Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities

To support Clark’s commitment to student learning and faculty development, and to expand the community of learners to faculty and staff participants, the TLC encourages focused learning communities in which interested faculty and professional staff can learn and grow together.

Description and Purpose

Faculty Learning Communities are cross-disciplinary groups of  up to 15 faculty and professional staff engaged in a fulfilling nine-month-long program designed to enhance teaching, learning, student success and retention.

Evidence shows that learning circles, like our Professional Learning Communities, increase college employee interest in teaching and learning while providing safety and support to investigate, attempt, assess, and adopt new methods in classes, programs and services. 

Learning communities provide a number of innovations to current professional development practices:

  • Use local input to define the topics to be studied;
  • Create sufficient time for depth and application of learning in a safe environment;
  • Support application of the best practices, assessment of that application, and refinement of the practice;
  • Improve cross departmental collaboration.


2013-2014 Professional Learning Communities

"Adopting Open Educational Resources for Improved Student Learning"

Six faculty members from different college units (BEECH, STEM, WCTE) are working together to restructure the curricula of at least one of their courses by adopting Open Educational Resources (OER). The outcome of their work will benefit students and faculty with more engaging and relevant learning materials. In addition, students will realize significant cost savings on textbooks.

"Faculty Learning Community on Learning Communities"

Committed faculty members share innovative strategies for teaching in student learning communities. Discussions focus on the new direction of learning communities are Clark, first quarter communities, integrated communities, the development of policy and recommendations, and more! This Faculty Learning Community’s work is aligns with the Title III Strengthening Institutions grant’s initiative of enhancing a student’s first year at Clark through a First Year Experience, especially with learning communities.

To get involved, contact Dr. Ray Korpi, Title III Activity Director for Learning Communities and FYE, 992-2126,


Long-Term Goals

Professional Learning Communities at Clark College will:

  • Build college-wide community through teaching and learning;

  • Investigate and incorporate ways that diversity can enhance teaching, learning, and student success;

  • Nourish the scholarship of teaching and its application to student learning;

  • Broaden the evaluation of teaching and the assessment of learning;

  • Increase collaboration across the college;

  • Encourage reflection about education and the coherence of learning across disciplines;

  • Create an awareness of the complexity of teaching, learning, and student success.


"Although effective learning circles alone will not transform a college into a learning organization, over time they can produce a critical mass of key individuals and leaders plus the network necessary to connect campus units."

-Gabelnick, et. al. (1990)

For more information, contact:

Michelle Bagley

Phone: 360-992-2472


1933 Fort Vancouver Way MS LIB 112

Vancouver, WA 98663


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