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Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Communities of Practice - Learning Opportunities

A community of practice is an opportunity to build community and engage at the edge of your teaching and learning potential. If you have a passion for what you do and want to interact regularly with a team of colleagues around a common interest, then this is for you.

Groups of people who share a concern or a passion

Community of practice is a term coined by Etienne Wenger (1998) to define groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and want to interact regularly to learn how to do it better. These professional learning communities have been a popular approach to teacher development, involving educators in collaborative, caring, inclusive, critical reflection on practice (Stoll & Seashore Louis, 2007). They have been shown to have positive effects on teaching practice and student learning (MacDonald, 2001).

Key principles in effective communities of practice

Some of the key principles in effective communities of practice include deep mutual respect, collective responsibility, a culture of openness, an inquiring mindset, trust and shared purpose (Stoll & Seashore Louis, 2007). Some of the broad expectations are that it is voluntary, structured, goal-oriented, interdisciplinary, safe and supportive (Furco & Moely, 2012). The premise is that innovation can be nurtured through exposure to multiple perspectives in dialogue, and through putting aside previously held assumptions.

Build community and promote scholarship

A community of practice is an opportunity to build community and promote the scholarship of teaching and learning (Cox & Richlin, 2004); it is a chance to actively negotiate the meaning of teaching and participate in revising the tools we use (Tagg, 2003); it is a team of colleagues engaged in conversations that have the potential to transform education (Palmer & Zajonc, 2010). In their book The Heart of Higher Education, Parker and Zajonc call on faculty to engage in dialogue about the deeper meaning and purpose of education as a way to awaken our individual and collective capabilities.

Current Communities of Practice

Animal Ethics on Campus

Events Calendar

Are you interested in connecting with like-minded colleagues around the implications and ethics of the humane treatment of animals? Gandhi said "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated". Explore everything from teaching compassion, supporting vegan students, links to racism, the science of sentience, and sustainability.

For more information, please contact Annette DeHalt at

Appreciative Inquiry

Events Calendar

This community of practice is for anyone who is interested in appreciative inquiry, strengths based endeavours, and positive change. We gather in shared leadership to offer gifts and ideas to each other; and to experiment with new ways of thinking, practice, and facilitation. The community of practice is a co-led group where you are welcome to be a participant and/or facilitate a gathering.

For more information, please contact Martha McAlister at

Chair Share

Events Calendar

Feeling isolated as Department Chair?  Join other Chairs from across the college to discuss whatever is on your mind. This Community of Practice is strength-based and solution-focused, and will create a safe environment for you to talk about what matters. Topics will be emergent, so come with your ideas for self-improvement and leave energized and excited about your role as Chair! 

For more information, please contact Bijan Ahmadi at

Creativity in Education

Events Calendar

The Creativity in Education Community of Practice addresses the design, application and evaluation of our creative teaching approaches, lessons and materials in a supportive peer environment. We will also address how to model, inspire and encourage creativity and creative problem-solving in our learners, and discuss how this can be transferred to contexts both inside and outside of the classroom. Additional aspects of creativity in education that participants are interested can also be explored!

For more information, please contact Laura Hadwin at

Digital Pedagogy

Events Calendar

This Community of Practice is for faculty and other members of the Camosun community interested in using online tools (including, but not restricted to, Desire2Learn) to enhance their face-to-face teaching, to teach blended courses, or to teach fully online. This CoP will provide a forum for us to share questions, experiences, best practices, and lessons learned associated with the use of online technologies in teaching. The agenda for our gatherings will be driven by members’ needs, interests and questions.

The CoP on Teaching and Learning Online will be enhanced with a D2L course site designed to provide a space for participants to discuss their practice outside of the face-to-face community, as well as a place to share ideas and resources with a broader community of practitioners.

For more information, please contact Dan Reeve at

Indigenous Education Circle

Events Calendar

This Community of Practice is for any employee who is curious about, and interested in, Indigenous education/Indigenization including but NOT restricted to those who have completed TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW (Understanding Indigenous Peoples). You may be seeking an understanding of Indigenization maintaining momentum, looking to spark some ideas, or simply wishing to enjoy the connection, inspiration, teaching, and learning that happens in circle. Please join us as we explore current issues related to Indigenous education, perhaps through discussing articles, documentaries, or a situation that arose recently in your classroom or department.

For more information, please contact Dawn Smith at

Integral Education

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How can we collectively lean in to future possibilities at this critical moment in history? What would it mean to break past our current limiting habits of mind and culture? Many of us feel an urgent need for a significant paradigm shift. It requires us to courageously step into unknown territory, beyond what we already think we know. An Integral worldview holistically incorporates internal, external, individual, collective, developmental, evolutionary and spiritual dimensions of knowing, being and doing. Join the conversation as together we work to catalyze positive change at Camosun.

For more information, please contact Martha McAlister.

Interdisciplinary Education

Events Calendar

Our students are entering complex work environments where they will need to take into account multiple perspectives, and collaborate across a wide range of disciplines. How can we better prepare them for this reality? As educators, how can we begin collaborating more effectively so that we are modelling interdisciplinary education? If you get excited about innovating new approaches to education, and want to draw on a diversity of perspectives, then join us for stimulating conversation with an action oriented focus.

For more information, please contact Val Montague.

Leading Effective Teams: A Coach Approach

Events Calendar

This Community of Practice provides an opportunity for those who have taken the Leading Effective Teams workshop to continue to support each other and practice the coaching skills they learned. It is a time and space to come out of your box, be creative, connect with others and develop coaching skills which you can bring back to your work. 

For more information, please contact Elaine Paterson at or Anita Ferriss

Mindfulness in Education

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Meet regularly with peers to practice mindfulness using guided meditation, movement, or other modalities that the group wants to pursue. Engage in dialogue about contemplative pedagogy, and how mindfulness can be applied in the context of education with students and with colleagues. Share ideas, support each other, and develop skills in a safe environment. All levels of practice welcome! The Mindfulness CoP meets monthly at alternating campuses. Facilitators: Diane Gilliland, Sheryl Haynes, Martha McAlister.

For more information, please contact Martha McAlister at


Events Calendar

Sponsored by the Healthy Together initiative in Human Resources, this CoP is a gathering of college employees who are also parents seeking to find a work-family life balance. This group has been running for two years and is a fun and inspiring place to meet. It is open to any parent who is trying to find this balance and is passionate about their work and parenting alike. Can we “have it all”? Can we be productive workers and effective parents all at the same time? Bring your stories, questions, listening ears, insights or learned lessons. This group is open to parents with children of any age.

For more information please contact Andrea Turner at or Jennifer Giuliani at

South Island Partnership Instructors


This is an opportunity to connect regularly with your peers, share ideas, support each other, and learn some strategies specific to your unique role  as an instructor in the South Island Partnership Dual Credit program. The plan is to meet about twice a year and also utilize electronic networking/resource sharing.

For more information, please contact Martha McAlister at

Sustainability in Education

Events Calendar

Meet regularly with others who are passionate about working towards a more sustainable world. This supportive community is a place to share ideas, and get energized into action. Sustainability is about healthy communities, through the integration of environmental, social and economic considerations. Let’s be a part of the solution by helping to make Camosun even more sustainable, starting with robust collegial dialogue.

For more information, please contact Dawn Smith at

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Events Calendar

This is a time to meet with other faculty from across the college with common challenges and passions for teaching and learning. Sometimes this work can feel isolating. You are not alone! Come and share ideas and inspire each other around effective classroom strategies, assessment, marking, rubrics, engaged learning, supporting students with different learning needs, and any other topics that arise through collegial conversation.

For more information, please contact Martha McAlister at

Working with Student Teams


This Community of Practice welcomes all instructors who work with student teams as part of their course work. Whether you have some great strategies that work well, or are struggling with some persistent issues, please join us for an ongoing conversation about how we can effectively support our students to develop the critical team skills they will need in the workplace.

For more information, please contact Janet Stark at

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4461 Interurban Rd
Victoria BC V9E 2C1
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