USM Faculty Commons

Faculty Interest Groups

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

 Meeting Graphic


USM’s Title III Faculty Development Program announces a


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

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 leaders to support the growth and development of a Faculty Interest Group (FIG) as a FIG leader.

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.  

Three FIGS will also be eligible for one of the High Impact Practices mini-grants 

Resources to support FIGs include:

  • $1000 additional compensation for ONE coordinator (if there are two coordinators, “adcomp” is split—i.e., $500 each)
  • Modest resources to support convening of FIG meetings and resources to facilitate the work/philosophy proposed (up to $1000)
  • BlackBoard site available; Adobe Connect Meeting room Available 

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

Please submit the following information in a 2-page (maximum) Word document via the secured Faculty Commons email address:

  • 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 
  • Additionally, please include a Proposed budget for resources (include projected costs for any relevant materials or services eg. food, equipment, space rentals, honoraria, etc.)   See below for an example of how to do this or email for more information on how to do this

Proposals will be evaluated in relation to the following criteria:

  1. Clear identification of proposed Faculty Interest Group with regard to
    1. Members (e.g., faculty, instructors, students, student success staff, research personnel)
    2. Purpose
    3. 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)
    4. Duration (e.g., one semester, one academic year)
    5. Budget/Resources needed (max $1000)
  2. Clear 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, support group for practicing and adopting a new teaching approach; scholarly product support) and the budget to support the activities.
  4. Interdisciplinary/interdepartmental approach.


    Visit us online at:

We encourage you to consult with prior FIG awardees to learn what they did


Open to Undergraduate and Graduate Faculty


Click here for a copy of the flyer

To learn more about the Title III First STEPS Grant visit

Check the Archives for Past Updates