Why should I participate in a FIG?
Research* shows that there are many good reasons to participate in FIGs. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Benefits to Faculty
Benefits to Students
- Enhances student class participation, learning, and motivation
- Improves student evaluations and student satisfaction with course(s)
- Enhances Jesuit mission of "educating the whole person"
- Demonstrates service to the university
- Demonstrates teaching development activities
- Leads to deeper engagement with and understanding of material covered
- Increases class participation, motivation and ownership in the learning process
- Facilitates deeper understanding of connections across disciplines and courses
- Integrates learning from inside and outside the classroom
- Builds intellectual community by helping students to form study groups and work collaboratively
* Both published research and data gathered here at SLU describe the many benefits of learning communities. See Zhao, C. and G.D. Kuh, "Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student Engagement" (2004), and the FIG Instructor Survey, Dept. of Student Development, November 2009.What do I do if I'm interested in participating in a FIG?
- Talk to your department chair or program director. Find out if your participation is feasible for the following fall semester. FIGs work best when they enhance the work of your department and discipline. (Aim to begin these conversations around September, so the department/program has time to consider your request.)
- Consult the SLU Learning Communities website (www.slu.edu/lc). See if there is an existing FIG that appeals to you or an existing Learning Community that might be connected to your own teaching interests.
- Start with courses you already teach (or would like to teach). Do you already teach a freshman course that is well-suited to an existing LC or FIG? How might you innovate on existing curricula? In addition to freshman-level courses that connect to an existing Learning Community, consider courses that satisfy core curriculum requirements for your college and/or that function as introductory or gateway courses to an area of study.
- Talk to your colleagues. Seek out faculty who are already teaching in a FIG, and/or talk with colleagues who might be interested in linking courses with you in some way.
- Confirm your interest in participating with your department chair/program director. By late December/early January, you'll want to finalize plans with the head of your department/program. Ask that person to notify the FIG Coordinator that you have a potential FIG course you'd like considered for the following fall term.
- Keep the following in mind as you plan your course: Students register for classes in the summer and consider a variety of factors when doing so. That means enrollments will fluctuate from year to year. Therefore, if seats set aside for FIGs do not fill, they may need to be opened to non-FIG students. Enrollments will be monitored throughout the summer, and chairs/directors will be informed about adjustments as needed. FIG faculty will receive finalized rosters for FIG courses in August.
If it turns out that you cannot participate in a FIG, there are lots of other ways you could be involved in one of the Learning Communities. Contact Susan Fanale or Greg Lucsko for more information.