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 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Communities of Practice – Seeking New Members

Several communities of practice, which grew out of previous fellowship programs, are currently open and seeking new members. These groups include the following:

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.

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.

New Communities of Practice will be forming on other topics of interest to faculty in the next year. Send an email to the Academy for Teaching Excellence at or call the Chair of the Academy at ext. 6174 for more information.

Interested in participating?

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

Join Now!

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.

Apply Now!

Current Communities of Practice (Membership Currently Closed)

These communities of practice were formed from groups which pre-date the creation of communities of practice at Harper College. They 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

We are proposing a Community of Practice focusing 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, Interdisciplinary Studies/English, Liberal Arts
  • Robin James, Business, Business & Social Science
  • Pardess Mitchell, Kinesiology/Health, Math & Science
  • Tara Mathien, Early Childhood Education Business & Social Science
  • Kelly Taylor Business/Social Science, Graphic Arts
  • Stephanie Whalen, Interdisciplinary Studies, 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.

  • Mariano Arellano, Math, Mathematics & Science
  • 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

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.  Members include:

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

Sustainability Projects in the Classroom

The purpose of this CoP 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, Liberal Arts
  • David Broucek, Information Technology
  • Julie Ellefson-Kuehn, Chemistry, Math & Science
  • Sarah Mikulski, Liberal Arts
  • Maggie Geppert, Physical Sciences, Math & Science
  • Dan Godston, Liberal Arts

Universal Design for Learning

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, Math & Science
  • Pardess Mitchell, Kinesiology/Health, Math & Science
  • Nancy Moore, ESL, Liberal Arts
  • Dominique Svarc, Accounting, Business & Social Studies
  • Christine Wayne, Accounting, Business & Social Studies