Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Spring 2017

PLC (Professional Learning Community) is a very effective method of professional development for faculty and professional staff.

A PLC consists of several basic traits:

  • Usually cross-disciplinary (often combining faculty and professional staff)

  • 8-12 members or less (plus two facilitators)

  • Active, collaborative learning experience

  • Regular structured scholarly activities (with a scholarly text as focus)

  • Semester-length (though some run a year)

  • Payment of a stipend (plus allowance for food and sources)

  • Creates an end product (e.g., scholarship, conference, presentation, syllabus revision).


Student Success Innovation

Dr. Michelyn Bhandari, Kelly Smith, Sandra Stevens, and Dr. Russell Carpenter

The Student Success Innovation PLC assembles critical leaders on campus on the student success and faculty sides to discuss and envision an ideal environment to encourage student success in the classroom and beyond.

Location: Noel Studio Discovery Classroom
Registration Closed

First meeting time: January 27, 2017, time 8:00am

Creative Community

Dr. Hal Blythe and Dr. Charlie Sweet

The purpose of this PLC is to produce fiction that competes in the commercial market.  For the past three years, this community has written and published one novel/semester.  If you wish to participate, you must have evidence of your ability 1) to produce fiction in a regular fashion, 2) to collabo-write, and 3) to attend bi-weekly meetings of the community.  If you are interested, please first contact Hal or Charlie.

Space: McAlister’s, Richmond

First meeting time: January 3, 2017

Facilitating Active Learning

Dr. Bill Staddon and Cindy Judd

The Active-Learning PLC will address various aspects of this pedagogical approach, including the advantages and challenges of group work, learner-centered activities, and assessment. Participants will apply this knowledge to redesign a current lesson or develop their own active learning exercise. We encourage instructors from all disciplines teaching small to large classes to participate. Space is limited to 20 participants.

Location: Noel Studio Discovery Classroom
Register Here

First meeting time: Friday, January 27, 10:00am - 11:00am

Team-Based Learning

Dr. Ryan Baggett and Dr. Mike Collier

Members of the campus community are invited to enroll in a spring 2017 Professional Learning Community (PLC) on team-based learning (TBL), an unusually powerful and versatile teaching strategy enabling instructors to take small-group learning to a higher level of effectiveness. TBL employs a series of active teaching and learning techniques to transform groups of individuals into high-performance learning teams. College of Justice & Safety professors Ryan Baggett and Mike Collier will facilitate the PLC. They have employed TBL for several years and found students are in strong agreement TBL improves their long-term learning and interest in the course topic over the more traditional classroom methods. The four PLC sessions will be held on Wednesdays, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM on February 1,  8, 15 and March 1.  

Space: Noel Studio B3
Register Here

First meeting time: Wednesday, February 1, 12:00pm - 1:00pm


How does a PLC differ from usual professional development such as individual study, grants, conferences, summer institutes, workshops, retreats, and presentations?

A PLC is a group effort, whether cohort- or theme-based that occurs on EKU's campus. Its focus is usually on a general academic subject rather than a specific need (e.g., a course syllabus, the Library budget, departmental P&T revision) that has the potential to help the entire university with its end product. It is grounded in research and best practices and follows a syllabus/calendar. Recognizing its importance, it attempts to compensate the professionals who take part during its finite limit (usually a semester).

So what are the goals of a typical PLC?

A PLC attempts to accomplish many things:

  • Create a learning methodology
  • Build a community
  • Enhance pedagogical skills
  • Distribute the accumulated knowledge and skills with the campus community
  • Add to scholarly knowledge, especially the scholarship of teaching & Learning (SOTL)
  • Contribute to enhanced student learning
  • Promote the value of teaching and learning on campus

What role does the TLC play with PLCs?

The TLC would love to discuss PLCs with you. When you are a part of a TLC-sponsored PLC, you receive several benefits:

  • Pedagogical Consultation. We can help you to develop skills in leadership and facilitation, to determine your PLC's goals, and even to decide upon rich research topics.
  • Venue. We have a variety of active-learning space options for PLCs. 
  • Refreshments. Depending on our level of participation, we can pay for your food, order it, and set it up.
  • Texts. We can help you select texts, order them, and offer copying services for your materials.
  • Assessment. We have several evaluative instruments available to help you determine the value of faculty and staff participation as it relates to student learning.
  • Product. We can provide you with a background on SOTL, help you with research (we have an available G.A.), and even work with you to develop a presentation showcase/campus conference.
  • Marketing. We will help you advertise the PLC and perhaps publicize the public product.

If I decide to do a PLC with the TLC, what will be required of me?

Working through the TLC necessitates you:

  1. Complete the TLC Application
  2. Provide a set of measurable learning outcomes
  3. Name and explain your scholarly source(s)
  4. Delineate your scholarly product (e.g., publication, presentation, conference)
  5. Create a budget
  6. Assess your learning outcomes
  7. Submit a final report

How do I go about creating a PLC?

Start by making an appointment with us at 622-6519 or sending an email to Charlie.Sweet@eku.edu or Hal.Blythe@eku.edu. We can also provide you with a typical application form and help you advertise for participants in your PLC.

Criteria required for acceptance into the Enhanced Professional Learning Communities includes the following:

  • Alignment with the EKU Strategic Plan
  • Alignment with the Noel Studio Strategic Plan
  • Scholarly Product
  • Assessment: Evidence of more effective teaching and enhanced learning
  • Funding: Contribute partial or all