The Walden Junto Model: Supporting Faculty Communities of Practice

Concurrent Session 4
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Brief Abstract

Faculty development for asynchronous instructors is often delivered to large groups via a webinar or self-paced tutorial. For more complex instructional tasks, the traditional model is insufficiently robust, and it does not allow for reflection or resource dissemination. To address professional development gaps in offerings, the Center for Faculty Excellence developed the Walden Junto model, designed to meet the expressed interest among Walden faculty to share ideas with like-minded individuals in a structured setting. The Walden Junto model is based on Wenger’s (1998) concept of a community of practice in that it (1) focuses on a clear need for knowledge sharing; (2) incorporates a paradigm that supports the building of trusting relationships; and (3) supports the development of skills necessary for successful practice. Walden University as an institution supports the Walden Junto by providing key support elements include supporting the structure for University wide-involvement, soliciting faculty interest and input, supporting collaboration across disciplines, and encouraging ongoing learning through reflection and professional discourse.

In 2015, 8 Juntos were offered and served 121 faculty.

  • Doctoral Learning as a Transformative Process
  • Focusing on our Feedback: Strategies for Developmental Writing Instruction at the Capstone Level
  • Supporting Students’ Qualitative Analysis
  • Socializing Doctoral Students: Helping Students Become Professionals
  • Hold Steady or Let It Go? Emotional Regulation in the Online Environment
  • Supporting Mentors in the College of Education
  • Supporting Mentors in the College of Management and Technology
  • Challenges and Resources in Qualitative Dissertations


Laurel began her teaching life in 1994 as a high school English teacher in the Czech Republic. After completing her MFA in 2000, she taught developmental composition at the community college level for many years. While working toward her EdD at Hamline University, she took a job as a writing instructor for St. Scholastica’s MBA/MAM accelerated degree program. In that role, she taught APA writing and served as a capstone advisor. In 2008 Laurel took a job in Walden’s Center for Student Success (CSS) as a dissertation editor. For three years, she attended Walden Academic Residencies and worked face-to-face with Walden students. Upon completion of her doctoral degree in 2009, she became the program director for CSS courses. More recently, Laurel served as the General Education Coordinator in the Center for Undergraduate Studies supporting first term students and mentoring undergraduate faculty. Teaching is a form of learning. Laurel is a lifelong learner, and her students are her instructors. Creating cognitively nurturing spaces for adults in asynchronous settings has been the focus of her academic research and curricular development efforts. In 2014 Laurel co-authored the “Essential Guide to Critical Reading and Writing” with Drs. Annie Pezalla and Heidi Marshall. Writing is a form of thinking, and Laurel wants all of her students to be empowered to think well on the page.