Learning Circles

A Learning Circle is a group of faculty led by a facilitator which meets together regularly to read and discuss a selected book. Faculty are given a copy of the book. In support of the engaged learning philosophy Learning Circles offer an avenue for faculty to participate together in this type of learning. Faculty construct and fine-tune their knowledge by participating in group discussions and collaborating with other faculty members.


Fall 2014 Learning Circle

Diversity & Motivation: Culturally Responsive Teaching in College by Margery B. Ginsberg & Raymond J. Wlodkowski

Book Description from Amazon: "When the first edition of Diversity and Motivation was published in 1995, it became a premier resource for faculty and administrators seeking effective and practical strategies that foster motivation among culturally diverse student groups.
This revised and updated second edition of Diversity and Motivation offers a comprehensive understanding of teaching methods that promote respect, relevance, engagement, and academic success. Margery B. Ginsberg and Raymond J. Wlodkowski base their insights and concrete suggestions on their experiences and research as college faculty.

The book defines norms, illustrates practices, and provides tools to develop four foundational conditions for intrinsically motivated learning: establishing inclusion, developing a positive attitude, enhancing meaning, and engendering competence. The authors provide perspectives on the social justice implications of each condition.

Diversity and Motivation includes resources to help educators create a supportive community of learners, facilitate equitable discussions in linguistically diverse classrooms, design engaging lessons, and assess students fairly. The ideas in this book apply across disciplines and include teaching practices that can be easily adapted to a range of postsecondary settings.

In addition, the authors include a cohesive approach to syllabus construction, lesson design, and faculty development. This new edition also contains a framework for motivating students outside traditional classroom settings."

Facilitated by Anton Tolman

Location: LA 116

Day and Time: Thursdays 1 pm - 2 pm


  •  September 4
  •  September 18
  •  October 2
  •  October 23
  •  November 13
  •  November 20
  •  December 4

Click Here to Register

How Learning Works: Brain, Mind, Experience & School. By National Research Council

Book Description from Amazon: "This popular trade book, originally released in hardcover in the Spring of 1999, has been newly expanded to show how the theories and insights from the original book can translate into actions and practice, now making a real connection between classroom activities and learning behavior. This paperback edition includes far-reaching suggestions for research that could increase the impact that classroom teaching has on actual learning.

Like the original hardcover edition, this book offers exciting new research about the mind and the brain that provides answers to a number of compelling questions. When do infants begin to learn? How do experts learn and how is this different from non-experts? What can teachers and schools do-with curricula, classroom settings, and teaching methods--to help children learn most effectively? New evidence from many branches of science has significantly added to our understanding of what it means to know, from the neural processes that occur during learning to the influence of culture on what people see and absorb.

How People Learn examines these findings and their implications for what we teach, how we teach it, and how we assess what our children learn. The book uses exemplary teaching to illustrate how approaches based on what we now know result in in-depth learning. This new knowledge calls into question concepts and practices firmly entrenched in our current education system.

Topics include:

  • How learning actually changes the physical structure of the brain.
  • How existing knowledge affects what people notice and how they learn.
  • What the thought processes of experts tell us about how to teach.
  • The amazing learning potential of infants.
  • The relationship of classroom learning and everyday settings of community and workplace.
  • Learning needs and opportunities for teachers.
  • A realistic look at the role of technology in education.

Facilitated by Ursula Sorensen 

Location: HP (101z) - West Campus

Day and Time: Wednesdays from 11 am - 12 pm


  • September 3
  • September 17 
  • October 1
  • October 22
  • November 12
  • December 10
Click Here to Register


How to Design and Teach a Hybrid Course: Achieving Student-Centered Learning through Blended Classroom, Online and Experiential Activities 

Book Description from Amazon: "This practical handbook for designing and teaching hybrid or blended courses focuses on outcomes-based practice. It reflects the author’s experience of having taught over 70 hybrid courses, and having worked for three years in the Learning Technology Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a center that is recognized as a leader in the field of hybrid course design. 

Jay Caulfield defines hybrid courses as ones where not only is face time replaced to varying degrees by online learning, but also by experiential learning that takes place in the community or within an organization with or without the presence of a teacher; and as a pedagogy that places the primary responsibility of learning on the learner, with the teacher’s primary role being to create opportunities and environments that foster independent and collaborative student learning. 

Starting with a brief review of the relevant theory – such as andragogy, inquiry-based learning, experiential learning and theories that specifically relate to distance education – she addresses the practicalities of planning a hybrid course, taking into account class characteristics such as size, demographics, subject matter, learning outcomes, and time available. She offers criteria for determining the appropriate mix of face-to-face, online, and experiential components for a course, and guidance on creating social presence online.

The section on designing and teaching in the hybrid environment covers such key elements as promoting and managing discussion, using small groups, creating opportunities for student feedback, and ensuring that students’ learning expectations are met. 

A concluding section of interviews with students and teachers offers a rich vein of tips and ideas."


Facilitated by Sam Gedeborg, Innovation Center

Location: LC 243

Day and Time: Thursday from 12 pm - 1 pm 


  •  September 4
  •  September 18
  •  October 2
  •  October 23
  •  November 13
  •  December 11
Click Here To Register



What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain

Book Description from Amazon: "The author of the best-selling What the Best College Teachers Do is back with humane, doable, and inspiring help for students who want to get the most out of their education. The first thing they should do? Think beyond the transcript. Use these four years to cultivate habits of thought that enable learning, growth, and adaptation throughout life."

Facilitated by Ursula Sorensen

Location: LC 243 

Date and Time: Tuesdays from 12 pm - 1 pm


  • September 9
  • September 23
  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2
Click Here to Register


Service-Learning Circle: To Know As We Are Known

Book Description from Amazon: "This primer on authentic education explores how mind and heart can work together in the learning process. Moving beyond the bankruptcy of our current model of education, Parker Palmer finds the soul of education through a lifelong cultivation of the wisdom each of us possesses and can share to benefit others."

Facilitated by Eric Russel

Location: Service Learning Conference Room

Time: 12 pm - 1 pm


  • September 16
  • October 14
  • November 11
  • February 27
  • December 9
Click Here to Register