FIU - Education , Florida International University

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Faculty Learning Community

The College of Education awarded the Frost Professorship to Professor Erskine S. Dottin for the academic year 2009-2010, and he initiated the first Faculty Learning Community in the College of Education.


The initial members of the Learning Community were:

Farouk fine lovett Lucas miller obrien Aixa
Mohammed Farouk Joyce Fine Maria Lovett Teresa Lucas Lynne Miller George O'Brien Aixa Perez-Prado
Salmon Ritzi        
Angela Salmon Bill Ritzi Robert Vos        

The group held a preliminary session on March 5, 2010 that was facilitated by a leading expert on faculty learning communities Dr. Milton Cox. The Learning Community held other learning sessions on April 16, 2010, May 14, 2010 and May 21, 2010, and then shared its learning with members of the College of Education and the larger University community on August 28, 2010.

The community was selected by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education's Task Force on Teacher Education as Moral Community to share its ideas and work at the Association's annual meeting in San Diego in February 2011 and in Orlando in 2013. Below are feedback comments from participants in the 2013 session:


David Carroll,  Western Washington University
Congratulations Erskine and Colleagues -- It was an inspiration to see the results of this kind of sustained effort to develop a collective approach to practice, guided by inquiry protocols, and informed by habits of mind.

Deborah Schussler, Penn State University
Dear Erskine & the FIU PLC Collaborators,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful presentation at the Annual Meeting. I think we all felt encouraged by the sense of purpose you are bringing to cultivating dispositions and to doing so as a whole faculty. We appreciate your willingness to share your work, your processes, and yourselves.

Sharon Feinman-Nemser, Brandeis University
Dear Erskine,
Sorry I had to leave in the middle of your wonderful session. I especially appreciated the structure which allowed people to learn more about the variety of ways that your FLC enacts and cultivates mindful intelligence and inquiry. I always learn from you and it was a real treat to meet and learn from some of your colleagues. I can tell that you have nurtured a very special faculty learning community. It's a powerful model for us all.
Take care,

Delia Garcia, Dean, College of Education, Florida International University
Dear Erskine and the Faculty Learning Community,
Thank you all for an impressive presentation and a demonstration of the quality work you are all doing. Thank you Erskine, for your leadership in guiding and facilitating this exceptional process. Indeed, it was a true example of collaboration and sharing. I was very proud to attend the presentation. I also join Erskine in thanking the Team C participants.

It is interesting that among the books I bought today at the exhibits were: Teachers as Learners by Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Teaching as a Moral Practice edited by Peter Murrell Jr, Mary E. Diez, Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Deborah L. Schussler. I think I will enjoy my reading...

Warm regards,

The community members also participated actively in the Visible Thinking Conference held at FIU in March 2011. The community has also been asked by Youngstown State University to provide guidance in its development of teacher dispositions.

Since its inception, the community has broadened its membership with the addition to the community of Joy Blanchard, Charmaine DeFrancesco, Maria Fernandez, Daniela Foerch, Eva Frank, Flavia Iuspa, Helen Robbins, Patsy Self, Gwyn Senokossoff, Kathleen Sparrow, Maria Tsalikis, Lynn Yribarren and Meg Gardinier.

JoyBlanchard CharmaineDefrancesco MariaFernandez DanielaFoerch Eva Frank Flavia Iuspa Helen Robbins
Patsy Self GwynSenokossof Kathleen Sparrow MariaT LynnYribarren MegGardinier  

During fall, 2011, members of the FLC submitted a proposal for a new book titled "Structuring Learning Environments in Teacher Education to Elicit Democratic Habits of Mind [Dispositions]: Strategies and Approaches Used and Lessons Learned by Unit Faculty at Florida International University." University Press of America/Hamilton Books (Lanham, MD) has offered the group a contract to publish the book in 2012 and did so in 2013. Members of the community are excited about the inspiration and knowledge derived from one another in working together on this major project !

Book Cover

The FLC also invited Drs. Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick, leading experts on habits of mind, to conduct a 1-day workshop on February 25, 2012 at Florida International University. The workshop was attended by teachers from the local school districts, faculty members and students at FIU. Drs. Costa and Kallick have agreed to write the Foreword to the FLC’s book.

An FLC's goals is to learn with and from members of its community. As a result, members of the FLC have been sharing ideas about habits of mind with school faculty and administrators at Charles Wyche Elementary in Miami-Dade County School District.