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A Crash Course in Learning Communities for the Political Scientist
Unformatted Document Text:  12 carefully. Attempt to maintain some continuity, while rotating new faculty members in from time to time. Consider how you might include both part-time and full-time faculty, as well as faculty members of different ranks. Develop contingency plans for low or high enrollment figures, especially as it pertains to faculty teaching loads. Be cognizant of the demands placed on untenured faculty who may be very dynamic in the classroom, but depending on research requirements for tenure, might be best used in another capacity. Diversity among the faculty is also useful for presenting different perspectives and role modeling. Third, examine how learning communities can fit in with initiatives already underway on campus. You may be able to take advantage of a writing-across-the-curriculum or service learning program already in place on your campus, as they are fairly common programs. It may be useful both pedagogically and strategically if some of your faculty members are connected to other initiatives, so that your learning community is seen as complementary and not competing. Fourth, decide which administrative and professional staff personnel should be involved in implementing and maintaining the learning community. It is crucial that “ownership” of a learning community becomes widely shared among the administrators and faculty. Your learning community will require an administrative home if it is to persist over the long term. A committed administrator will know the correct channels and procedures to follow in order to accomplish the necessary tasks to maintain the learning community. It is also important to maintain a good working relationship with the campus registrar’s office, who will figure out the details of registering students for your courses. You will also need adequate classroom space for the learning community model you are using. In general, do your best to build allies across campus—it makes most things much easier to accomplish.

Authors: Thies, Cameron.
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carefully. Attempt to maintain some continuity, while rotating new faculty members in from
time to time. Consider how you might include both part-time and full-time faculty, as well as
faculty members of different ranks. Develop contingency plans for low or high enrollment
figures, especially as it pertains to faculty teaching loads. Be cognizant of the demands placed
on untenured faculty who may be very dynamic in the classroom, but depending on research
requirements for tenure, might be best used in another capacity. Diversity among the faculty is
also useful for presenting different perspectives and role modeling.
Third, examine how learning communities can fit in with initiatives already underway on
campus. You may be able to take advantage of a writing-across-the-curriculum or service
learning program already in place on your campus, as they are fairly common programs. It may
be useful both pedagogically and strategically if some of your faculty members are connected to
other initiatives, so that your learning community is seen as complementary and not competing.
Fourth, decide which administrative and professional staff personnel should be involved
in implementing and maintaining the learning community. It is crucial that “ownership” of a
learning community becomes widely shared among the administrators and faculty. Your
learning community will require an administrative home if it is to persist over the long term. A
committed administrator will know the correct channels and procedures to follow in order to
accomplish the necessary tasks to maintain the learning community. It is also important to
maintain a good working relationship with the campus registrar’s office, who will figure out the
details of registering students for your courses. You will also need adequate classroom space for
the learning community model you are using. In general, do your best to build allies across
campus—it makes most things much easier to accomplish.


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