USM Faculty Commons

Faculty Interest Groups


 Meeting Graphic


USM’s Faculty Commons and the Title III Grant’s Project Team announce a 

Call for Proposals for Faculty Interest Groups (FIGs) and FIG Leaders

First Round DUE 10/01/14 

UPDATE:  First 3 FIGs will be elegible to recieve additional mini-grant funds!

Are you seeking collaboration and community?  

Would you like to be a member of a group with a shared interest and/or passion in the area of teaching and learning?  

Are you interested in finding ways to improve your work as a faculty member and student mentor?

USM’s Title III Faculty Development Project Team invites applications for Faculty Interest Groups (FIG).


What is a FIG?

A FIG, or Faculty Interest Group, is an intentional group of people with a mutual interest in a particular aspect of teaching and learning, especially using, adopting, or adapting High Impact Educational Practices (HIPs).* FIGs can also be used to explore promising new practices.  FIGs are open to all faculty/instructors, full or part-time, as well as staff with a particular interest in the proposed topic.  

FIGs are intended ”to support instructors in the development and enhancement of the curriculum, including the use of new, relevant, technological resources and pedagogical methods (evidence-based teaching practices) that support student learning and achievement,” foster scholarly teaching, and promote research, scholarship, and creative activity (RSCA) in these areas.

At USM, FIGs offer an opportunity for a collaborative approach to improving teaching and for producing research, scholarship, and creative activity necessary for peer review, promotion and tenure.  Other institutions have developed FIGs for similar purposes to good effect.  To read more about how high impact practices affect student success, look at: Outcomes of High-Impact Educational Practices: A Literature Review by Brownell & Swaner, C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.  You can access the article via the following link:

Sample foci for FIGs include:

  • Building community among students in the classroom or online
  • Enhanced Technology in the Classroom (blended, flipped, clickers, etc.)
  • Mentoring Students
  • Redesigning a Gateway Course(s)
  • Service-Learning
  • Strengths-Based Education
  • Undergraduate Research 

*For more information on HIPs, visit:


How does it work? 

Each FIG has a faculty coordinator who takes responsibility for organizing, facilitating and maintaining the Faculty Interest Group; coordinating, as needed, with Faculty Commons, Title III Project Team and Title III HIP coordinating committee, and working with appropriate University offices for support and assistance.  FIGs are designed to create a framework where members can come together to share best practices, do research about their topic, support each other in practicing their methodology, assess the effect of the method upon student learning, and/or produce scholarship about the method.  Coordinators file brief reports on their FIG's activities.

Resources to support FIGs include:

  • $1000 stipend
  • Modest resources to support convening of FIG meetings
  • BlackBoard site available


Think it might be for you...?  Here is what to do! 

Please submit the following information in a 2-page (maximum) Word document to the Coordinator of Faculty Commons Initiatives and Title III Project Team member, Prof. Judy Spross via email at

  • FIG Faculty Coordinator(s) Name/Unit
  • Departments/programs involved in
  • Proposed FIG
    • Description of structure articulating the purpose and structure/strategies for accomplishing
    • Description of how the FIG will enhance student learning, engagement and/or retention
    • Description of possible outcomes for students 

Proposals will be in relation to the following criteria: 

    1. Clear identification of proposed Faculty Interest Group

      • Members (e.g., faculty, instructors, students, student success staff, research personnel)
      • Identification of faculty  coordinator/co-coordinators
      • Purpose
      • Possible/likely outcomes for students and faculty (e.g., student retention, collaborative student/faculty work, such as a paper, other qualitative and/or quantitative measures, publication or other scholarship for the group)
      • Duration (e.g., one semester, one academic year)
      • Resources needed and approximate costs
    2. Rationale for how the FIG can enhance student learning, engagement, and/or retention and proposed meaning and impact for FIG members, students and USM.
    3. Clear description of proposed activities (e.g., structure for ongoing collaboration; strategies for sharing best practices, faculty development, support group for practicing and adopting a new teaching approach; scholarly product support).
    4. Interdisciplinary/interdepartmental approach.


Open to Undergraduate and Graduate Faculty


Click here for a copy of the flyer

Click here for a copy of the second-notice flyer

To learn more about the Title III First STEPS Grant visit