Learning Communities & Book Groups



Building Antiracist White Educators (BARWE)

Dates: Wednesdays (Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 15, April 19)
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Facilitator: Donna Wake

With new content offered each semester, BARWE is a model that centers the thought that white educators must participate in the dismantling of white supremacy in school spaces. This work is not solely the responsibility of Black, Brown, and Indigenous educators. White teachers must engage in collective action to consistently study and reflect on our identity and place within systems and communities. Through this work, we can participate in ongoing work of building anti-racist systems that support the social, emotional, and academic well-being of our students and of our colleagues. This reading and inquiry series meets once a month and centers content for learning, introspection, and action. Register online!


Community Cafe: Teaching & Learning in STEM

Dates: Wednesdays (Feb. 8 & 22, March 8 & 29, April 12 & 26)
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: Christian Cafeteria Executive Dining Room
Facilitator: Kyle Hurley

STEM disciplines face unique challenges in the fields of teaching and learning. This year-long learning community will serve as a meeting place for anyone interested in improving, exploring, and growing as professionals. We will meet twice a month for lunch and discussion on a variety of topics from best practices, to technology, to interdisciplinary and interdepartmental approaches for teaching and beyond! Register online!


Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Community of Practice

Dates: Wednesdays (Jan. 25, Feb. 8 & 22, March 8, April 5 & 19)
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Zoom
Facilitator: Marsha Massey

National efforts to improve student learning outcomes inspire investigation of teaching and learning methods that will increase student success. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) community is currently investigating the relationship between high-impact practices (e.g., internships, student research, etc.) and career confidence. We invite new participants to collaborate in research that will address this and other relevant questions. Register online!



New Faculty Teaching Academy (NFTA)

Dates: Mondays (Jan. 23, Feb. 6 & 20, March 6 & 27, April 10 & 24)
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitators: Stacy Lom and Zach Smith

This community for first- and second-year faculty meets twice a month, in-person, throughout the academic year to provide new faculty with a strong foundation in research-based strategies for teaching and learning, key insights into UCA-specific resources and student populations, and a supportive environment for discussing and responding to the emergent needs of new faculty. Participants in the program will have opportunities to workshop inclusive syllabi and effective assessments, and to participate in peer teaching observations valuable in the process of applying for tenure and/or promotion. NFTA provides a laboratory of ideas and supportive feedback for any new faculty looking to take their teaching to the next level. Register online!


Early Career Coaching Circle (ECCC)

Dates: Tuesdays (Jan. 24, Feb. 7 & 21, March 14 & 28, April 11 & 25)
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Facilitators: Debra Burris, Amy Hawkins, Sharon Mason, Ashley Phillips, Candice Thomas

This is a learning community with a semi-structured discussion format for faculty in their second year through their fifth year. This group will meet twice a month throughout the academic year to support each other in the development of individualized plans to set and achieve goals in the areas of teaching, scholarship & creative activity, and service. 

What are the goals of an early career coaching circle?

To facilitate a semi-structured process wherein early career faculty will:

  • Create a multi-year vision to achieve tenure and/or promotion in a proactive, lower-stress manner.
  • Foster a commitment to personal wellness and work-life balance.
  • Determine key areas of growth in teaching, scholarship & creative activity, and service to focus on in the next few years of their careers.
  • Establish the action steps and resources needed to grow in the areas they identify in the next six months to one year.
  • Navigate the expectations and political dynamics of individual departments and colleges and proactively network to establish key relationships on campus.
  • Identify what constitutes evidence of effective teaching, scholarship & creative activity, and service and translate that evidence into a compelling narrative.
  • Develop an overall theme/narrative for tenure and/or promotion packet and show alignment between teaching, scholarship & creative activity, and service.

Register online!


Mid-Career Coaching Circle (MCCC)

MCCCs are typically offered for faculty in their sixth year and beyond at UCA. Circles are organized by topic with a semi-structured discussion format and meet twice per month throughout the academic year to develop individualized plans to set and achieve goals in the selected topic area.


Applying for Full Professor

Dates: Mondays (Jan. 23, Feb. 13 & 27, March 13 & 27, April 10 & 24)
Time: 2:00 p.m
Location: Zoom
Facilitators: Tammy Benson and Wendy Lucas

Want to apply for full professor but the thought of writing your narrative makes your eye twitch from memories of the last time? No other full professors in your department to go to for help? Join our coaching circle to gain support, encouragement, and to get you on track to apply for full in September 2023. This group is focused on narratives and application materials, not research productivity. Register online!


Coaching Students and Ourselves for Better Executive Functioning

Dates: Wednesdays (Jan. 18, Feb. 1 & 15, March 1, 15 & 29, April 12)
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitator: Amy Hawkins

This is a group for faculty who wish to provide coaching for students without burning out themselves. We will focus on dynamic coaching for self and others that offers meaningful support as well as how to demonstrate care for students that honors healthy boundaries and a trauma-informed perspective of us all. Register online!


Teaching First-Year Students

Dates: Mondays (Jan. 23, Feb. 13 & 27, March 13 & 27, April 10 & 24)
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitator: Amy Baldwin

For faculty who teach first-year undergraduate students and want to expand their understanding of this population and design strategies for improving first-year students’ engagement and success. Through reflection questions and discussion topics, faculty will engage in conversations that can help them achieve their goals. The initial meeting will be on Zoom, and we will determine together which meetings will be in person and which will be on Zoom. Register online!




The College Administrator’s Survival Guide Book Group

Dates: Fridays (Jan. 20; Feb. 3, 10 & 17; March 3, 10 & 31; April 7)
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitators: Amy Hawkins and Nancy Reese 

Join us for a book group discussion of The College Administrator’s Survival Guide.  Whether you’re a seasoned administrator or an aspiring one, C. K. Gunsalus’ book provides wise and essential advice for administrators and those who want better interactions with their colleagues.  From boundary setting, to negotiating, to dealing with troublesome colleagues, we promise you will learn something valuable during this book discussion. Register online!


Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples Book Group

Dates: Thursdays (Feb. 2, March 2 & 30, April 20)
Time: x-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.)
Location: Zoom
Facilitators: Deanna Kay Rice and Donna Wake

 “To the colonized, the ways in which academic research has been implemented in the throes of imperialism remains a painful memory. This essential volume [written by Linda Tuhiwai Smith] explores the ways imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge, and argues that the decolonization of research methods will help reclaim control over indigenous ways of knowing and being” (from the book cover). We hope you will join us to explore the colonized past as we seek insights to its effect on the work we do today as 21st century scholars. Register online!


Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It Book Group

Dates: Wednesdays (March 8 & 15, April 5, 12 & 26)
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Facilitators: Susan Perry, Erin Shaw, and Amy Thompson

“Why is it so hard to get students to pay attention? Conventional wisdom blames iPhones, insisting that access to technology has ruined students’ ability to focus. The logical response is to ban electronics in class. But acclaimed educator James M. Lang argues that this solution obscures a deeper problem: how we teach is often at odds with how students learn. Classrooms are designed to force students into long periods of intense focus, but emerging science reveals that the brain is wired for distraction. We learn best when able to actively seek and synthesize new information.

In Distracted, Lang rethinks the practice of teaching, revealing how educators can structure their classrooms less as distraction-free zones and more as environments where they can actively cultivate their students’ attention.

Brimming with ideas and grounded in new research, Distracted offers an innovative plan for the most important lesson of all: how to learn.” (from Amazon’s description) Register online!


The Global Learning and Internationalization Reading Group

Dates: Thursdays (Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 30, April 27)
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitators: Dr. Riva Brown and Dr. Leah Horton

This group seeks to bring together faculty and staff with interests in learning and adapting pedagogy to enhance global learning and internationalization within our programs and curricula. Through an emphasis on relationship building, our reader Learner Relationships in Global Higher Education: A Critical Pedagogy for a Multicultural World will offer practical insight based on research to help us help our students navigate an increasingly interconnected world in which, paradoxically, individual isolation is on the rise. Register online!


Inclusive Teaching Discussion Group

Dates: Mondays ( Jan. 23 & 30, Feb. 13 & 27, March 13, April 3 & 17)
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitator: Kari Naylor

Join us this spring to discover ways to make your classroom and teaching practice more inclusive. The Inclusive Teaching Guide is an evidence-based teaching guide published by CBE-Life Science Education and generally designed for use by STEM faculty but all will benefit. Please join us as we work through five specific practices, including developing self-awareness and empathy, classroom climate, pedagogical choices, and leveraging networks to create more welcoming environments for all of our students. We will read and discuss 1-2 evidence-based education publications each week, spending approximately 2 weeks on each practice.  Register online!


Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual  Women’s Book Group

Dates: Thursdays ( Feb. 2 & 16, March 2 & 16, April 6 & 20)
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitator: Wendy Lucas and Amber Wilson

“Luvvie Ajayi Jones is known for her trademark wit, warmth, and perpetual truth-telling. But even she’s been challenged by the enemy of progress known as fear. She was once afraid to call herself a writer, and nearly skipped out on doing a TED talk that changed her life because of imposter syndrome. As she shares in Professional Troublemaker, she’s not alone.

We’re all afraid. We’re afraid of asking for what we want because we’re afraid of hearing no. We’re afraid of being different, of being too much or not enough. We’re afraid of leaving behind the known for the unknown. But in order to do the things that will truly, meaningfully change our lives, we have to become professional troublemakers: people who are committed to not letting fear talk them out of the things they need to do or say to live free…. With humor and honesty, and guided by the influence of her professional troublemaking Nigerian grandmother, Funmilayo Faloyin, Luvvie walks us through what we must get right within ourselves before we can do the things that scare us; how to use our voice for a greater good; and how to put movement to the voice we’ve been silencing–because truth-telling is a muscle.” (from Amazon description)  Register online!


Unraveling Faculty Burnout Book Group

Dates: Mondays (Jan. 23 & 30; Feb. 6, 13, 27;  March 13;  April 3 & 10)
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: TORW 319
Facilitator: Katherine Conley

Burnout is characterized by “energy depletion” or “overwhelming exhaustion,” “feelings of cynicism and detachment,” and “a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment” (Pope-Ruark 7-8). The culture and structure of higher education create the prime conditions for faculty burnout, especially for women, people of color, and people of other marginalized and minority identities. 

It can feel both professionally and personally risky to discuss the realities of burnout, which were exacerbated for many of us by the pandemic. Rebecca Pope-Ruark’s book Unraveling Faculty Burnout grew out of her own personal experience with crisis-level burnout, and she offers a frank and direct assessment of the causes and roots of faculty burnout. But the good news is that we’ll also learn about practical, concrete, and research-based steps we can take towards revitalization. Register online!



Teaching by Design Mini-Conferences Series

While the Teaching by Design mini-conference is offered as a series, you may register for each event individually and choose the sessions that work for your schedule. Please note each lunch is capped at 40 participants and then a waiting list will be started. Explore the Teaching by Design Mini-Conference Series webpage for detailed events.