Communities of Practice

A community of practice (CoP) is a mutually supportive group of professionals that focuses on sharing best practices through the creation of new knowledge in advancing a field of professional practice. As a structural model, the CoP approach offers a framework for creating learning communities to engage in sustained conversations focused on enhancing their professional practice.

In the higher education context, CoPs can “provide professional support for academics who are increasingly overwhelmed by continuous change, excessive workloads and research output demands” (McDonald & Star, 2006). Here at Saint Mary’s University, The Studio offers supports to assist faculty members in creating and facilitating their own communities of practice focusing on teaching, learning, and educational research.

If you have a suggestion for a CoP, or would like to lead or join one, please email

Exploring Innovations
in University Teaching and Learning

The primary purpose of this CoP is to encourage engagement and access expertise within the Saint Mary’s University teaching community. All sessions will foster collegial discussion and a sharing of ideas. 

This CoP will be co-facilitated by Nicole Conrad (Psychology), Paul Muir (Mathematics and Computing Science), and William Kay (Educational Developer, Studio). This CoP meets approximately once a month throughout the academic year, with each session being an hour and a half in length. 

CoP participants work together to identify a teaching and learning idea to champion for future sessions. Participants elected as champions for these ideas work with the CoP facilitators in developing the content and activities for their sessions.