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Proposals Accepted for 2009-10


Defining 21st Century Literacy

This FLC is focused on defining 21st Century Information Literacy and exploring best practices to promote this form of literacy in the undergraduate and graduate pedagogy. It incorporates many different perspectives of faculty across VCU campuses and curricula which facilitates our examination of the many challenges involved in promoting 21st century literacy. Some of these challenges include: defining and evaluating information media literacies, bridging the digital divide, the use of social networking tools in courses, and teaching critical thinking skills in a technologically sophisticated world.

The focus was chosen in consideration of the changing demographics, knowledge, skills and abilities of the current population of students. Faculty need to position themselves to be able to interact with the generation of students that has lived exclusively in a digital age. Each of the faculty in this FLC has observed dramatic shifts in how students (both graduate and undergraduate) gather and critique information. Students have little, if any, difficulty finding the information they seek. However, we have also found that they seem to be having more difficulty filtering through and critiquing these large volumes of data, and feel that traditional pedagogical methods no longer fit students’ needs. The members of this FLC are working to refine the traditional pedagogy, to retain its strengths but also enhance its relevance for this current generation of students.


  • Britt Watwood, CTE
  • Alma Hassell, Patient Counseling
  • Ibironke Lawal, University Libraries
  • Justin Lincoln, Art Foundation
  • Suzanne Mazzeo, Psychology
  • Valerie Robnolt, School of Education


Integrating Digital Technology into Teaching and Learning

One of the 2009-2010 goals for the department of Educational Leadership is to collectively explore ways to foster learner-centered approaches to our work, and where technology can best serve that purpose and can best facilitate student learning.  The members of this FLC will benefit from an increase in our collective understanding of what digital technology has to offer to us as a group of “educators of educators and leaders of leaders.” However, and arguably more important, we are vitally interested in encouraging our graduate-level students to enhance the ways in which they integrate digital technology into their personal practice in leading, teaching, and learning—an interest which is unlikely to be kindled if we cannot model such an interest ourselves.  We believe it is very important for us to learn together so that we can make connections across courses as well as to provide support to each other while fostering creativity and effectiveness.


  • Charol Shakeshaft
  • Jonathon Becker
  • Jo Lynne DeMary
  • Cheri Magill
  • John Marshak
  • Lynn Myers
  • Martin Reardon
  • Whitney Sherman
  • Vicki Wilson
  • Harold Wright


Addressing Issues of Diversity and Oppression in the Classroom

Instructors often feel ill-equipped to manage issues related to diversity, oppression, and privilege within their classrooms and they fear contentious interactions between students and/or between instructors and students.  An FLC that addresses issues of diversity and oppression in the classroom could be helpful to those faculty members who are unsure of how to approach the topic within their classrooms as well as seasoned instructors who have regularly incorporated content and dialogue on diversity and oppression.  

In addition, FLCs at institutions who are studying the same topic might benefit from interaction with each other.  Rather than limiting their learning to the participants of one FLC within a single institution, they would have the opportunity to learn and grow from interactions with faculty members on another Virginia campus who are also very interested in the same topic and who are also operating under some of the same political, cultural, and social dynamics. Therefore, this FLC will operate here at VCU while an FLC with the same focus will co-operate at Norfolk State University. While there have been FLCs at some institutions around a similar topic (e.g., multiculturalism), we know of no higher education institution that has collaborated with another college/university to implement a dual-institutional, topic-based FLC project.  This FLC would provide an opportunity to evaluate a joint FLC experience that involves more than one institution.  We believe that with a carefully designed evaluation, we could contribute to the scholarship on Faculty Learning Communities.


  • Elizabeth Cramer, Social Work
  • Holly Price Alford, Fashion Design, School of Arts
  • Jan Altman, University Counseling Services
  • Donna Dockery, Counseling Education, School of Education
  • Njeri Jackson, Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity
  • Jill Rowe, African American Studies
  • Jodi Teitelman, Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health


Black Education Association – A Conversation on Learning, Race and Pedagogy

The focus for the BEA-FLC will be to engage in conversations as to how to enhance the learning experience of Black students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Specifically, we will focus on learning styles, enhancing the learning experiences, effective evaluate of the learning styles, incorporating African American literature and experience, and to effectively bridge the gap between the African American community and the academy. Our community will consist of faculty of color from the BEA and any other faculty who are invested in developing a learning community around the issues effecting VCU students of color.  Our hope is to involve our members in a set of relationships over time and develop community around teaching themes that matter to teaching students of color. Our practice will involve technical knowledge or skill associated with undertaking the foci of the FLC. The fact that we will be organized around these foci should give our members a sense of joint enterprise and identity. We will also generate a shared repertoire of ideas, commitments and memories. We will utilize various resources such as tools, documents, routines, vocabulary and symbols in ways that allow us to accumulate knowledge of the African American community we seek to serve.


  • Katherine Bassard, English, College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Micah McCreary, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Allen Lewis, Rehab Counseling
  • Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Theater, School of Arts
  • Blue Wooldridge, Wilder School

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Last modified: June 20, 2013
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