Feb. 8, 2023

Faculty Learning Communities at UCalgary Nursing expand impact of teaching and learning

Connect and converse with your teaching colleagues at the Faculty of Nursing through these various faculty learning communities
Faculty Learning Communities

UCalgary Nursing’s Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) support scholarly teaching, scholarship of teaching and learning and discipline-based research in certain areas of interest and they enhance our collaborative culture at the faculty. At their root, connection and conversations are key.

“Strengthening relationships and personal connections with peers supports meaningful work in our faculty,” says associate professor (teaching) Shannon Parker, interim assistant dean of faculty development.

“The communities are paradoxically designed to be somewhat formal through the process of creating one and reporting learning/activities while simultaneously forming organically through groups of like-minded faculty coming together with organic membership.”

FLCs provide professional development and personal connections among our teaching faculty at UCalgary and Medicine Hat College to explore different issues around teaching and learning. They typically are groups of eight to 10 people who can be comprised of faculty and graduate students. There are currently four official FLCs and two informal groups that gather for these collegial conversations.

Unofficial FLCs include an associate professor (teaching) mentorship group facilitated by Dr. Cydnee Seneviratne and a publishing think thank by Twyla Ens that looks at the publishing process and honing writing skills. And Amber Porter, manager of TILT, is in the early days of establishing a learning technologies FLC with a small group of interested people. Learn more about our various official FLCs below.

Quality Clinical Teaching FLC
Facilitator: Shannon Parker

The aim of this FLC is to create and sustain a community where faculty can learn and grow together in promoting quality clinical teaching and learning. It emphasizes and communicates the importance of competent clinical teaching practices to support quality learning opportunities for our students. Shared experiences, educational opportunities and scholarly writing and discussion all help members develop their teaching practice and mentoring relationships foster connection.

Interprofessional Education (IPE) FLC
Facilitator: Amanda O’Rae

Members in the IPE FLC explore interprofessional education and best practices in IPE to overall benefit their professional development and student experience. O’Rae says the goal is to engage in scholarly dialogue around IPE so members can learn together and collaborate. It came together because a group of individuals at the faculty saw benefits of interprofessional collaboration in their clinical and education work. “We were happy to expand in 2022 to include more members from MHC (Medicine Hat college) whom have been invaluable members of the team.”

Key achievements from the group include surveying faculty on their perceptions and how prepared they felt around IPE and using that data for discussion at the faculty’s curriculum review day in April 2022.

Upcoming for 2023: Feb. 13 – Making Interprofessional Education (IPE) Work for Me, 12 –12:50 p.m.

Mental Health & Wellness FLC
Co-facilitators: Dr. Jacqueline Smith & Dr. Jennifer Jackson

The main focus of the mental health and wellness FLC is to support UCalgary Nursing as it prioritizes mental health and well-being for all where learning and work environments support mutual respect and personal wellness, resilience, and human flourishing within the pursuit of academic and professional excellence.

“So much of the Faculty of Nursing’s time is focused on research, teaching and community service directed at helping others,” says Smith. “Within that culture it's easy for faculty, staff and students to forget about their own health. Providing quality care is only possible if we first ensure our own well-being.”

Some achievements last year included a lunch and learn session in the fall titled How Can Compassion Led Trauma & Resiliency Informed Practices (TRIP) be Applied to Teaching & Clinical Practices? Smith says the group is now considering the possibility of translating TRIP into a micro-credential in the PEP program at UCalgary Nursing.

Upcoming for 2023: Involvement in the open house March 1 and promotion of the Mental Health & Wellness Clinic under the leadership of Sandy Strachan-Johansson, NP Clinic Lead

Facilitator: Dr. Kara Sealock

The purpose of the NCLEX FLC is to help faculty in creating and integrating NCLEX questions into theory and clinical practice and preparing students for success on NCLEX writing. The group is a place for educators to create, imagine, and discuss both theoretical and clinical use of NCLEX-style and Next Generational NCLEX (NGN) questions.

Sealock says she started the FLC at the end of 2020. “I noticed a gap where nursing educators did not have a safe space to discuss, develop, and strengthen NCLEX-style assessment strategies.” To that end, the goal of the NCLEX FLC is to support and mentor faculty at various stages of item-writing experience who teach across the curriculum. In a group mentorship model, faculty members from UCalgary and MHC meet once a month during fall and winter terms to share teaching and clinical experiences.

“With the introduction of NGN in April 2023, the focus of our group has changed from development of NCLEX-style questions to creating quality NGN case studies and stand-alone items in 2022,” says Sealock.

Upcoming in 2023: Sealock is currently planning on a faculty-wide NGN presentation about how to create case studies and level difficulty based on the learning needs of students, date TBD.

If you’re interested in starting or joining a faculty learning community, consult with Shannon Parker who can support the process further. There are resources and more information at the link below.