Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

The Academy for Teaching Excellence is pleased to launch a faculty-driven development opportunity that will create a space for instructors to engage in meaningful and productive reflection on their teaching and classroom experience.

Communities of Practice allow faculty to interact as peers to explore new approaches to teaching. Members create a collegial and supportive environment with shared ownership for the purpose, value, and outcomes they hope to achieve. The goals of the group are defined by the members themselves who share similar passions in support of teaching excellence. Members of the communities of practice will create individual or group projects based on their shared area of interest.

For more information about Communities of Practice, view our CoP Facilitation & Resources or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pages.

Communities of Practice – Seeking New Members

These Communities of Practice are still seeking members:

Outcomes Assessment

Develops innovative and impactful methods of using assessment to improve student learning at the course and/or program level.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

This Community of Practice will investigate Open Educational Resources (OER) and current best practices for implementing OER in our courses.

Interested in participating?

If you are interested in joining one of these groups, consider filling out an application to join.

Start A New Community of Practice

If you are interested in starting your own, consider filling out a proposal to create a new Community of Practice.

Current Communities of Practice (Currently Capped at 8 members)

These Communities of Practice are currently full, but if you are interested in learning more about these communities and in joining at a later date, send an email to

The Art of Teaching for Equity

This Community of Practice focuses on Curriculum and Pedagogy that would bring faculty together in the spirit of collaboration and synthesis related to the Art of Teaching for equity, with an emphasis on trusting relationships, transparency in teaching, and touchpoints for engagement. This group, initiated at Harper, would ultimately result in broader engagement with our high school and transfer school partners through invitations to participate in Community of Practice activities.

  • Marianne Fontes, English, Liberal Arts
  • Robin James, Business, Business & Social Science
  • DuBoi McCarty, Resources for Learning
  • Pardess Mitchell, Kinesiology/Health, Mathematics & Science
  • Kelly Taylor, Graphic Arts, Business & Social Science
  • Stephanie Whalen, English, Liberal Arts

English 100 Teaching Practices

The purpose of this Community of Practice is to explore best teaching practices in an integrated reading and basic writing course. We hope that the CoP will provide the group with a forum for researching and discussing our teaching practices in this new course, to develop shared assessments, to align our courses, and to attend conferences.

  • Andrew Anastasia, English, Liberal Arts
  • Geoff Fogleman, English, Liberal Arts
  • Marianne Fontes, English, Liberal Arts
  • Rich Johnson, English, Liberal Arts
  • Judy Kulchawik, English, Liberal Arts
  • Kurt Neumann, English, Liberal Arts
  • Judi Nitsch, English, Liberal Arts
  • Stephanie Whalen, English, Liberal Arts

English 101 Advanced Learning Placement

The purpose is for ENG 101 ALP faculty to explore the efficacy of a writing-studio model for the supplemental hour of instruction in ALP. ENG 101 ALP is an acceleration model that mainstreams higher performing developmental students into a credit-bearing course. Harper’s version of ALP mainstreams 10 developmental students with strong reading but weak writing skills (determined by our in-house placement took) into ENG 101 courses. The ALP students attend the ENG 100 class, and then once a week, they meet as a group to receive an additional hour of instruction.

  • Andrew Anastasia, English, Liberal Arts
  • Nick Bennett, English, Liberal Arts
  • Ted Brady, English, Liberal Arts
  • Patrick Carberry, English, Liberal Arts
  • Kathleen Dyrda, English, Liberal Arts
  • Carissa Miller, English, Liberal Arts
  • Judi Nitsch, English, Liberal Arts

Innovative Instruction Think Tank (IITT)

The IITT is a community for sharing and exploring innovative instructional techniques, especially those that employ technology. The IITT grew out of the former Flipped Classroom users group, and has explored themes such as flipped teaching, peer grading, and online homework assignments. The group focuses on the pedagogical goals and results of the techniques we discuss, as well as how to implement them.

  • Jeanne Leifheit, Nursing, Health Careers
  • America Masaros, Math, Mathematics & Science
  • Jonathan Meshes, Math, Mathematics & Science
  • Elizabeth Pagenkopf, Nursing, Health Careers
  • Kathleen Reynolds, ESL, Liberal Arts

Reflective Teaching Practices

We aim to create new programs and/or resources, both digital and interpersonal, that will help adjunct faculty develop professional artifacts like teaching philosophies as well as knowledge of pedagogy and professional development opportunities that will make adjunct faculty effective instructors for Harper College. Through adjunct advocacy within our Communities of Practice, we aim to facilitate the more concrete formation of an adjunct community and support system.

  • Amanda Smothers, English, Liberal Arts
  • Pearl Ratunil, English, Liberal Arts
  • Steven Titus, English, Liberal Arts
  • Carissa Miller, English, Liberal Arts
  • James Heyland, Career & Technical Programs
  • Crystal Peirce, Biology, Mathematics & Science
  • Nancy Moore, English, Liberal Arts
  • Nicholas Bennett, English, Liberal Arts

Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

In Spring 2016, the Academy for Teaching Excellence was awarded a two-year grant to increase adjunct faculty engagement through Communities of Practice. This community, which has been meeting since Fall 2016, is sharing a focus on applying Scholarship of Teaching and Learning principles to classroom practice.

  • Amy Babinec, Art, Liberal Arts
  • Geoff Fogleman, English, Liberal Arts
  • Michelle Frack, Biology, Mathematics & Science
  • Khursheed Ichhaporia, Biology, Mathematics & Science
  • Kimberly Jaeger, World Languages, Liberal Arts
  • Mary van Opstal, Chemistry, Mathematics & Science
  • Pearl Ratunil, English, Liberal Arts

Sustainability Projects in the Classroom

The purpose of this Community of Practice is to help Harper College meets its commitment to creating a carbon neutral campus under the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). This group of faculty and staff (first brought together in the Harper Leadership Institute, Project CAPtivate) is working to infuse sustainability projects into classes so students can help us figure out how to address some of the thornier issues around attaining carbon neutrality. We will not attain carbon neutrality without the input of all faculty, administration, staff, and students.

  • Amy Bandman, Physical Plant
  • Michael Bentley, Humanities, Liberal Arts
  • David Broucek, Information Technology
  • Julie Ellefson-Kuehn, Chemistry, Mathematics & Science
  • Sarah Mikulski, Liberal Arts
  • Maggie Geppert, Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Science
  • Dan Godston, Liberal Arts

Teaching with Geospatial Technologies

This Community of Practice allows faculty to explore the use and infusion of geospatial technologies (Geographic Information Systems – GIS, Global Positioning Systems – GPS, and Earth Imagery) into the curriculum. Members will develop teaching strategies and customizable activities that can be used within and across disciplinary boundaries.

  • Jennifer Bell, Adult Education Development, Liberal Arts
  • Tong Cheng, Biology, Mathematics & Science
  • James Edstrom, Library, Resource for Learning
  • James Gramlich, Sociology, Business & Social Science
  • Kimberly Jaeger, World Languages, Liberal Arts
  • Rich Johnson, English, Liberal Arts
  • Nellie Khalil, Biology, Mathematics & Science
  • Mukila Maitha, Geography, Mathematics & Science
  • Michael Ribant, Geography, Mathematics & Science

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework faculty can use to create a learning environment that meets the diverse needs of students, by recognizing that learner variability is the norm. Learn to set clear goals and implement UDL principles around multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement in the classroom.

  • Karega Cooper, Math, Mathematics & Science
  • Stephanie Horton, English, Liberal Arts
  • Jonathan Loos, Kinesiology/Health, Mathematics & Science
  • Pardess Mitchell, Kinesiology/Health, Mathematics & Science
  • Nancy Moore, ESL, Liberal Arts
  • Debbie Reuter, Access & Disability Services
  • Dominique Svarc, Accounting, Business & Social Science
  • Christine Wayne, Accounting, Business & Social Science