In this issue





Faculty Teaching Visit with Craig Smith, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs at Peabody College
Friday, January 30

Faculty Teaching Visit with Paul Kramer, Associate Professor of History
Thursday, February 12

Faculty Teaching Visit with Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Orrin H. Ingram Chair in Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Wednesday, February 18

Faculty Teaching Visit with Lorraine Lopez, Associate Professor of English
Tuesday, February 24







Check out these recent posts to our blog.

Seminar on Effective Teaching Strategies for International Faculty

Call for Proposals – Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: Filling the Void

Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Lily Claiborne

From the Director: Vanderbilt’s Course Management System and the CFT

Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Dan Morgan







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January 2015

Teaching Visit Opportunity in January

The CFT’s Teaching Visit program continues in January 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.

Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development

PSY-PC 1700: Social and Emotional Context of Cognition

In PSY-PC 1700, he works with students to understand how the ways we perceive the world impact  a variety of cognitive processes, guiding the students through considerations of the social construction of reality and how it affects human behavior. In this teaching visit, students are beginning a unit on prejudice and discrimination.  Craig will use a combination of lecture and discussion to help students consider the nature of racial stereotypes and how they are related to normal cognitive processes. In the post-visit discussion, we may discuss ways in which Craig structures the class to allow safe and open discussion about this and other difference- and power-related topics in the course.

Date: Friday, January 30th
Time: 11:10-1:25 (class, 11:10-12:25; discussion, 12:25-1:25)
Class location: Hobbs 100A
Facilitator: Joe Bandy
Faculty of Any Rank REGISTER NOW


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Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: John Bradley

Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, John Bradley, Senior Lecturer in English, talks about his teaching philosophy and interests:

"Whether in a one-on-one conference with a student in the Writing Studio or in the literature classroom, I aim to help my students harness the power of talk and the exchange of ideas as a central part of what it means to be an active participant in the production of knowledge."

I serve as an assistant director of the Writing Studio and as a senior lecturer in the English Department, and there’s a lot of shared ground between how I approach those roles. Whether in a one-on-one conference with a student in the Writing Studio or in the literature classroom, I aim to help my students harness the power of talk and the exchange of ideas as a central part of what it means to be an active participant in the production of knowledge. This extends to how I approach teaching the writing process, as well. I encourage my students to understand writing not as a solitary pursuit of the wee hours of the morning that they hand in to an instructor the next day, come what may, but as a process that should emerge from and lead back to discussion, all part of the academy’s much larger and ongoing exchange of ideas. Similarly, I want them to approach their writing—everything from a free-writing exercise to the drafting of an essay—as more than the task of recording their thoughts, but as medium of discovery and exploration itself, an opportunity to generate a new and exciting understanding for themselves of a text or some other object of analysis. In the English department, the courses I teach largely revolve around poetry, and as we explore the links between poetic form and content, consider a poem in light of its historical moment, or debate issues of literature’s efficacy in instigating political or social change, I work hard to create a classroom environment that fosters such moments of exploration and discovery that will bleed over from discussion into their essays.

In line with my experience as an administrator in the Writing Studio, I am also convinced that some learning will always take place most effectively one-on-one between teacher and student. Such meetings act as an essential opportunity for students to be heard, to ask questions, and for us to collaborate in working toward answers. Some of my greatest successes as a teacher have come from the extra time I have spent working one-on-one with students, and I enjoy nothing more than seeing a student leave a conference with me excited to get to work after having talked through the ideas he or she was so anxious about when first coming through my door.

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Upcoming Conversation on Teaching: The Teacher in the Movies

Description:, January 30

James Rhem, Ph.D.
Executive Editor, The National Teaching and Learning Forum


Everyone carries an image of the teacher within them.  Just as everyone brings  “prior experience” to any relationship, every new teacher starts out on his or her career path toting notions of what a teacher is like and what a teacher does and what teaching in college is all about. Where do these images come from? From the teachers we’ve known and been taught by, certainly, but also from collective cultural ideas of “the teacher.” This hour-long presentation traces the archetype of the teacher as reflected in and portrayed by movies produced in the last 60 years – from “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” to “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and more recent films as well. Touching on over a dozen movies, the presentation will explore the public idea of “the teacher” and its private reality as we each carry part of it into our work.  The archetype of the teacher is explored along three broad thematic lines – “generativity,” “authority,” and “community.”

Movies discussed include:

      • “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”
      • “Apartment for Peggy”
      • “Blackboard Jungle”
      • “Waterland”
      • “Mr. Holland’s Opus”

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Grad Students, Come Work at the CFT!


Each year the Center for Teaching (CFT) hires a number of graduate students as part of its efforts to mentor and train graduate students, including those serving as teaching assistants or instructors of record here at Vanderbilt as well as those interested in developing teaching skills for future faculty careers. The CFT has several types of positions available for graduate students for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Graduate Teaching Fellows – GTFs lead sections of the Certificate in College Teaching program; consult with graduate students about their teaching; facilitate workshops for graduate students at TA Orientation and throughout the year; and assist CFT senior staff with various ongoing and short-term projects, including the creation of online resources for the Vanderbilt teaching community. The GTF position is a 12-month position carrying a $24,000 stipend and graduate student health insurance. Learn more about the GTF Program.

Mellon Graduate Teaching Fellow– The Mellon GTF leads the seminar and practicum for the Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education program. Graduate student and post-doc participants in this program explore and develop teaching skills with special emphases on teaching in the humanities and teaching historically underrepresented populations, including first-generation college students and students of color. The Mellon GTF position is a 12-month position carrying a $24,000 stipend and graduate student health insurance, and is open to graduate student applicants in the humanities. Learn more about the Mellon Program.

WIDER Fellows – Funded by an NSF WIDER grant, these graduate students support the planning, implementation, and assessment of “An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching,” an open, online course designed for STEM graduate students and post-docs planning faculty careers. Graduate students with interests in STEM teaching and online teaching are encouraged to apply. The WIDER Fellow is a 10-month position carrying a $20,000 stipend and graduate student health insurance.

Teaching Affiliates – The primary responsibility for Teaching Affiliates is to lead a cohort of incoming TAs through a day-long workshop at August’s TA Orientation. These workshops familiarize new TAs with the challenges and opportunities of working at TAs at Vanderbilt and help prepare TAs for the first few weeks of class. Cohorts are divided by discipline, and so the CFT seeks Teaching Affiliates from a wide variety of disciplines on campus. The Teaching Affiliate position is an 80-hour position, with most of those hours occurring in August 2015, carrying a $1,000 stipend.

These positions are great opportunities for graduate students to refine their teaching and presentation skills and network with graduate students outside of their department or program.

Applications for all four types of positions are due by
4pm on Monday, February 16, 2015.

Learn more about each of these positions and apply online by visiting the CFT's employment opportunities page.

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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 has opened registration for upcoming course opportunities. These are free, online events for grad students and post-docs in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) interested in faculty careers. January sessions include the following:

FREE CIRTLCast Series: Educational Innovation and the Active Classroom

Hybrid/Flipped Teaching With In-Class Design and Build Activities
January 13, 2015
11:00 -12:00

Developing Active Learning Strategies for Your STEM Course
January 20, 2015
11:00 -12:00

Scientific Writing in STEM Classes as a Cognitive Apprenticeship
January 27, 2015
11:00 -12:00

For further information and to log in to the sessions, please visit

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From the Stacks...


Just in Time Teaching: Across the Disciplines, and Across the Academy
by Scott Simkins

Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) is a pedagogical approach that requires students to answer questions related to an upcoming class a few hours beforehand, using an online course management system. Students responses to JiTT questions make gaps in their learning visible to the teacher prior to class, enabling him or her to address learning gaps while the material is still fresh in students’ minds – hence the label “just in time.” This book provides faculty with  a broad overview of JiTT, introducing the pedagogy and exploring various dimensions of its use without regard to discipline. Part II of the book demonstrates JiTT’s remarkable cross-disciplinary impact with examples of applications in physics, biology, the geosciences, economics, history, and the humanities. 

Available in the Center for Teaching library.

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