CTL Learning Circles

Circle iconOverview

CTL Learning Circles are small informal gatherings of faculty and staff to discuss topics or books related to teaching and student success. Groups of 5-12 participants will meet 2 or more times* during the semester; these meetings may occur at any interval but weekly generally works best. Circles are intended to be short-term commitments for faculty who want to collaboratively learn about a particular content area related to university teaching without an excessive time commitment.
* For some Reading Circles, it may be possible to complete the discussion in just one meeting. Proposals should explain why this is justified (e.g., short book, narrow focus).

Topics and materials

Topics can be anything related to University teaching or student success. They may be centered around a specific book (formerly called Reading Circles) or other resources such as journal articles or webinars. The CTL will purchase books or supply readings for Circle members; in return, participants will create a document that can be shared with other faculty. This will be appropriate to the topic, for example a group book review, a list of best practices compiled from the literature, or a simple summary of the group’s discussions.

Members and facilitators

Individuals interested in facilitated a Learning Circle should fill out a proposal form. It is at the discretion of the proposer/facilitator if membership should be limited in any way (e.g. faculty only, new faculty only); otherwise Circles are open to any interested party including lecturers, administrators, graduate students, or staff. If fewer than 5 people (including the facilitator) are interested in a topic, it will be postponed to another semester. The facilitator does not need to be an ‘expert’ on the topic but is responsible for organizing the meetings and keeping discussions on track. All members are expected to attend all meetings, and are encouraged to share, listen, and reflect. Facilitators will receive $200 toward books or professional development activities for completion of the following:

  • Meet with the CTL Director for training
  • Write a description of the book or topic to be used in the call for participants
  • Schedule meeting dates and times for discussions
  • Schedule meeting space
  • Communicate with Circle participants about all logistics
  • To the extent it is appropriate, prepare discussion questions and facilitate the discussions
  • Collect brief summaries/reflections from Learning Circle participants
  • Prepare / coordinate the preparation of a summary/overview of the Learning Circle discussion (or other appropriate document) that can shared with other faculty
  • Meet with the CTL Director after completion of the Circle, and communicate with her as needed during the semester

All Learning Circle participants will be asked to provide brief reflections upon completion of the Circle. These reflections ask participants to respond to the following prompts:

  • What are your general reactions to the book/materials read? [i.e., if you were reviewing this book on Amazon, what would you say?]
  • What lessons from the book / the Circle’s discussions would you want to share with colleagues?
  • What changes, if any, do you plan to make in your own teaching as a result of participating in this Learning Circle? If you do not plan to make any changes, please provide a brief explanation of why not.

To submit a proposal for a Learning Circle, please use this form. Intrigued but not sure what topic to propose? Here are a few suggestions. Feel free to contact the CTL Director, Jennifer Imazeki, to discuss possible topics or if you have any questions.