Focused Inquiry Group

The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence will support the creation of five Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) to explore a variety of questions, issues, or concerns focusing on, for example, student learning and success, faculty and staff well-being, or creative approaches to community building. These are just a few examples.

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 brief 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 
  • *Optional* Prepare a presentation of the group’s work 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. The group leader will be responsible for facilitating the group’s work, coordinating meetings, and working with the group to prepare a presentation and write the final report. 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 four times. At least once before the end of the fall semester and at least once a month during the spring semester between January and March. The presentation of the group’s project at the spring colloquium is optional. Please send Chris Griffin a note by mid-February if your group wishes to present their findings during the colloquium.

Important Dates for the 2023-2024 Academic Year: (Subject To Change) 

  • August 2023: Call for participants 
  • September 2023: Applications reviewed, and FIGS formed 
  • October – November 2023: Scheduled meeting of FIG leaders with Brown Center director 
  • March 1, 2024: Colloquium submission deadline 
  • April 2024 (9:00 AM – 3:00PM): Colloquium on Teaching and Learning 
  • April 2024: Deadline for purchasing supplies/materials 
  • May 2024: Summary report due