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Desrochers, C (2012). Modifying courses for a new economic reality: A statewide solution involving faculty learning communities. In M. Cox (Ed.) Faculty and professional learning communities: Effectively involving communities of practice in higher education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
In 2009, the 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) were dealt a substantial budget shortfall of $625 million (Newell, 2009), resulting in faculty furloughs, fewer class-meeting days, increased class size, poor morale, and cross-system-scheduling headaches. Subsequently, the mission of CSU campus teaching and learning centers took a dramatic shift from traditional faculty development offerings to supporting faculty in addressing the budget-created new realities as they attempt to meet course goals. After a systemwide faculty development needs assessment, the system-level Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) elected to pursue the faculty learning communities’ (FLC) faculty development model in order to work with faculty to craft solutions and provide a supportive community, recognizing that each FLC “…has a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity” (Beach & Cox, 2009, p.9). Through an application process, ITL awarded FLC grants of up to $4,500 to fifteen campuses; at the conclusion of the year, it surveyed both facilitators and participants to determine the success of these faculty communities. The data indicate that these FLCs were successful but could be improved. As a result, ITL is funding FLCs for a second year and making adjustments.