Virtual learning communities to strengthen teaching and help faculty grow professionally

What are Lumen Circles?

Lumen Circles are professional development experiences that use virtual learning communities to connect faculty members with peers and help them hone their expertise as student-centered teachers.

Grounded in evidence-based teaching practices and self-reflection, Lumen Circles work well for any faculty member, in any discipline, and at any stage of career.

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How Do Lumen Circles Work?

  • Set goals. Identify how you want to develop your teaching practice and pedagogical profile.

  • Build skills. Virtual, workshop-style learning opportunities expand your teaching repertory, help you work smarter through teaching “hacks,” and deepen your understanding of evidence-based practices.

  • Teach and reflect. Apply what you’re learning, consider how it’s working for your students and where to improve.

  • Share via virtual learning circles. Connect with peers, exchange feedback, and collect new ideas through expertly-facilitated learning circles. Our user-friendly platform makes it simple to connect and collaborate.

  • Recognize growth and progress. Track progress towards goals and see your teaching evolve as you incorporate new practices with students.

Pick the Offering that Works for You

We offer Lumen Circles experiences with different areas of focus, levels of depth and duration.

  • Lumen Circle Fellowships: Build skills in targeted areas, apply what you’re learning, and collaborate within a virtual learning circle
  • Success Accelerator: Engage with peers and accelerate the path to effective teaching and learning using Lumen courseware
  • Crescendo Circle: Ongoing community membership including self-paced reflective practice

Keep reading for more information about each offering.

What’s Your Role?

See what Lumen Circles can offer you.

Your connection with students is paramount to their success, but knowing how to reach them can be challenging. Lumen Circles provide opportunities to expand your teaching repertory in areas you want to grow. You can join colleagues to learn, share ideas, compare experiences, and be part of a thriving community focused on evidence-based teaching for today’s students.

Lumen Circles complement your center’s resources and priorities. Some centers offer a full menu of programs but struggle to generate meaningful evaluation data. Others cater to new faculty, but they sometimes overlook faculty who are later in their careers. Still others struggle to meet the needs of part-time faculty or graduate students. We can tailor offerings to fit the faculty members you want to reach with skill-building and professional growth focused on teaching practices that impact student success. We also offer flexible options around pricing and scale.

Recognizing student success is a result of faculty success, Lumen Circles can help you provide a broader foundation of faculty support to transform teaching and learning with a focus on evidence-based instructional practices. We can also help you track alignment and measure progress towards institutional and faculty goals for improving teaching practice.

Lumen Circles Fellowships

Fellowships offer an extended professional development experience with opportunities to learn and apply new skills with support from a community of peers.

Fellowship Areas of Focus

Explore and apply active learning strategies to help students engage more deeply, think critically, collaborate, and actively participate in the learning process.

Build awareness, sensitivity, and capabilities around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom; apply these principles in conjunction with Lumen Circles’ evidence-based framework for effective teaching practices to improve student success.

Explore and apply an evidence-based framework for instructional practices that improve student success

Explore and apply an evidence-based framework for teaching practices that improve student success, and use the affordances of Lumen’s digital courseware tools, Waymaker or OHM, to strengthen course design, instruction, active learning and assessment strategies, and how you engage students.

Learn and apply basic principles of online course design and instructional practices using the OSCQR rubric, together with evidence-based instructional practices that improve student success.

Develop your knowledge and capabilities teaching with open educational resources and the principles of open pedagogy, while exploring and applying evidence-based instructional practices that improve student success.

Pricing: $750/seat

What’s Included in Every Fellowship

  • 9-week virtual community of practice to connect and develop professionally with faculty peers
  • Weekly activities to explore, apply, and reflect on effective teaching practices (1-2 hours/week)
  • Build on your strengths and develop skills to expand your teaching repertory
  • Set goals and track progress expanding your teaching practice profile
  • Work asynchronously in a virtual platform (website) to fit your own schedule
  • Earn Lumen Circles Fellowship Certificate in Effective Teaching Practice
  • For institutional and departmental implementations: Track and report on the alignment between institutional objectives and faculty progress using effective teaching practices
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Success Accelerator Communities of Practice

Build capability and confidence for faculty using Lumen’s Waymaker or OHM courseware

Success Accelerator Areas of Focus

Enrich Lumen’s standard Waymaker implementation with mentoring and peer support around course design, pedagogy, use of learning data, and best practices to increase student engagement and success. Explore evidence-based practices for effective teaching and how to use Waymaker’s unique personalized learning toolset to support your students’ learning and success. Suitable for new or veteran Waymaker users.

Enrich Lumen’s standard OHM implementation with mentoring and peer support around course design, pedagogy, use of learning data, and best practices to increase student engagement and success. Explore evidence-based practices for effective teaching and how to use OHM’s highly flexible toolset to support your students’ learning and success. Suitable for new or veteran OHM users.

Pricing: $350/term or $33/student inclusive courseware fee

(two term minimum commitment)

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What’s Included

  • 6-week virtual learning circle to build skills and teaching practice
  • Leverage courseware capabilities to enhance course design, effective teaching strategies, student engagement and success
  • Community of peers for collaboration, sharing ideas, reflective teaching and feedback
  • Lumen Circles platform and virtual professional development community
  • Access to Faculty Mentors to consult on pedagogy, learning design, evidence-based teaching practices
  • Opt in to a Lumen Circles Fellowship during a future term

Crescendo Circle: Keep Growing

After completing a Lumen Circle Fellowship, the Crescendo Circle provides self-paced opportunities to continue growing professionally.

  • Ongoing access to Lumen Circles platform and virtual professional development community
  • Continue to track progress expanding your pedagogical profile and teaching practice
  • Exclusive educational development events to expand knowledge and generate ideas for teaching and learning innovation
  • Optional activities for self-reflection and peer sharing

Pricing: $50/year (annual membership)

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Lumen Circles FAQs

Do you have a question we don’t answer here? Contact us or send a note to

Lumen Circles uses a methodology and process grounded in Dr. Gail Mellows’ research published in, Taking College Teaching Seriously: Pedagogy Matters! This work presents an evidence-based framework for increasing student success by improving teaching effectiveness. This model is based on six years of research, development, application, and analysis. Primary principles include:

  • Self-reflection: Faculty fellows examine their own teaching practices to become more aware of pedagogical choices and their impact on student success.
  • Appreciative Inquiry: This inquiry method invites educators to recognize and celebrate their strengths and what’s working in their teaching practice, and then using this as a foundation for self-directed growth and improvement.
  • Evidence-based Instructional Principles: To help faculty make the learning environment more student-centered, we encourage them to explore and try out specific practices aligned in four distinct dimensions of teaching practice: Supportive, Challenging, Organized, and Varied.
  • Pedagogical Analytics: As fellows progress through the Lumen Circles experience, we measure changes in faculty teaching patterns, progress towards their teaching goals, and how this aligns with institutional goals and changes in student outcomes.
Yes. The Lumen Circles professional development platform and learning circle-focused methodology are based the work of Faculty Guild, a faculty-focused coaching service created by serial education technology entrepreneur David Yaskin and a talented team of educators. As part of a strategic decision to expand our support for effective teaching and learning practices with professional development services, Lumen Learning acquired intellectual property and the higher education assets of Faculty Guild.

We construct virtual learning circles with careful attention to the goals and context of faculty members participating in Lumen Circles fellowships. Learning circles always align with the theme of the fellowship to connect faculty with peers working to expand their teaching practice in similar directions. As a rule, learning circles include faculty from multiple institutions teaching in related disciplines, such as STEM or social sciences. We may make exceptions to this rule in order to support specific institutional objectives, such as learning circles to connect faculty with peers from their own institution.

We coordinate start and end dates for Lumen Circles fellowships and other professional development programs to align with the academic calendar and windows when the experience will be most productive for participating faculty members. Staggered start dates generally coincide with the start of term for spring (winter), summer, and fall. Depending on interest, faculty availability, and demand, we can add additional fellowship terms as needed.

Note the Lumen Circles experience does require that faculty are actively teaching during a majority of their fellowship term because reflective practice is most beneficial when there are immediate opportunities to consider teaching choices, evaluate what’s working and try out new pedagogical directions.