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Important New Resources for Peer Groups

Peer group/discipline (PGD) meetings provide an opportunity for faculty to learn from each other and enhance the success of their students and colleges.


A peer group is a natural association of 12 or more faculty by discipline, position, or special interest. Adjunct faculty and classified staff are to be included when possible as members of the PGD. For a list of VCCS-sponsored peer groups contact Nancy Harris, Specialist for Professional Development.


To encourage:

  • intra/interdisciplinary collaboration
  • creativity
  • problem-solving
  • planning
  • networking discuss substantive issues related to:
    • discipline updates  
    • instructional innovations
    • curriculum revision
    • integration of technology

Each PGD will have the opportunity to meet every other year (with full funding) or every year (with partial funding).

PGD meetings are organized by a planning committee comprised of individuals in the discipline or PGD and representative of the discipline as a whole. It can be self-appointed or appointed by the VCCS Director of Professional Development.

Responsibilities of the PGD planning committee:

1. Consider the PGD rotation schedule, discuss the formation of a PGD planning committee, work with the system professional development office to schedule and carry out the meeting, and work with the Director of Educational programs on matters on academic and policy matters. The planning process could be facilitated by conference calling or teleconferencing.

2. Identify constituent groups of the discipline. For example, English is comprised of developmental reading, developmental writing, composition, literature, and ESL.

3. Orchestrate professional development offerings through designing the agenda for the PGD meeting. It is strongly recommended that the following issues be addressed:

  • discipline currency
  • technology advances
  • retention strategies
  • innovative teaching methodologies
  • career planning
  • organizational development

4. Use the conference planning materials found on this site.

  • Submit a tentative agenda of the proposed PGD meeting to the Director of Professional Development in the systems office six months prior to the meeting.


Guidelines for Communication Between Faculty Peer Groups and VCCS Administrative Organizations and Staff Members:

On March 27, 2007 the Academic and Student Affairs Council approved the following Guidelines for Communication Between Faculty Peer Groups and VCCS Administrative Organizations and Staff Members. Be aware of these guidelines as you plan, implement, and evaluate your peer group meeting.


For issues related to faculty peer group meetings, group members will continue to coordinate with the Director of Professional Development.  For academic and policy issues, faculty peer group members will utilize the following procedures to communicate with the VCCS Office of Academic Services and Research. 

1.  The Peer Group (hereinafter referred to as the group) must be recognized by the VCCS Director of Professional Development as a bona fide organization as evidenced by the scheduling of a VCCS-sponsored peer group conference for the group.

2.  Members of the group are responsible for determining how many members make up a quorum for voting on group issues, but wherever possible a quorum will consist of no fewer than nine (9) individuals.  

   a.In the absence of a quorum, the group may take no official action.  
   b.However, Individual colleges/faculty members may still bring forward concerns through the
      usual  mechanism via their senior academic officers.

3.  The results of all votes shall be documented in the official minutes of a business session conducted by the group – whether at a peer group meeting or via a conference call or virtual meeting.

4.  The group must elect/appoint one individual to speak as the spokesperson for the group.  The election/appointment of this individual must be endorsed by at least a simple majority of the group at a scheduled group meeting that contains at least a quorum of group members. 

      a. The spokesperson for the group will be responsible for all communications between the group
         and VCCS system office staff members with respect to academic and policy matters. 
        Adequate documentation of the matter must accompany any communication with the 
        VCCS system office staff member.

      b.  The spokesperson will also be responsible for providing VCCS system office staff members
           with evidence (minutes, email discussions, etc.) that s/he is bringing forward items of interest
           as determined by consensus of the majority of the group.

5.  The spokesperson will communicate action item requests and the accompanying documentation and rationale via email to the Director of Educational Programs for review and further action. 

      a. The Director of Educational Programs will direct the request to the proper individual(s)
          or organization(s) as appropriate, and will copy the group spokesperson on any 
          relevant communications relative to the matter under consideration. 

      b.  All action item requests should contain precise wording of the recommended action desired
           by the group.

6.  All information requests should be specific enough so that the matter may be properly addressed and so that the response will be useful to the group.

7.  Any action items that require discussion and approval by ASAC/ACOP/SBCC may take at least 6 months to work their way through the system.  The Director of Educational Programs will keep the group spokesperson informed as to the progress of the action item through the approval process.

8.  Any requests for information will generally take less than a month to be processed by system office staff.




Additional information about hotels and scheduling of the VCCS PGD meetings may be obtained from:

Nancy Harris
Specialist for Professional Development
Virginia Community College System
101 North 14th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
FAX: 804-819-4771

Additional information about program and design of the VCCS PGD/discipline meetings may be obtained from:

Nan Ottenritter
Director of Professional Development
Virginia Community College System
101 North 14th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


First Day

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Conference Registration

12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
Opening Buffet Luncheon with Keynote Speaker

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 1

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Afternoon Refreshment Break & Hotel Check-In

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 2

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 3

***Dinner on Own***

Second Day

7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Buffet Breakfast with Keynote Speaker (if applicable)

8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Wrap-up and Planning Meeting

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Concurrent Session No. 4

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Morning Refreshment Break & Hotel Check-Out

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 5

12:00 p.m.
Conference Adjourns



If you are a committee chair, please download the Audio-Visual Equipment Form.

If you are a presenter, please contact your committee chair if you have equipment needs. It is the responsibility of the chair to fill out this document and return it to our office.


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