Intro -- Chris Schilling LO27178

From: Christopher Schilling (
Date: 08/27/01


I recently started a new job as a professor of engineering at Saginaw
Valley State University in Michigan. I came from Iowa State University
where, as a professor, I participated in exciting learning communities.

I'm in a new organization that does not yet have a system of learning
communities. The culture here is perfect for establishing learning
communities. Unlike well-established research-one universities, this
place is only 25 years old, and "the old timers" built this place from
scratch. As a result, they created an institutional culture that fosters
a "can do" attitude. We are currently growing by leaps and bounds, and
the school has a strong community service connection with surrounding
counties. Unlike my old institution, the new place has another thing going
for it: teaching students is a primary value instead of raising money
through sports or sponsored research. I can say that Iowa State's primary
value of raising money prevented growth of learning communities at Iowa
State....faculty simply werent rewarded for it......unless it brought in
big bucks.

The question I have for the group is this: where does one start in
transforming a teaching university into a place where learning communities
will thrive? I'm reading about different learning community models and am
only a novice. At the present time, I'm in what I'd call a learning
community of new-hires.....a group of 15 faculty who participated in a
week long writing / teaching workshop. The writing workshop focused on
active learning but was only a one-time-only affair.
 Aside from wanting to join together on a regular basis for pizza parties,
this enthusiastic group wants to continue some sort of regular
meeting....where teaching techniques are demonstrated.

I would like to ask the esteemed members of this listserve for someadvice
on how to "water this seed" so to to cultivate growth of
sustainable learning communities at this school.


Chris Schilling


"Christopher Schilling" <>

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