The Benefits of Professional Learning Communities
Get an introduction to the concept of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)! PLCs were first developed and used by K-12 teachers; however, Dr. Harmon highlights how they are helpful to use in any area and at any level of education. Through this presentation, audience members will learn how PLCs are beneficial tools to build a community of learners, both in person and online, and how they encourage a sense of belonging. Get tips for joining and engaging with PLCs in both formats. Dr. Harmon provides real-life examples of how to build, manage, and utilize PLCs for continued professional development. Furthermore, audience members will learn about PLC resources and online learning communities they can connect with right away.
Audience members will learn:
• the history of PLCs,
• the benefits of having PLCs, and
• best practices for creating and maintaining PLCs throughout professional careers.
Dr. Renée Harmon
Dr. Renée Harmon (she/her/hers) earned a PhD in Education and Human Resource Studies from Colorado State University (CSU), an MA in Communication from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a BA in Journalism from Western Illinois University, and an AA from Southeastern Community College. She also holds a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Administration from CSU. Dr. Harmon's research and interests include sustainability education, assessment, and literacy; online instructional design; nontraditional teaching and learning methods, including case-based instruction and service learning; higher education leadership; and community education. She began her work with professional learning communities (networks) as an Assistant Professor at Minnesota State University-Moorhead (MSUM), where PLCs were discussed and practiced in the educational leadership program. Dr. Harmon focuses on using PLCs for educators, graduate students, and sustainability/nonprofit professionals. While at MSUM, she received funding to develop The Leadership Lab (an example of a PLC), a collaborative project focused on connecting graduate students, faculty, and college staff to promote community, learning, and a sense of belonging. The group hosted monthly virtual coffee socials, participated in a campus open house event, and offered educational webinars that addressed topics such as navigating higher education and mastering graduate research and writing.
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