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The impact of communities of practice in support of early-career academics

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This paper traces the history and impact of communities of practice (CoPs) in supporting early-career academics, although the primary focus here in the United States is on the faculty learning community (FLC) model, a special type of CoP in higher education. The initial development of this model, beginning in 1979, takes place over two decades at Miami University, and then is extended over the third decade to other institutions of higher education in the US, followed by current international explorations. One study found that early-career academics that participated in FLCs for their cohort were tenured at a significantly higher rate compared to those who were not in FLCs. Other studies discovered that early-career academic FLC participation had a positive impact on their interest in the teaching process, their comfort as a member of the university community, and their understanding of, and interest in, the scholarship of teaching and learning. The paper concludes with the results of a study of why some early-career academics decide to participate in an established faculty learning community designed for them.

Keywords: academic development program; community of practice; early-career academics; faculty learning community; transformative learning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and University Assessment,Miami University, Oxford,OH, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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