RRCC Develops PLCs to
Professional Development Needs
To address the professional development needs of faculty and staff during a unique and trying period, as well as to provide community during a time of social distancing, Red Rocks Community College has established Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). PLCs as defined in the literature are a collaborative team that engages in action research to impact student engagement in all delivery models through an inquiry-based, systematic process. They are cross-disciplinary groups that provide opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring and meet regularly to explore teaching other educational topics in depth. Participants in PLCs learn from each other, investigate, and assess teaching methods within a supportive cohort that provides opportunities to reflect and become more purposeful about their current practice.
PLCs are a community of support; faculty-faculty, staff-staff, staff-faculty, and administration-faculty. They build an atmosphere of trust, where mistakes, failures, uncertainty, and innovation are all a part of growth and development and are respected. PLCs provide constructive feedback, efficacy, and professional growth.
Jenning Prevatte, Education faculty, who coordinates this initiative, reports “Discussing teaching and learning strategies and hearing about what others are doing in their PLCs has been a wonderful way to stay connected, inspired, and be an asset to RRCC’s growth. The focus of PLCs is ultimately to support student success through enhancing teaching and learning strategies as well as policies and procedures at RRCC. In our pilot year, we have begun to embrace the culture of collaboration and support our work around diversity and inclusion at RRCC. I am grateful for being a part of this work.”
Current PLCs are exploring the Humanity of Inclusive Teaching Practices, Writing Across the Curriculum, Remote Teaching and Learning, and Race and Equity in Education.
The participants include faculty, staff, and instructors, and each PLC meets for between two and four hours per month.
Paul Weinrauch, MGD faculty reports, “I have built stronger relationships with people that are not on the instruction side of the house. I am the only person in my PLC, which is in instruction, so it has been great to offer my insight as faculty.” Lou Hren, EMT Instructor adds, “I can only say that it has been one of the most helpful things I have been a part of since I have been at RRCC. It has been refreshing to know that there are other instructors who feel like I do and struggle with the same issues in race and equity. To be able to know that I am not alone in this has made all the difference.”