The Bellevue College Faculty Commons has begun quarterly Teaching Squares for fall quarter. According to Faculty Commons Classroom Strategies Lead Lisa Harris, all faculty members agree to visit one another’s classes over the course of a quarter and then to meet to discuss what they have learned. The goal of Teaching Squares is to offer faculty members the chance to gain insight into their teaching through classroom observation and self-reflection.
This is important because “the faculty is taking ideas and techniques that they learned here whether it be in a book discussion or in training and they’re taking it back to the classroom and they apply it,” said Joan Hatfield, the Faculty Commons program manager.
Another major programing event scheduled for fall are multiple critical thinking seminars where “the philosophy department is going to train teachers on how to incorporate critical thinking into their classes,” said Hatfield. The next one will be held on Nov. 7.
The Faculty Commons is “a central location for all faculty to meet across campus so that they don’t feel like they’re limited within their division,” said Harris. This way, BC “becomes more than a place where you go and teach your classes in one subject and one division. Instead you begin to feel like you’re a part of a community.”
Not only is it a space for faculty to meet, it is also used as a more formal setting where faculty can do training workshops and seminars.
From the opening of the Commons, faculty members were asked to come and “share what they’ve found helpful or what they see a need for,” says Hatfield “From the day we opened a year ago people were coming in.”
This year, however, they want to focus more on measurable outcomes to see what is improving. “If we do a seminar on Canvas, an outcome would be an improved Canvas site,” says Harris.
The Commons is “for the people by the people”, Harris said. At other colleges that have a Faculty Commons, “it is run by administration, and so what’s really interesting is that [BC’s is] run by faculty,” Harris added.