2016 Intergroup Dialogue Institute

Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence


The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence was established by a generous endowment from Hyatt and Cici Brown. media/Hyatt-CiCi-Brown-1998-cropped.jpegThe directives for the center are two-fold: (1) to ensure active and continuous support of Stetson Faculty as life-long leaders and innovators and (2) to assert Stetson as a national higher education leader by modeling the University’s distinctive character of learning and teacher-scholar role for future faculty.

The journey of a teacher-scholar will be unique for each individual, a faculty member new to the university role will have different goals and needs than one with significant experience in higher education. This diversity presents an opportunity to leverage the knowledge and perspectives of individuals (newcomers and established members) to develop Communities of Practice – a term coined by Lave and Wenger to describe “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” This approach to building community and valuing lifelong learning is the core of the Brown Center’s philosophy of faculty development. Communities of Practice (CoP) may evolve organically or by design. In all cases there is an expectation of that individuals will develop as leaders and the work will be shared through dissemination beyond the communities of practice.

This vision is operationalized through four simple guiding principles:

  • boundary-spanning: projects & programming that build relationships, interconnections and interdependencies that span departmental and disciplinary boundaries.
  • innovative: projects & programming in which innovative strategies are employed to engender learning.
  • high-impact: projects & programming that use high-impact pedagogies in support of student learning.
  • communities of practice: projects & programming that recognize the social nature of learning by developing communities of individuals committed to excellence in education.