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Tuesday, May 29 • 3:15pm - 4:00pm
Convening a New community of Practice: Reflection, Learning, and Mutuality.

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Donald Schön (1971) developed several assumptions in his work ‘Beyond the Stable State’. The first assumption is framed in the title of his book – this is the assumption that institutions are in a process of continuous transformation. A second assumption is that our capacity to navigate transformation requires each of us to be able to learn and to also support the development and function of ‘learning systems’ (Schön, 1971, p. 30).

To thrive, our higher education institutions are facing immense learning challenges. For many of us, the pace of change and adjustment can feel like a sprint - and perhaps a sprint that we are only partially fit to complete. What could we achieve together in our institutions if we all cultivated our informal learning systems? For example, if we consider communities of practice (CoP), there are many different people in an our institutions who can initiate a community of practice to draw people together across the institution to learn, build community and share practice (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002). Over time, the community of practice members may develop a deep commitment to their fellow community members. Wenger (2000) refers to this deep sense of community as mutuality. Mutuality is a sense of shared engagement, trust and reciprocity developed within communities of practice (Wenger, 2000). Communities of practice support learning and they can also support care, trust and strong bonds.

The facilitators will share an account of their experience convening five gatherings for a new community of practice convened to support interdisciplinary learning for faculty with administrative roles in a university. Using microstructures from Liberating Structures (McCandless & Lipmanowicz, 2014) participants are invited to explore principles that support communities of practice, and to also consider how to nurture a rich dynamic of mutual care and support.

Learning Objectives:
  • Apply a conceptual framework for communities of practice 
  • Name one or two (or more) communities of practice domains in your institution.
  • Identify key principles that support learning and mutuality in a community of practice with a particular focus on convening the first few meetings.

avatar for Dr. Jennifer Walinga

Dr. Jennifer Walinga

Professor and Director, Royal Roads University
Dr. Jennifer Walinga is Director of the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University. An experienced educator and former member of Canada’s Commonwealth, World and Olympic gold medal rowing teams (1983 to 1992), she draws on her personal experiences to frame the... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Wilson-Mah

Rebecca Wilson-Mah

Assistant Professor, Royal Roads University
Hello!I am currently in the thesis stage of my EdD studies - with a focus on how interdisciplinary faculty members experience communities of practice (CoP). Let's talk about faculty engagement, social learning, and communities of practice!

Tuesday May 29, 2018 3:15pm - 4:00pm AKDT
Port of Hong Kong