Designing and Facilitating A Professional Learning Community (PLC)


An invitation to Staff and Faculty at Cal Poly Humboldt:  Learn how to design and facilitate a professional learning community.  Focus on access, equity, and the first-year experience at Humboldt.


Cal Poly Humboldt is committed to decreasing time-to-degree and increasing graduation rates for all students.  As part of Graduation Initiative 2025, we must be laser-focused on creating access and a sense of belonging for all students, studying models of student success, and closing equity and opportunity gaps.  In service to these goals, the CTL will be creating opportunities for faculty and staff to work together in small professional learning communities to discuss challenges and opportunities associated with the first-year student experience at Humboldt.  This invitation seeks to establish an initial staff-faculty professional learning community that will focus on constructively and collaboratively developing facilitation skills and curriculums for the future.

Benefits to Staff & Faculty Participants:
  • Experience the professional learning community (PLC) framework and related resources in consideration of your upcoming PLC.
  • Engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning, including inquiry and exploration into student learning, application, peer review, reflection, presentation of findings.
  • Create spaces for multi-disciplinary/multi-role exploration and collective impact, including cross-disciplinary and campus unit opportunities for presentation and scholarship.
  • Faculty:  Earn a $150 stipend upon completion of the PLC commitment/deliverables (with additional $500 stipend for each faculty co-facilitator of a 2018/19 PLC).  While staff members are not eligible for stipends, other incentives like collaboration opportunities, professional development, and food (!) are also included.
  • Receive a participation letter for your  file.
Commitment/Deliverables of Participants:
  • Participation in a nine-week staff-faculty learning community (six face-to-face community meetings, three online). The session will run approximately February - April 2018;
  • Create your team’s PLC Plan for Fall 2018;
  • Share your PLC model/outcomes during a CTL professional development event in 18/19;
  • Showcase your work on the CTL website in video or other presentation format.
Full Description:

The Designing and Facilitating A Professional Learning Community (PLC) will focus on preparing future facilitators to effectively develop curriculum and practice facilitation skills for their 2018/19 staff-faculty learning communities. The PLC will be comprised of a group of cross-disciplinary faculty and staff members committed to collective reflection and feedback on their teaching and/or practices. As part of this experience, one faculty and one staff will partner together to develop a curriculum that they will then co-facilitate during the 2018/19 academic year.  These curriculums will be designed with support to target issues of equity, access, and achievement, with a special focus on the first-year experience.  The learning community framework will engage facilitators in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) in a semester-long, structured environment that provides space for collective inquiry, continuous improvement, and reflective practice. Participants will interact through a blended format that includes six 90-minute in-person sessions and three weeks of online, asynchronous activities.  All participants will engage with resources designed to encourage and support the subsequent expansion and development of the professional learning community model at Humboldt.  We encourage interested applicants to consider topics or areas of focus related to issues of access, equity, and achievement, and around which they would like to develop curriculum and engage staff and faculty colleagues. 


Upon successful completion of this PLC, paired participants will be able to:

  • Articulate and evaluate the three roles (champion, coordinator, energizer) of the learning community facilitator;
  • Articulate their learning community philosophy as it relates to the application of knowledge and the first year student experience;
  • Describe the unique challenges faced by first-year students and students in transition and demonstrate how these challenges will be addressed in their own classrooms/practice;
  • Create a plan for their Fall 2018 staff-faculty learning community, including:
    • Identification of the broader topic, dilemma, challenge, or area of focus;
    • Articulating learning outcomes for the learning community;
    • Identifying topic(s)/work for each session/meeting;
    • Developing or identifying at least one resource related to the focus of the learning community;
    • Identify the necessary assessment for the specific work of the learning (assessment of the PLC itself is already included);
  • Provide feedback to peers’ learning community plans;
  • Reflect on at least two aspects of learning community experience;
  • Foster collegiality and build community across disciplines and units.
Co-Facilitators and Contacts:

Kim Vincent-Layton,

Lisa Tremain,

Pam Bowers,



The PLC will meet face-to-face for 90 minutes on six separate dates between February and April 2018. Campus PLCs will be offered by these participants (as co-facilitators, one faculty member and one staff member) in Fall 2018.

Attendance Expectations:
  • Five 90-minute, face-to-face sessions (February - April 2018): Provide a PLC framework from which to work, resources, development support, discussions, implementation plans, and peer feedback. These sessions are to-be-determined and will be established based on the selected participants availability.  
  • Online (April 2018): The online work will be asynchronous and serve as a shared space to develop and receive peer and facilitator feedback on the progress of PLC development.
  • One final 90-minute, face-to-face session (April 2018): In this final session, participants will reflect on their learning in the PLC and the development of their PLC curriculum.
Additional Expectations

Participants will:

  1. Complete the PLC Goals Inventory pre and post survey
  2. Complete readings and activities prior to each session or online due date
  3. Complete their PLC Plan: Plan for an 8-week PLC, including identification of learning outcomes, resources, activities, and assessments
  4. Submit a 3-4 page summary of PLC plan by April 30, 2018 (template will be provided)
  5. Co-facilitate a 2018/19 PLC

Approximately six PLC participants will be selected based on their commitment to supporting the first year student experience, commitment to co-facilitating a 2018/19 PLC, interest in working within a multi-disciplinary/multi-role professional learning community, and ability to commit to participation and requirements of meetings.