In this issue




Check out these recent posts to our blog.

SoTL Spotlight: Public Performances of Learning

Teaching Demonstrations: Advice and Strategies

SoTL Spotlight: Teaching & Learning Inquiry

Ask Professor Pedagogy: Lonely Office Hours

Video Asks “TAs: What Does Peabody Want?”






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May, 2013

CFT Host the Celebration of Teaching is this
Friday, May 3rd

The Center for Teaching and the Graduate School will honor the achievements of the Vanderbilt teaching community at the annual Celebration of Teaching on May 3, 2013 from 10:00am to 4:00pm in The Commons.  The event is open to Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the year in teaching and learning!

Even though the reservation-onlylunch is full, you can still come to one of our concurrent sessions covering topics of interest to the Vanderbilt teaching community, as well as a poster session that will showcase projects by participants in the CFT’s Teaching Certificate program and SoTL Scholars program. No RSVP is required for concurrent sessions – just join us!

Concurrent sessions include:

View the complete schedule here.

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Reflections from SoTL Scholar Sarah Parker Collier

SoTL (the scholarship of teaching and learning) is an academic movement in which an instructor investigates student learning with a scholarly question in mind about “what works” or “what is/what it looks like” in the classroom. The challenge, as brilliantly posited by Shulman, is moving towards the scholarship of teaching (and learning), not just scholarly teaching. SoTL investigates how we foster student learning through our teaching approaches by asking good questions and gathering evidence from students about their learning, our teaching practices, and often discipline-specific challenges.  Then, we share our findings with the greater academic community.  In this way, SoTL is a collection of conversations about teaching and learning.

“Scholarly teaching is what every one of us should be engaged in every day that we are in classroom, in our office with students, tutoring, lecturing, conducting discussions, all the roles we play pedagogically. Our work as teachers should meet the highest scholarly standards of groundedness, of openness, of clarity and complexity. But it is only when we step back and reflect systematically on the teaching we have done, in a form that can be publicly reviewed and built upon by our peers, that we have moved from scholarly teaching to the scholarship of teaching.”  -Lee Shulman, 2004

Sarah Parker Collier

As a participant in the inaugural SoTL Scholars Program, I’ve had the opportunity to have a voice in this growing SoTL conversation. Asking questions about my teaching is simple: How could I present this information so students don’t fall asleep? But learning to ask a question that relates to my specific classroom context yet addresses significant obstacles in science education more broadly is a completely different animal.  With a background in the sciences, I approached the SoTL Scholars Program with an analytical mind but grew to love the real application to student learning. Of course, with any research project there are numbers and facts, but learning is deeply personal and relational, and the core of learning is about people.

My participation in the Program has also introduced me to a fantastic cohort of colleagues across campus, colleagues who are vivacious and excited about the future of teaching and student learning.  At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 SoTL Scholars program, I walk away with a significant toolkit to evaluate my teaching practices that will enable me to continue to contribute to the global conversation on student learning.

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Apply to be a SoTL Scholar!

 The Center for Teaching invites applications for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Scholars Program for the Fall of 2013.

The Program is designed to help graduate students cultivate a scholarly, evidence-based approach to their students’ learning and their own teaching. Participants will design and carry out a SoTL project (individual or collaborative) in their own classroom, in a peer’s classroom, or in a faculty host’s classroom.

The Program spans two semesters, meeting approximately eight times each semester in a collaborative, cross-disciplinary workshop setting and resulting in a conference poster, presentation, or publication for each participant

Deadline for applications is September 9th. For more information and to apply, visit the SoTL Scholars Program web page.

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CFT Says Farewell to Stacey Kizer

By CFT Director Derek Bruff

Last Friday the CFT said good-bye to our program coordinator, Stacey Kizer, who is moving on to a position outside of Vanderbilt. Stacey was with us just over two years, during which time she oversaw publicity, logistics, and assessment for most of our orientations, workshops, and events—greatly enhancing the efficiency of many of our internal processes. Stacey’s database skills were particularly valuable here at the CFT. She managed to aggregate years of participation data into a single, functional database that will shed light on our practices and impact on the Vanderbilt campus for years to come.

Stacey was also instrumental in the revision of our teaching certificate program for graduate students and post-docs. This program, now called the Certificate in College Teaching, was significantly restructured this academic year, largely due to Stacey’s work making sense of six years of assessment data on the former program and a comparison with similar programs at peer institutions. As a result of her work, the new program is now attracting more participants than we have capacity—a good problem to have!

We’ll miss the creative, analytical, and practical approach Stacey brought to all her work at the CFT, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.

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The American University Meets the Pacific Century: A Talk by Nancy Abelmann on April 3rd

Professor Nancy Abelmann is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages & Cultures, and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in Humanities, Arts, and Related Fields at UIUC.

Professor Abelmann is a well-known scholar of contemporary Korean and Korean-American society. Prof. Abelmann's most recent book, The Intimate University (Duke 2009), looked at the experiences of marginalization faced by Korean American students at the University of Illinois, the public university with the largest number of international undergraduates in the United States.

Professor Abelmann's talk, "The American University Meets the Pacific Century: Notes from Illinois," will present her research and extend its lessons to consider international students from Asia in the changing global landscape of the 21st century American university.

The event is hosted bythe Asian Studies Program and will take place on April 3rd at 4:10pm in Wilson Hall

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From the Stacks...


Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College, 2nd Edition

From the publisher...
The second edition of Effective Grading—the book that has become a classic in the field—provides a proven hands-on guide for evaluating student work and offers an in-depth examination of the link between teaching and grading. Authors Barbara E. Walvoord and Virginia Johnson Anderson explain that grades are not isolated artifacts but part of a process that, when integrated with course objectives, provides rich information about student learning, as well as being a tool for learning itself. The authors show how the grading process can be used for broader assessment objectives, such as curriculum and institutional assessment.

Available in the Center for Teaching library.

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