In this issue




Upcoming Events







Check out these recent posts to our blog.


The Mindful PhD: After the Honeymoon

The Mindful PhD: Doodling & Knitting

Review Sessions: A Little Goes a Long Way

Last Week’s ‘T.W.L.’ Conversation on Teaching Writing: Low-Stakes, Written Reading Guides

Students as Producers + Educational Technology

BOLD Fellow Lauren Palladino Developes a Series of Online Astronomy Modules





Follow Us!

facebook logotwitter logo
Follow the CFT on Facebook
and Twitter!

Get the latest information about events, resources, and news from the CFT on Facebook and Twitter. You can “like" our Facebook page, which means that the latest CFT news will appear in your Facebook news feed. You can also “follow” the CFT on Twitter to read the latest news. (If you’re not using Twitter, here’s a three-minute video that explains why you might want to.)




Not a member of the CFT News and Events LISTSERV? Subscribe now to receive future newsletters.




February 2014

Teaching Visit Opportunity in February

The CFT’s Teaching Visit program continues in February with an opportunity for Vanderbilt faculty to sit in on the class of a colleague and participate in a small-group conversation about the choices we make as teachers. To learn more about upcoming visits and to register, visit the CFT's Teaching Visit webpage.

Professor of Law
Law 735: Evidence

Edward Cheng’s research focuses on scientific and expert evidence, and the interaction between law and statistics. Law 735: Evidence is a comprehensive survey of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the rules that regulate the flow of information to juries in the vast majority of trial courts. Professor Cheng uses a variety of teaching methods, including legal education’s signature pedagogy, the Socratic method, as well as lectures, discussion, role-playing, and case studies. Cheng varies his methods from class to class to keep the content—typically thought to be somewhat dry—fresh and lively and, more importantly, to help students see and understand how the rules of evidence are applied as real-time weapons used to craft arguments in court.

Wednesday, February 5th
Moore Room (Law School)
Facilitator: Derek Bruff

Faculty of Any Rank REGISTER NOW

Back to top

16th Annual GradSTEP Focused on Students as Producers

By Nayana Bose, Graduate Teaching Fellow

Vanderbilt faculty members have found a variety of ways to engage students as producers in their classes and guided students to produce work for authentic audiences. The CFT celebrated its 16th annual Graduate Student Teaching Event for Professional Development (GradSTEP) by focusing on our theme for this year, “Students as Producers." The day started with a plenary on "Students as Producers: Developing Dynamic Learning in a Virtual and Real-World Setting" by Dr. Cynthia Cyrus (Musicology) and Dr. Joe Bandy (Sociology) and their students, where we were introduced to two excellent but different approaches on how to engage students to produce "real and lasting public goods."

Dr. Cynthia Cyrus from Blair school of Music along with her student Arlyn Goodrich gave a really engaging and nuanced talk on creating a Wikipedia article for a major class assignment for the seminar course on Brahms. Apart from being a new way to engage students, the fact that the Wikipedia article would be read by "real" people incentivized students to do a thorough study of Brahms by taking a deep look into the life and musical repertoire of a particular composer, while at the same time learning how research is actually done.

Dr. Joe Bandy, his students Kelsey Kaline and Patrick Burton, along with Gary Gaston from the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) discussed the benefits and challenges of courses that engage students as producers of community service and empowerment. In this project, students gathered oral histories and produced short documentary films on environmental health issues in a cross-section of Nashville neighborhoods. These projects ultimately informed NCDC’s 2013 book Shaping Healthy Cities: Nashville.

Read more a about the GradSTEP plenary on the CFT blog

Back to top

CFT Thanks JFTF Alumni for Hosting Teaching Visits in January

The CFT thanks the following faculty members, who are alumni of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program, for hosting teaching visits this fall by graduate student and post-doc participants in the CFT’s Certificate in College Teaching program.








Back to top

Grad Students, Come Work at the CFT!

The Center for Teaching is now accepting applications for its 2014-15 Graduate Teaching Fellow and Teaching Affiliate positions.

  • Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs) are employed for the entire academic year, engage in a variety of CFT activities around training and supporting Teaching Assistants across the university, and are paid $20,000 August - May. NOTE: We’ll also be looking for an additional GTF specifically in the humanities to work with the CFT’s role in Vanderbilt’s new Mellon Partners for Humanities Education project.
  • Teaching Affiliates prepare and lead sessions at our annual Teaching Assistant Orientation in August, working about 70 hours total (mostly in August), and are paid $1000.

These positions are great opportunities for graduate students to refine their teaching and presentation skills, network with graduate students outside of their department or program, and develop expertise in training and supporting new TAs. Every year, our Teaching Affiliates and GTFs tell us how much they enjoyed and benefited from their experience working at the CFT.

Additional information and application instructions can be found here.
Applications are due Monday, February 17th.

Back to top

More & More Accessible Guides from CFT

The CFT has quietly rolled out a new organizational structure for our guides, online documents in which we synthesize and condense some of the research and resulting practices of specific topics in teaching and learning. If you go to the CFT Homepage and hover your mouse over the “Guides" drop-down menu, you'll see five categories:

    • Principles & Frameworks
    • Pedagogies & Strategies
    • Reflecting & Assessing
    • Challenges & Opportunities
    • Populations & Contexts

This new structure offers a simpler way to find the materials you need. There are multiple paths to many guides, making it even easier to find resources. These guides support our mission by contributing to two main areas in our programs and services:

  • Identifying, sharing, and advocating for research-based practices in university teaching and the resources that support them, and
  • Fostering campus conversations on teaching and learning that are informed by national and international higher education developments.

We have an ongoing process of revising existing guides and developing new ones, so keep your eyes open for announcements here. If you have any questions or comments, or if we can help facilitate a conversation using any of our guides, please contact us at 322-7290.

Recently Added Guides

Blended and Online Learning
Flipping the Classroom
Mindfulness in the Classroom
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
Writing Good Multiple Choice Test Questions
Incorporating Research into Credit-Bearing Science Courses

Back to top

From the Director

By Derek Bruff, CFT Director

Read the Excerpt

Earlier this week, the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative released the 2014 Horizon Report, an annual report on current trends in technology in higher education. One of the six key trends identified in this year’s report is the shift from students as consumers (of information, of content, of knowledge) to students as creators.  We were thrilled to see our own “Students as Producers” initiative mentioned in the report as an example of this trend.  (There we are on page 15!)  We see this shift from consumer to producer as an important mechanism by which we make sure a university education is a meaningful, authentic, deep learning experience for our students, and we’re glad the Horizon Report’s expert panel highlighted this growing trend in higher education.

Speaking of experts, I wanted to say a few words about the keynote speaker at the final event in our Students as Producers theme year, a Celebration of Learning scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, April 21st, in Alumni Hall. Our speaker is Randy Bass, vice provost of education and English professor at Georgetown University.  At Georgetown, he is responsible for curriculum quality and development, as well as innovation in education and technology-enhanced learning.  He was the founding executive director of Georgetown’s teaching center, the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), and continues to serve there as a senior scholar for pedagogical research.

Randy Bass

Randy has led a number of multi-institution initiatives that connect with our “Students as Producers” theme.  He served as creator and director of the American Studies Crossroads Project, an early and influential effort to explore the use of new technologies in American Studies funded by the Department of Education’s FIPSE program.  Randy was director and principle investigator of the Visible Knowledge Project, a digital humanities and learning project spanning twenty universities funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies.  And he was co-leader of the Social Pedagogies Project, funded by the Teagle Foundation, in which faculty at ten campuses explored teaching strategies that connect students with authentic audiences.

If you would like to get a sense of what Randy will share in his keynote—and his incredibly engaging presentation style—watch his 2011 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative talk, “The Problem of Learning in the Postcourse Era.” His 2012 EDUCAUSE Review article, “Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education,” covers similar ground and is a provocative read.  And his introduction to the Social Pedagogies Project, “Designing for Difficulty: Social Pedagogies as a Framework for Course Design,” co-authored with Heidi Elmendorf, has been instrumental in the development of our “Students as Producers” theme year.

I hope you’ll be able to join us on April 21st at our Celebration of Learning for Randy Bass’ talk—and for the exhibition of student learning.  More on that component of the event in next month’s newsletter.

Back to top

CIRTL Network Development Opportunities

Description: Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is an NSF Center for Learning and Teaching in higher education. CIRTL uses graduate education as the leverage point to develop a national STEM faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of successful professional careers. CIRTL has opened registration for upcoming course opportunities. These interactive, synchronous, online learning experiences allow you to connect with other graduate students and post-docs from the CIRTL Network universities across the nation. Februarysessions include the following:

February 6

Teaching Scientific Literacy to Undergraduate Students

Using Primary Literature to Teach Science Literary to Introductory Biology Students

February 20

Teaching Scientific Literacy to Undergraduate Students

Modeling and Wikipedia Entry Writing in Upper Level Biology

February 26

Large Undergraduate STEM Classroom

Incorporating Service Learning into the Large Undergraduate Classroom

February 27

Coffee Hour
Leveraging Diversity 

Creating an Inclusive Classroom II: What our Latino/a Students Have to Say

Back to top

From the Stacks...


The Art of Learning to Teach: Creating Professional Narratives
by Mary Beattie

The goal of this text is to help teachers to create and recreate their professional knowledge through reflection and inquiry. Readers are given the opportunity to examine and consider a variety of possible responses to teaching and learning situations, and to relate their thinking to their own experience and developing professional knowledge. Readers are invited to reflect and respond individually and collaboratively to what they read, and to document their reflections, responses, and ongoing inquiry. In this way, teachers can use what they learn to build their own unique professional knowledge in teaching, and to plan their future actions and professional practices.

Available in the Center for Teaching library.

Back to top

Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
1114 19th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212 | 615-322-7290

Click here to unsubscribe from the CFT News and Events LISTSERV
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.