Teaching & Learning

Virtual Spring Learning Circles Were a Great Success, Registration Open for Summer Sessions

By Marcus Jensen |

Utah State University Learning Circles have been a big success during the spring 2021 semester. Even with the challenges of meeting virtually, USU has been able to have more learning circles than any previous year and have been well received by faculty and staff members who have been able to attend.

“My experience in this circle was amazingly positive and impactful for me,” said Criminal Justice Instructor Samuel Aruwanga. “I also observed that others in the class had a great experience, so I was not alone!”

Learning Circles are collaborative, self-directed groups of instructors interested in a specific topic. Members of a circle lend their unique viewpoints from different disciplines and experience levels to a discussion, building comraderies, developing a fuller understanding of their topic, and improving their instructional skills in the courses they teach.

“As a first-year faculty member, the learning circle was a great way to meet colleagues from across departments­– both new and established instructors– who are passionate about teaching excellence,” said Training and Development Specialist Jefferson Sheen. “I met some fantastic people and learned practical ideas to improve my teaching that I was able to implement immediately.”

Learning Circle participants self-select the group or groups that match their expertise and or interest in improvement, and members of a circle decide when they will meet. Topics for sessions during the spring semester included: small teaching online, culturally responsive teaching, how to help distracted students, engaging learners through Zoom, and several other topics that were both current and relative.

“Even though most of my responsibilities fall within the Student Affairs staff realm, I do teach a little, and I’m constantly mentoring students,” said Val R. Christensen Service Center coordinator Nelda Ault-Dyslin. “So far, the lit circle I’ve been part of has been priceless in that I get to rub virtual shoulders with faculty members. That’s something that doesn’t happen often in my regular workday. I appreciate their perspectives and commitments to their fields, and I also hope that I bring a perspective that’s valuable to them.”

Registration for summer 2021 learning circles will open in April with limited seating available. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to only sign up for one circle per semester. For more information and to sign up for a learning circle, visit www.usu.edu/empowerteaching/events/learning-circles.


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Travis Thurston
Assistant Director
The Office of Empowering and Teaching Excellence


Education 285stories Teaching 127stories

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in Teaching & Learning

See Also