Call for Proposals: New Learning Community Projects – Winter 2021

 Faculty interested in integrative learning and collaborative curriculum development are invited to submit a proposal to participate in the Winter 2021 phase of Dawson’s Learning Community project. Proposals will be welcomed from sectors where LCs have already been implemented (Science, Social Science and Certificates/General Education), and equally from programs and profiles (Pre-U and Careers) not already involved in the LC project but interested in prototyping innovative curricular structures that prioritize interdisciplinary teaching and integrative learning.

Proposals must be submitted to Karina D’Ermo at the Office of Academic Development (OAD) by Thursday, October 15 and should be kept to two pages addressing the criteria below.  Up to 6 sections of release will be available for W2021.  Faculty are advised to assemble a team of project collaborators and propose 1 or 2 project leads as candidates for release.  Department chairs, program coordinators and Deans must be informed of the application.  Proposals will be reviewed by the LC Coordinating Committee (see membership below).

Learning Communities are identified in Dawson’s Strategic Plan 2016-2021 as one of several strategies for the successful development of the learning outcomes of the Graduate Profile.  Applicants should review recent course development projects from W20, and browse the LC workplan for 2020-2022.  Some background on the learning community model and integrative learning in higher education may also be helpful.

Format and Objectives
Participation is organized around regular meetings over the W21 semester, either in person or on Teams as the situation permits.  Faculty teams will collaborate on course and assignment development, and on-line writing will document both process and products.  Work culminates in the completion of new paired/linked courses; or a thematic course cluster; or a new stand-alone course with integrated co-curricular activities.  The goal is to pilot these new learning communities in F21 and/or W22.  It is not necessary that the proposed courses be designed principally with online delivery in mind; however, your proposal should indicate to what extent the courses may be adaptable to online formats.

Proposal Criteria
1. Names and departments/programs of faculty members participating in the proposal, and identification of 1-2 teachers who are applying for release as team leaders.
2. The context of the proposed learning community courses (Program, Profile, Certificate or Special Area of Study) and explanation of how the proposal addresses an important challenge or need within that context.
3. The courses your team plans to develop, and how, in the design of these courses, you plan to address some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Collaborative, interdisciplinary course design process
  • Engaging, complex theme/issue/question/topic as integrative framework for course content
  • Interdisciplinary co-teaching or team-teaching pedagogy
  • Assignments encouraging the integration of student learning across courses/disciplines
  • Links with campus or community-based co-curricular activities that facilitate experiential learning outside the classroom
  • Curricular innovations that are transferable between teachers and sustainable over time

Building on the LC developments that have already taken place in Science, Social Sciences, and Certificates, the LC Coordinating Committee has identified several priority areas that proposals for W21 are invited to address:

Science Sector

  • Projects aiming at a better integration of math, biology, physics or chemistry in career programs.
  • Projects developing interdisciplinary connections in the Science program.

Social Science Sector

  • Projects offering thematic course clusters for first-year General Social Science Students
  • Projects that develop thematic course clusters in the Methods Sequence
  • Projects that offer interdisciplinary connections within the Social Science Program

Certificates and General Education

  • Projects developing Gen Ed certificate-themed interdisciplinary paired courses; team-designed/team-taught 365 Contemporary Issues courses; team-designed/team-taught “foundational” courses in Gen Ed disciplines; or any certificate-related course that connects classroom learning to out-of-class co-curricular activities
  • Projects creating LC opportunities for integrative learning across Certificates



Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Learning Communities Coordinating Committee with any questions regarding your proposal: Ian MacKenzie (LC Project Lead), Pat Romano (Certificates and General Education), Jean-François Brière and Annie-Hélène Samson (Science), Lisa Steffen (Social Science).

Watch the Dawson Faculty Hub for information on upcoming webinar meet-up sessions for teachers interested in developing LC proposals.