NetVUE grant to help fund faculty learning communities at Northwestern College

Northwestern College has been awarded a $10,000 NetVUE Professional Development Award to help fund a pilot program of faculty learning communities (FLC) that will launch in 2021–22.

“The faculty learning communities are being established to foster greater collaboration and mentorship among faculty members, with the understanding that as faculty thrive vocationally, they mentor, teach and collaborate with students who learn from their example,” says Dr. Nate Phinney, vice president for academic affairs.

Northwestern plans to form three faculty learning communities—small, peer-led groups of faculty that work together for a year to answer a question, develop solutions to a problem, or engage an important topic. The first three communities will focus on mentorship in scholarship for female faculty, a stronger integration of diversity and equity issues in cross-cultural engagement core courses, and the exploration of models of research in STEM fields that normalize the demands of balancing an academic career with raising children. At the end of the academic year, FLC members will share their outcomes with the campus community.

“We’re really thankful for this grant,” says Dr. Tatum Geerdes, assistant professor of nursing and chair of the Faculty Development Committee. “It’s a great incentive for faculty to get involved in these groups. As the communities help faculty thrive in their vocations and live out a joyful way to collaborate with each other, students will be inspired to discern their own vocation.”

NetVUE grants are intended to deepen vocational exploration and discernment among undergraduate students by supporting the professional development of faculty members and staff. The awards are made possible by a generous grant to the Council of Independent Colleges from Lilly Endowment Inc.