What is a community of practice?

Communities of Practice event held at the Oak House

According to Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, communities of practice are “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.”

There are three basic criteria for membership in a community of practice, including a shared domain of interest, a community or group of people who communicate with each other and engage in joint, sustained activities, and the practice, or development of a shared repertoire of knowledge and expertise through experiences, stories and tools. Finding value in the interactions and developing one’s sense of identity are common themes for community members (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002).

Some of the possible activities of a community of practice for research on global engagement include, but are not limited to: critical reflection on extant scholarship; mapping existing knowledge and identifying gaps; linking evidence to practice; showcasing “best practices”; identifying possible collaborative opportunities; discussing strategies for scholarly productivity across life ages and stages; mentoring students.

In 2021-22, there will be two CoPs. The current plan is to meet at the Oak House from 4:15 to 5:30 pm on designated Tuesday or Thursday afternoons. Both CoPs will present at a culminating event on May 10.

The first CoP is a writing-focused group for faculty and staff who have engaged in the scholarship of global engagement (SoGE) and are interested in dedicated writing time with colleagues. Although there is no stipend for participating in this CoP, beverages and snacks are provided. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler for more information.

With Phillip Motley, Faculty Fellow for Service Learning and Community Engagement, the second CoP will discuss and develop research on community-based global learning and the intersection of local and global learning. This CoP will meet on the second Tuesdays of the month:  9/14, 10/12, 11/9 (fall) and 2/8, 3/8, 4/12 (spring).

Ketevan Kupatadze and Olivia Choplin present their project sponsored by the CRGE

To apply for a CoP, please email Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler by September 3. In your email, please include the following: 1) A statement of the proposed topic(s) of interest, with explicit connections to one of the CoP themes; 2) The rationale for researching the topic(s), clearly explaining the importance of the topic and how it addresses a gap in the field and/or influence practices related to developing students’ global engagement; and 3) A brief statement about how this research fits within your own research agenda and/or professional development plan (established or anticipated). Stipends of $300 will be awarded to successful applicants. Recent participants are welcome to apply again in order to develop and sustain work in progress.