Faculty Learning Communities

Being a public university in California, the most diverse of the continental states of our nation, UC Berkeley is called to respond to that diversity by creating pedagogical innovations that foster global literacy through community engagement. Responding to that call, Dr. Barili  created and facilitated lat year two Faculty Learning Communities to serve UCB’s public mission and programs.

Pilot Interdisciplinary and Multicultural Faculty Learning Community on Collaborative Service Learning at UC Berkeley (2014)

The purpose of this Pilot Faculty Learning Community, which attracted faculty from various departments and schools at UC Berkeley, was to foster the creation of  Service Learning courses across disciplines. In this Faculty Learning Community, professors and lecturers and chairs of departments, as well as some graduate student instructors, came together to create high quality experiences for undergraduate students that would allow students to transfer what they are learning in the classroom to respond to the needs of broader community. The impact was double. Students were impacted by the creation of new Service Learning courses that allowed them to hone mastery of their disciplines by using those skills and knowledge in semi-professional environments while serving the community. The faculty of this Learning Community was impacted by the experience of learning and researching together in creative ways how to initiate, implement and assess collaborative service learning across campus.

Collaborative Service Learning is a new modality that Dr. Barili is developing which builds on the benefits of both Service Learning and Collaborative Learning. In this new modality, students, and faculty, work in teams in the classroom and at the sites.

An example of this kind of collaborative effort is having the students of the advanced Spanish courses Barili teaches collaborate with students from the UC Berkeley school of Law-who participated in this pilot interdisciplinary group- interpreting for them, with clients from Center America who are seeking political asylum. The clients–unaccompanied minors and others seeking refuge from violent situations–do not speak English, and the Law students do not speak Spanish. Both the Law students and the Spanish students, and their profs. worked together in this model of Collaborative Service Learning.  Another example, from this same faculty learning group: an experienced lecturer from the School of Education–works side by side with a prof and Chair of the French Department–in developing a course for French speakers at a new school where the graduates of the French department, can co-teach classes and do practical research on language acquisition theory and practice. Yet another example: students from the School of Education and from Barili’s classes work together at bilingual schools with youth at risk and with reading problems.

Professors participating in this Faculty Learning Community,  became students again in interactive workshops on innovative ways of using various kind of assessment (formative, summative, etc) and collaborative classroom techniques. Profs. shared a syllabus and one assignment from that course, to be blindly assessed in small groups. Participants reflected about what seem to be the learning goals, and actual skills developed with that syllabus and that particular assignment. They also discussed new perspectives on aligning actual student centered learning with the covering of the material presented in the syllabus. Qualities of trust, safety, empathy, respect, acceptance of diverse perspectives and ways of teaching and  learning, are essential for the rich unfolding of these groups. The faculty group examined, developed, assessed, and improved collaborative service learning activities in their courses, as well as discussed ways to expand this course-level pedagogical innovation by collaborating together in the creation of new courses.  From that group interaction and research,  five new Service Learning courses were created, and two initiatives to develop similar Faculty Learning Communities were born.

Dr. Barili presented about this innovative way of learning, teaching and researching, its challenges and promising results, at the Lilly Conference on “Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning”, in Newport, CA, on February 2015, and at the Campus Compact Conference on “Seeking Solutions to Complex Challenges Through Inquiry and Engagement “, in Long Beach, in April 2015, in her talk “Academy as Learning”.

Please see her blog on Collaborative Service Learning (coming).

 

Multi-Institutional Faculty Learning Community on Volunteering and Global Education (2015-2016)

As a follow up from the Pilot Interdisciplinary and Multicultural Faculty Learning Community on Collaborative Service Learning, Barili organized and is now facilitating–together with Professor Rick Kern (Director of the UC Berkeley Language Center)–a multi-institutional Faculty Learning Community on Volunteering and Global Education, at a national level.

This  new Faculty Learning Community,  is formed by professors from four4-year research universities engaged with Service Learning, and recognized as leaders in civic engagement programs, such as Cornell, Harvard, Georgetown  and Berkeley.  In this multi-institutional Faculty Learning Community on Volunteering and Global Education, professors  investigate and discuss with colleagues from other universities, pedagogical  models for blending local and global volunteering, like the model Dr. Barili designed for her new Service Learning course Volunteering, Global Education and Good Writing. The members of this Faculty Learning Community are developing a inter-university network to support all  students in their global volunteering experiences. This Faculty Learning Community was launched with a conference on Volunteering and Global Education,  held in the UC Berkeley campus, on September 25th, 2015, and meets on line monthly to further develop new practices and joint projects.