Faculty learning communities are defined as “cross-disciplinary faculty and staff group of 6-15 members that engage in ‘an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, the scholarship of teaching, and community building’” (Newman, 2017, p. 428).

At Peabody, the Learning Innovation team in collaboration with Institute Studies provides the frameworks and financial and structural supports for faculty to initiate, participate in, and report out of learning communities. These communities are provided platforms to share their findings, outcomes, and recommendations with both their peers and leadership, with the goal of improving the teaching and learning experience across the institution in a variety of ways.

Community Guidelines

A faculty learning community eligible for funding includes some or all of the following:

  • One faculty Chair and one faculty Co-Chair.
  • Members from two or more faculty departments representing both the Conservatory and the Preparatory. Communities with a single department discussing topics unique to that department will also be considered.
  • One or more graduate or doctoral student representatives.
  • Selection of a topic with the potential to impact teaching and learning at Peabody in ways both impactful and relevant to the Breakthrough Plan.

Funding up to $1250 per learning community per year will cover purchases for educational purposes, including but not limited to materials (books, research materials, etc.) and guest speaker stipends.

Chair Responsibilities

Each learning community should have one Chair and one Co-Chair to administer the community and keep it on track. Chairs and Co-Chairs of a learning community will:

  • Lead 5 or more conversations with community members per academic year,
  • Work to guarantee attendance and engagement among the community,
  • Suggest, provide, and secure materials and guest speakers utilizing the community’s allocated budget,
  • Administer and encourage participation in the community’s topic channel within the “Peabody Learning Communities” Microsoft Team.
  • Present findings at the end of the academic year via a minimum 1-page report and a 20-minute presentation to peers, and
  • Each receive one $750 stipend each in addition to the learning community’s budget, upon completion of deliverables at the conclusion of the academic year.

* The first formal learning communities will be piloted at Peabody in Spring semester of 2022. These abbreviated learning communities will meet 2 or more times during the semester, receive up to $750 for educational expenses, and each Chair and co-Chair will receive a $400 stipend.

2022/2023 Learning Communities

Register to Participate in these Communities!

Facilitating Difficult Conversations with Students

Chairs: Elizabeth Futral and Anicia Timberlake
Elizabeth FutralAnicia TimberlakeWe use principles of non-violent communication to practice facilitating difficult conversations with students. This form of communication focuses on using empathy to identify shared needs and from there developing strategies to meet others’ needs, instead of immediately launching into debate. The bulk of our work includes role-playing situations drawn from participants’ own experiences. Topics are  varied and respond to faculty needs: boundary-setting, counseling and mentoring, microaggressions, arts and justice, etc.. We meet approximately every 3 weeks on Wednesdays at 4:00 PM. All are welcome!

Science Behind Music Learning and Psychology of Music

Chair: Eric Rasmussen

Eric RasmussenThis FLC will evaluate music education research and explore the science behind music learning, music potential, and the psychology of music. Understanding good research in music education theory and practice can make a profound difference in performance, theory, pedagogy, and ear-training from early childhood to the collegiate level. We’ll focus on these questions:

  • How does an individual come to understand music?
  • How do those same processes affect how our students learn, how teachers teach them, and how faculty trains future music educators?
  • How can students and teachers apply the same to their own music learning?

Sound Studies and Sonic/Media Arts

Chair: Lyn Goeringer and Bryan Jacobs
Headshot of Lyn GoeringerHeadshot of Bryan JacobsWe invite practitioners and scholars from Peabody and the broader Johns Hopkins community whose research intersects and engage in Sound Studies and Sonic/Media Arts. Though we intend to allow a broad interpretation for these fields, we are looking more specifically at Sound Studies as a field of research that theorizes and engages with sound from a cultural and phenomenological standpoint, with Sonic and Media Arts as a stage where these concepts are explored for more public audiences.

Over the last twenty years, sound studies has become a major component in musicological and media studies discourse around electronic music, sonic arts/sound art, and new media practices. For many, this has become a critical framework from which new music, sound art works are created, and informs daily practice within the field. For researchers, this framework has allowed new methods of analysis and critique so that we can better investigate contemporary sonic practices and their cultural impact.

Teaching International Students: Pedagogical Issues/Strategies and Overall Experiences

Chairs: Ahlam Musa and Kathleen DeLaurenti
Ahlam MusaKathleen DeLaurentiSince international students constitute over 30% of the Peabody student body, it is imperative that their needs are met in and outside the classroom. This PLC focuses on improving the experience of international students at Peabody by understanding their needs and addressing teaching issues as well as providing opportunities for linguistic and cultural enrichment. Sample topics may include the following: teaching non-native speakers of English, bridging differences and capitalizing on prior knowledge, assessment challenges, and course design that engages students’ background and prior knowledge.

Teaching and Learning Online

Chair: Lily Kass
Headshot of Lily Kass against a background of green leavesAre you curious about different ways to effectively teach online? Would you like to read about best practices in online teaching? Would you like to share your experiences teaching online? Are you considering teaching online but don’t know where to start? This FLC began last semester when a diverse group of faculty with varying experiences in online teaching began discussions about theory and practices in online pedagogy. Join us as we continue the conversation and transform our learning into practical resources for the Peabody community. In our first meeting we will decide on a plan of action based on the interests and needs of the group members.

Technology in Piano Instruction

Chair: Agustin Muriago
This community explores technology resources that enhance piano instruction, analyzing its effectiveness in classroom and private lesson settings. The goal is to create a space where members can share their experiences, learn from one another, and interact with guest speakers who are using technology in innovative ways.


Register to Participate in a Learning Community!

All learning communities are open to any interested faculty from the Conservatory or Preparatory, and any student (with Chair approval). Please use the link below to express your interest and to be connected with the Chairs of these communities.

Register to Participate in a Learning Community!