Focused Inquiry Group

The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence will support the creation of five Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) to explore an aspect related to one of the following:  

  • Integrating antiracist writing into the curriculum 
  • Incorporating the Arts with STEM to create STEAM 
  • Making community engagement more accessible across the curriculum 
  • Using technology to improve academic advising 
  • Cultivating cultures of respect in the academy 

What Is A Focused Inquiry Group? 

A Focused Inquiry Group (FIG) is a small working group of 4 – 5 members who meet in person or online to work together on a specific question, issue, or concern. Collaborative inquiry provides an opportunity for participants to recognize common challenges and work together to create solutions.   

What Will A FIG Do? 

Facilitated by the group leader, a FIG will work together to: 

  • Create a space that facilitates collaboration and creative thinking 
  • Develop a critical question around a central theme or topic 
  • Find sources of data relevant to the question 
  • Gather data, if necessary, from members of the community (e.g., faculty, staff, students, administrators) via surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc. 
  • Critically review the evidence (e.g., reports, collected and published data) 
  • Create a final report that describes: 
    • The impetus for the group’s work and the question identified to drive the work 
    • How the evidence was used to guide the creation of an action plan (i.e., a well-defined description of the goal(s) to be achieved and steps that need to be taken to reach the goal(s)) 
    • Target outcomes 
    • Process for assessment of the effectiveness 
  • Prepare a presentation of the group’s findings and recommendations during the Brown Center’s Spring Colloquium on Teaching and Learning Innovation 

The principal goal of this work is to foster the creation of a space that 1) allows for the free-flowing exchange of ideas, 2) invites creative risk, and 3) yields an action plan that can be easily implemented and assessed for effectiveness. A FIG project should be manageable enough to complete over the course of a semester. A stipend of $300 is available for participants. A group leader will receive a $500 stipend. The group leader will be responsible for facilitating the group’s work, coordinating meetings, and working with their group to prepare a presentation and write the final report. The stipend will be received at the end of the academic year after receipt of the group’s report and presentation at the Brown Center’s spring Colloquium workshop. Additionally, each FIG will receive up to $500 to support the group’s work. (e.g., purchase of books, supplies, basic meals, refreshments, etc.). Meetings (60 -90 minutes) may take place anytime. A FIG is expected to meet at least eight times. At least once before the end of the fall semester and at least twice a month during the spring semester between January and March. The presentation of the group’s project at the colloquium in April 2022 represents the eighth and final meeting. 

Important Dates: (Subject To Change) 

  • September 2022: Call for participants 
  • October 2022: Applications reviewed, and FIGS formed 
  • October – November 2022: Scheduled meeting of FIG leaders with Brown Center director 
  • March 2023: Colloquium submission deadline 
  • April 2023 (8:00 AM – 5:00PM): Colloquium on Teaching and Learning 
  • April 2023: Deadline for purchasing supplies/materials 
  • May 2023: Impact report due