In this issue


Upcoming Events


Managing the Paper Load: Grading Writing Efficiently and Effectively
Wednesday, September 18 12:10-1:00

Faculty Teaching Visit with Christopher Loss
Tuesday, September 24
9:30AM - 11:50AM

Students as Producers: Incorporating research and design into STEM classes
Wednesday, September 25
4:10PM - 5:30PM

Faculty Teaching Visit with Jay Clayton
Tuesday, October 15
9:35AM - 11:50AM

Beyond the Five-Page Paper: Representing Student Learning Visually
Wednesday, October 16
3:10PM - 4:30PM

Faculty Teaching Visit with Doug Fisher
Thursday, October 17
3:00PM - 5:00PM



Check out these recent posts to our blog.

The Mindful PhD: The Easy Way & The Easier Way

Students as Producers: An Introduction

Mindful PhD: A Beginning

Lessons Learned from Vanderbilt’s First MOOCs

CFT Proudly Welcomes the 2013 Cohort of Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows!







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September 2013

CFT Offers Teaching Visit Opportunity in September

The Teaching Visits program is an important way by which the CFT promotes collaborative inquiry and reflection. Specifically, the Teaching Visits program provides case-based opportunities for Vanderbilt teachers to consider choices they have when constructing their classes. Our first teaching visit is September 24th. To learn more about upcoming visits and to register, visit the CFT's Teaching Visit webpage.

Christopher Loss
Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Higher Ed, Affiliated Faculty Department of History
HOD 1800: Public Policy

Policymaking theory can be dry and unexciting, particularly to undergraduates studying it for the first time. In a class called The Policy Process at Work, Professor Loss will demonstrate how he uses history to bring policymaking theory to life. Using assigned readings, small group work, presentations and discussion, the class will explore the theory of policy organization and implementation through the study of the 1944 GI Bill. By combining history and theory, this class will be of interest to teachers, regardless of their background and training, looking for new ways to make abstract theories understandable to undergraduates.

Tuesday, September 24th
9:35-10:50am, followed by 1 hr discussion
Faculty of Any Rank REGISTER NOW

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Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Max L. Goldman

Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Max L. Goldman, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies, talks about his teaching philosophy and interests:

I teach a wide range of courses, from beginning language to graduate seminars and general lecture classes on both Greek and Roman material. This broad teaching must bear part of the responsibility for my research broadening from my earliest articles on the fragmentary Roman novel, the Satyricon, to a co-authored sourcebook on concepts of human difference in antiquity (Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World, Hackett 2013) and, currently, an article on enslaved entertainers in the classical Greek symposium. In my research and teaching I seek to understand antiquity by considering works, approaches and tendencies that reveal the multifaceted complexity of the ancient world and its study. I believe this complexity serves as a provocation and enticement to students and scholars alike.

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Monthly Lunchtime Conversations about Teaching Writing

“Teaching. Writing. Learning.” is a series of monthly lunchtime conversations for anyone who teaches writing at Vanderbilt to gather and discuss specific issues, hear an invited colleague briefly introduce a relevant best practice, hear a bit of about other research-based practices, share one’s own best strategies, and ask questions of all present. Sponsored by the Center for Teaching, the Writing Studio, and Heard Library.

Participating in the “Teaching. Writing. Learning.” series is easy!
Follow these three simple steps:

1. Bring your lunch, or buy it at Food for Thought across the hall from the Community Room in the Central Library.

2. Bring your relevant good practices to share.

3. Bring your questions and challenges.

This month’s conversation:

Managing the Paper Load: Grading Writing Efficiently and Effectively
Wednesday, September 18, 12:10-1:00
Community Room, Central Library
Invited Guest Speaker: Scott Juengel (English)

To learn more about the series or to see future topics, visit the TWL web page.

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Upcoming Conversation on Teaching Focuses on Students as Producers

Students, particularly undergraduates, are often seen as “consumers” of knowledge, memorizing information delivered to them by professors during class and then simply repeating it back on exams and essays. But we know that they can be “producers” of knowledge, as well, capable of generating meaningful, creative work, even within the confines of a semester-long course. This year, as part of our “Students as Producers” theme, many of the CFT’s events and workshops will explore “production” activities that can be embedded in a variety of courses. Learn more by reading Derek Bruff's blog entry about what makes a course a "Student as Producer" course.


Date: Wednesday, September 25th
Time: 4:10 – 5:30
Location: Center for Teaching
Facilitator: Cynthia Brame
Audience: Faculty, Students (Undergraduate and Graduate), and Staff

What do you consider to be the pinnacle of your field? For many of us, it’s the discovery of new knowledge or the design of a new solution to a thorny problem. We want our students to engage with these hard tasks—to do more than memorize existing results, to actually engage in aspects of the discovery process—but it can be challenging to fit these opportunities in credit-bearing courses.
This panel highlights three Vanderbilt STEM faculty members who have integrated compelling research and design questions into their courses.


John Ayers incorporates a service-learning project in which Geochemistry students research environmental contaminants in soil and water samples from North Nashville homes, producing environmental hazard reports for the homeowners.


Students in Mark Woelfle’s Genetics lab generate and characterize mutants in a key pathway for DNA synthesis and present their work in a journal-style article, clarifying their understanding of the pathway and the process by which our understanding grows.


Tom Withrow developed an entire course in Mechanical Engineering in which students designed, developed, and tested an amphibious vehicle to compete in the Model-Based Amphibious Racing Challenge.   This term, he’ll be teaching another edition of this course.

Join us to hear John, Mark, and Tom summarize these student projects and to discuss the challenges, benefits, and lessons learned.


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New BOLD Fellows Program Helps Develop Online Instruction

imageVanderbilt’s Center for Teaching and the CIRTL Network (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning;) share a mission to enhance excellence in undergraduate teaching. The CFT and CIRTL are partnering to offer the BOLD Fellows program.

2013-14 BOLD Fellow Teams


    Katherine Friedman
    , Associate Professor of Biological Sciences,
    working with Tessy Sebastian.

    Anita Mahadevan-Jansen
    , Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery,
    working with Zane Ricks.

    Doug Schmidt
    , Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
    working with Krzysztof Zienkiewicz.

    Kelly Holley-Bockelmann
    , Assistant Professor of Astronomy,
    working with Lauren Palladino.

    The program is designed to help graduate student-faculty teams build expertise in developing online instructional modules grounded in good course design principles and our understanding of how people learn. STEM faculty members partner with graduate students or postdocs to design and develop online modules for integration into a course, either as a tool to promote flipping the classroom, a module for a blended course, or a unit within a MOOC. The teams investigate the use of these modules, collecting data about the effectiveness of the module for promoting student learning.


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CFT Launches Mindfulness Blog

imageCFT Assistant Director Nancy Chick has just begun a weekly blog, The Mindful PhD, to 'bring the benefits of mindfulness to campus.' Addressing faculty and students, each post will share some of the research on mindfulness; some of the research on stress for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates; and a little of Nancy's story for context. Each post ends with a single, simple practice you can take with you—into your classrooms, your committee meetings, your grading sessions, your office hours, your research and writing times, and your transitions into your home life.

Get caught up by reading the first to Mindful PhD blog posts!

1st Post: The Mindful PhD: The Easy Way & The Easier Way
2nd Post: The Mindful PhD: A Beginning

Read the Mindful PhD Blog, "like" the Mindful PhD Facebook page, or follow the Mindful PhD on Twitter.

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