In this issue







Check out these recent posts to our blog.

The Mindful PhD: On Another Planet

The Mindful PhD: It’s About Our Students

The Mindful PhD: Looking into the Fire

Students as Producers in Social Science Courses

Medicine and Magic: Students as Producers in the Humanities

How do you teach novice scientists to be thoughtful, critical researchers?

Vanderbilt ShareFest: Strategies for Communicating Complex Ideas

Forman Lecture on Physics Education: Learning Physics through Technology
















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View the latest video on the CFT YouTube Channel where you can hear more about the BOLD program from the faculty and graduate students from this year's cohort. Click the image to view the video.






















May 2014

From the Director:

By Derek Bruff, CFT Director

Two weeks ago, the Center for Teaching held a Celebration of Learning, the final event in our “Students as Producers” theme year.  Through a series of workshops, panels, teaching visits, teaching guides, and blog posts this year, we have explored ways to help students become not just consumers of information but also producers of knowledge, engaged in meaningful, generative work in the courses they take.

For our end-of-year event, we wanted to show the campus what “Students as Producers” look like, and so the Celebration of Learning featured an exhibition of 25 student projects from all four undergraduate schools.  Here’s just a sample of the student work on display:

  • As part of a course on the history of fashion taught by Alex Sargent, undergraduate Kelley Hines designed outfits that Marie Antoinette might have worn, outfits that reflected not only Marie Antoinette’s style but the fashions of other contemporary cultures.
  • Troy Morrow, an undergraduate in Jeffrey Johnston’s organic chemistry course, created an animation in PowerPoint designed to explain the concept of chirality in organic molecules using analogies, diagrams, and humor.
  • Undergraduates Kelsey Kaline and Sarah Sams developed a water conservation education program aimed at children, complete with cost analysis, as part of an environmental engineering course taught by Lori Troxel.
  • Julia Konrad and Chelsea Wigley, Master’s students in an education course taught by Barb Stengel, created multimedia digital stories that explored social and philosophical aspects of education in the United States.

The energy level in Alumni Hall was very high as the students presented their projects, and I heard several of the students say how much they appreciated the chance to share their work beyond their individual classes.  I want to thank the students involved in the event for participating and thank their instructors and mentors for helping them produce such interesting projects.

The Celebration of Learning also featured a keynote by Randy Bass, vice provost for education and professor of English at Georgetown University.  Randy challenged us to take a design approach to envisioning the university of the year 2030.  What kind of education will be needed at that moment of history?  He quoted Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, saying that the graduates of 2030 will need to be ready to work with new information and to solve unstructured problems—the kinds of things that computers won’t be able to do.  To prepare students for this, Randy argued that we need to leverage what we know about high-impact educational practices along with educational technology (open content, adaptive tutoring systems, etc.) to create a new curriculum, one that integrates the formal undergraduate curriculum as we know it with the experiential co-curriculum, where many high-impact practices already exist.

If this sounds at all interesting, take some time to watch the entire keynote by Randy Bass.  It’s full of great ideas and important questions.

The Celebration of Learning also served to celebrate the graduate students, post-docs, and faculty who completed CFT programs this year.  Our inaugural cohort of Blended and Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows presented the online learning modules they designed, implemented, and tested this year, and our SoTL Scholars shared their work in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).  We also recognized graduates of our Certificate in College Teaching program and this year’s Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows.

Keep an eye on the CFT blog over the coming weeks for more highlights from the Celebration of Learning as we wrap up our “Students as Producers” theme year.

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Certificate in College Teaching

Congratulations to the 41 participants who completed the Certificate in College Teaching this past year!

Sonia Brady
Emily Burchfield
Elizabeth Conrad
Chris Curran
Todd Doran
Christian Ehret
Kimberly Fisher
Katie Fritzdixon
Benjamin Galina
Kathryn Haley

Brielle Harbin
Chad Jackson
Jeff Jones
Sarah Kiningham
Kristina Kitko
Kelsey Laird
Sarah Lawson
Garrett League
Sung Uk Lim
Emilianne McCranie

Brian McKenna
Lucy Mensah
Miriam Mimms
Joseph Moore
Melissa Musser
Megan Myers
Lauren Palladino
Cori Perkins
Kristin Poole
Carly Schall

Shruti Sharma
Jianhong Shen
Blaine Smith
Uma Soman
Jamie Stanford
Andrew Tidball
Alex Walsh
Jennifer Yih
Shoukai Yu
Angela Zachman
Holly Zarick


We are now accepting applications for 2014-15. The purpose of the Certificate in College Teaching, co-sponsored by theCenter for Teaching and the Graduate School, is to assist graduate students and post doctoral fellows who wish to gain a clearer, deeper, more active approach to teaching and learning in higher education.

To receive a Certificate, participants must first complete the following:

• Seminar in College Teaching. A one-semester seminar which explores and develops teaching skills.

• College Teaching Practicum. A one-semester practicum in which participants enhance the effectiveness of their current teaching and assessment practices. If you have completed the Seminar and you are interested in Registering for the Fall 2014 practicum contact Tracy Tveit.

Application Deadline: Thursday, May 15th

For more details on the program or to apply, visit the CiCT webpage.

New for Fall 2014! The Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education is a special section of the CiCT reserved for humanities graduate students and post-docs as part of the Vanderbilt’s Mellon Partners for Humanities Education project. Like the CiCT, the Mellon Certificate program is comprised of a sequential seminar and practicum. Seminar participants will explore and develop teaching skills that promote learning within a diverse student body across a variety of settings—with an emphasis on the particularities of teaching

• historically underrepresented populations, including first-generation college students, underrepresented students, and students of color

• a specific humanities discipline, within a division of humanities colleagues, as part of a liberal arts curriculum on medium-sized or small public, private, and/or HBCU campuses.

For more details on the program or to apply, visit the Mellon Seminar webpage.

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Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows

The CFT acknowledges these junior faculty who participated in the JFTF program this year!

This year's Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows, left to right,
Markus Eberl (Anthropology), Max Goldman (Classics), Will Grissom (Biomedical Engineering),
Chase Lesane-Brown (Psychology and Human Development), Bryan Lowe (Religious Studies),
Gavin Price (Psychology and Human Development), Brian Widmar (Nursing), and
Courtney Young


We are now accepting applications for 2014-15. The CFT's Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program is designed to help you:

• Learn from the teaching experiences of colleagues at Vanderbilt.
• Develop skills that will enable you to analyze and improve your teaching over time.
• Enjoy the community of teachers at Vanderbilt.
• Learn to balance and integrate your teaching and research.
• Develop and improve materials for review and tenure processes.

Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows also will receive $2000 in research funds each to be used to enhance their teaching.

Tenure-track and non-tenure track, full-time faculty between their second and sixth years are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: Thursday, May 15th

For more details on the program or to apply, visit the JFTF webpage.

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Blended & Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows

The CFT honors the three faculty / student teams that created online instructional modules during the program's inaugural year!

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

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

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

We are now accepting applications for 2014-15. The BOLD Fellows 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 implement these modules in an existing class and investigate their impact on student learning. The Fellowship carries a modest stipend as well as funds for presenting the results of the work at a conference.

Application Deadline: Thursday, May 15th

For more information about the program, including a video from the inaugural group of BOLD Fellows and application information, see the CFT’s BOLD program page.

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SoTL Scholars

Congratulations to these participants who completed the SoTL Scholars program!

Vivian Finch
Min Gao
Myra Harbin

Dana Kan
Julian Ledford
Abbey Mann

Hasina Mohyuddin
Danielle Picard
Uma Soman


We are now accepting applications for 2014-15. The SoTL Scholars Program introduces participants to the principles and practices of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, an international, multidisciplinary field of disciplinary specialists studying student learning.

The program has two sequential parts, each of which is highly collaborative:

• a one-semester SoTL Seminar to explore the fundamentals of the scholarship of teaching and learning, including its major thinkers and texts, its key concepts and language, and its relationship to older forms of classroom research, and to ask meaningful questions about student learning and its relationship to teaching. (Fall semester: 8 sessions, 75 minutes each)

• a one-semester SoTL Practicum to develop and carry out a SoTL project (documented in either the first eight pages of a publishable SoTL paper or a 20-minute presentation of the project, ready for submission to a SoTL conference) and gain the skills for presenting the project in scholarly public forums, including relevant conference presentations and publications. (Spring semester: 8 hours over the semester, scheduled with fellow Scholars and director)

Participants may sign up for the Seminar only, but only those who complete the Seminar and Practicum will receive a Certificate in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Participants who complete the certificate will have the first eight-pages of a publishable SoTL article, a twenty-minute SoTL conference presentation, or a SoTL conference poster.

Application Deadline: Monday, August 25th

For more details on the program or to apply, visit the SoTL Scholars webpage.

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