences, navigate shared challenges, and celebrate their achievements in a supportive and empathetic environment. Beyond mere social interactions, affinity groups offer a platform for critical dialogue and collaborative reflection on issues such as equity, diversity, and inclusion, leading to more culturally responsive pedagogies and a broader understanding of the varied needs of students. By cultivating spaces that validate personal and professional identities, faculty affinity groups empower their members to contribute authentically to their institutions while fostering a broader cultural competence that benefits the entire campus community.
During the past year, we have intentionally worked on establishing some Faculty Affinity Group Meetings at NC State, starting with our Latinx, African American, and Asian Pacific communities. If you are interested in joining any of these meetings, or would like support organizing a new faculty affinity group, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.