Faculty Inquiry Groups

Faculty Inquiry Groups

Faculty Inquiry Groups (FIGS) allow small groups of faculty members (4 minimum - 10 maximum) to meet in person or online to work together on a specific question, issue, or concern having to do with teaching and learning.

The next deadline for Spring Term 2024 is Tuesday, May 14th at 11:59.

FIG applications are generally due Tuesday of week 7 for a FIG to run the following term.


Why participate in Faculty Inquiry Groups?

FIGs give participants the opportunity to: 

  • meet with colleagues to discuss and/or research a particular issue related to teaching your discipline
  • meet with other interested colleagues for an informal discussion of teaching and learning
  • collaborate with other faculty to research and discuss a specific topic or project that will have an impact on student learning
  • learn and share ideas around a common theme or question in teaching and learning
  • continue to develop professionally as a college teacher and faculty member

What are some possible topics for Faculty Inquiry Groups?

  • Teaching strategies/ approaches
    • Active learning: theory and methods
    • Problem-based learning/ using case studies in teaching
    • Effective lecturing
    • Collaborative/cooperative learning: theory and methods
    • Service learning/ community-based learning
  • Teaching modalities/ settings
    • Online teaching, teaching with technology, teaching hybrid courses
    • Strengthening instructional skills/practices in a vocational setting
  • Skill-building
    • Writing across the curriculum
    • Developing students' oral communication
    • Enhancing students' critical thinking skills
  • Inclusion, Equity, Justice, and Cultural Competency
    • English language learners
    • Privilege, difference, and discrimination in the classroom
    • Challenging students' stereotypes, biases, and misperceptions
    • Inclusive teaching
    • Culturally competent, responsive, or sustaining teaching. See the Library Guide:  Faculty Professional Development for Cultural Competency or the Inclusive Teaching Bookshelf in the Center for Teaching and Learning (as of Winter 2021).
  • Classroom Management
    • Building student confidence and belonging
    • Increasing student engagement
  • Ethical issues in teaching
  • Designing teaching portfolios

Guidelines for forming and maintaining a Faculty Inquiry Group:

  • Groups can be formed any time during the academic year.
  • Groups should plan to meet in person or online at least five times over the course of a term or year. In addition, facilitators will coordinate with the FPD Coordinator for information and planning. Participants typically spend 10 hours reading, researching, and discussing their topic.
  • All faculty members are eligible to participate in FIGS.
  • Groups may be from the same discipline or cross-disciplinary.
  • Each group must have a specific focal topic, issue, concern, question, project, or problem that it will spend the term and/or year addressing.
  • FIG funding cannot be used for curriculum development. Please use the regular College process for curriculum development requests. Faculty Inquiry Groups are not intended to be an orientation program or mentoring program.
  • One faculty member must agree to facilitate the group. This person will arrange and announce meeting times, dates, and locations; manage the group's finances; and make any necessary arrangements for the group's activities. The facilitator is also responsible for submitting a brief report after the final meeting that lists the members who attended and summarizes each of the meetings in a few sentences.
  • Each group will receive money from Faculty Professional Development to support the group's activities. Up to $35/person can be used for books or materials, duplication of articles, local travel, a guest speaker, or other expenses that further the project the group has undertaken. Up to the per diem amount for lunch, plus $5 per person can be used for snacks or off-campus meal reimbursement. For materials, food, or off-campus meal reimbursement, the facilitator will be expected to submit itemized receipts with your reimbursement form, and limit expenses for off-campus meals to per diem rates. Please note: alcohol expenses cannot be reimbursed.
  • Participants will be awarded up to a $400 honorarium, based upon attendance and participation in the FIG. Those who attend all of the FIG meetings receive $400, those who attend more than half receive $200 and those who attend fewer than half will not receive an honorarium.
  • Applications must be complete to be approved.
  • Faculty Inquiry Groups are expected to share their learning with an appropriate audience. Options include but are not limited to reports, presentations, or workshops for your department, your division, or the larger faculty community at the CTL Symposium in Spring term. FPD has a small fund to support refreshments for FIG presentations.
  • Facilitators are expected to write a short report to be shared on the FPD website. Reports should include:
  • The topic or governing questions of your FIG;
  • The resources the group found most helpful;
  • A brief description of each of your meetings; and
  • The overall outcomes of the project, including benefits of the FIG experience for group members.
  • Funds are limited. Priority will be given to those departments that have not recently hosted a FIG. If your FIG is not funded for a particular term, the application may be forwarded to the next term/s.

How can I apply?

To apply, submit your proposal via the FPD FIG Proposal in Softdocs. 

View a sample application.

The total number of groups funded is based on available funds. For further information, or to discuss a possible focus topic for your group, please contact the FPD Coordinator, Brooke Taylor at taylorb@lanecc.edu.

How can I request reimbursement for expenses?

Once the FIG is approved, to be reimbursed for expenses please submit a FIG Reimbursement form, in Softdocs. Be sure to attach detailed receipts.

NOTE: Once the FIG facilitator provides an attendance list to FPD, the stipends for participation will automatically be included in your paycheck from the College. Please do not open up a separate time sheet in Express Lane and submit it for approval. This will result in a dock in pay and takes time to reverse. Thank you!

Recent Sample FIG Proposals 

FIG Title, Department, Academic Year Proposal
Writing and Literature, Grading for Equity, winter 2021-2022 Grading for Equity Application
Integrated Design, Interdisciplinary ABSE/ESL/ALS, 2019-20 Integrated Design Application

Recent FIG reports are available on the Faculty Inquiry Group Report page.

FPD would like to acknowledge the Lansing Community College's Center for Teaching Excellence for the use of their materials on Teaching Circles. This program is also based on a highly successful model developed by the Carnegie Foundation's Strengthening Pre-Collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) project. View past project ideas and find additional information.