In this issue











Upcoming Events

Faculty Teaching Visit: HIST 2835: Sexuality and Gender in the Western Tradition
Monday,  November 2nd
Calhoun 103

Graduate Student & Postdoc Workshop: Enticing Glimpse into Your Classroom: Crafting an Effective Teaching Portfolio
Wednesday, November 18th
Center for Teaching






Check out these recent posts to our blog.



New CFT Teaching Guide on Group Work


Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Anna Richmond, Nursing


Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Anand Vivek Taneja


Making the Most Out of Educational Videos

Three things I learned while writing about test-enhanced learning









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November 2015

November Teaching Visit Opportunities

The Teaching Visits program is an important way by which the CFT promotes collaborative inquiry and reflection, providing case-based opportunities for Vanderbilt teachers to consider choices they have when constructing their classes. A small group of visitors observes a host’s class on a selected day and then engages in an hour of conversation with the instructor about the strategies used in class.

Douglas ClarkKatherine Crawford
Professor of History and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies

HIST 2835: Sexuality and Gender in the Western Tradition

Katherine helps students come to understand the complexities of social and historical construction of gender and sexuality in Western culture.  There is a special focus on the ways that sexual practices and gender roles change over time as impacted by different forces of politics, war, and religion, among others.  Katherine will use a combination of lecture and discussion.  In the post-class conversation we will discuss many themes of teaching gender and sexuality in effective and inclusive ways, which will contribute to ongoing professional development opportunities around questions of teaching, difference, and power.

Date:               November 2nd
Time:              12:10-2pm (Class, 12:10-1pm; Discussion, 1-2pm)
Room:             Calhoun 103
Facilitator:   Joe Bandy

Faculty of Any Rank REGISTER NOW


Lisa GuentherLeigh Gilchrist
Assistant Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Human and Organizational Development

HOD 3221: Health Service Delivery to Diverse Populations


The goal of the class is to help students achieve a deeper understanding of the connection between health delivery and social context.  Leigh uses a combination of lecture, collaborative group work, and service learning.  In the post-class discussion we will have opportunities to address the challenges and opportunity of group work, experiential learning, and community engagement with students.

Date:               November 12th
Time:              1:10-3:25pm (Class, 1:10-2:25pm; Discussion, 2:25-3:25pm)
Room:            Mayborn 105
Facilitator:  Joe Bandy

Faculty of Any Rank REGISTER NOW

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Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlights:
LaTonya Trotter and Courtney Cook

Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, LaTonya Trotter, Sociology, and Courtney Cook, Nursing, talk about their teaching philosophy and interests.

LaTonya Trotter

I am a medical sociologist.  However, most of my students are future physicians, nurses, and engineers, not social scientists.  Therefore, my course goals are less about imparting the sociological canon and more about helping students learn to question the taken-for-granted nature of medical knowledge and bodily illness.  My primary goal is for students to develop an awareness of social structure, even in those aspects of life we think of as being governed by objective facts. What are the social processes that have conspired to create our current diagnostic categories or the organization of physician training?  What kinds of analytical strategies can we use “to see” the effect of forces we cannot directly touch or measure?

Developing an awareness of social structure is not something one memorizes from a lecture; it is something one practices.  My students practice this awareness through reading, discussing, and writing about contemporary cases ranging from the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome to the epidemic of heroin addiction.  Through a sustained analysis of these cases, students are able to better understand how a society’s values and ongoing conflicts are reproduced through seemingly objective medical categories and institutions.

I hope that developing my student’s sociological perspective is more than an academic exercise, but is one they can use to tackle the kinds of problems they will encounter in their own careers.  Because I want to build a sense of connection between what happens in the classroom and the larger world, I have begun to challenge myself to expand the audience for student work. For the last few years, I have asked students to submit a portion of their written work as content for a classroom blog.  I find that when students are writing for their peers rather than a secret missive to me, their narrative tone shifts—writing for an actual audience raises their level of engagement and broadens the scope of their arguments.  I get immense value out of seeing what our undergraduates are capable of when they stop “turning in homework” and start advancing ideas.  The longer I teach, the more convinced I become that asking students to create content “for my eyes only,” is a wasted opportunity.  I am currently experimenting with ways to expand the viewership of student work outside of the classroom, so stay tuned!


Courtney Cook

My interest in teaching developed as an extension of my clinical practice. In my former role, I practiced full time clinically as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NSICU) at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Hospital System. Through this experience, I was able to interact with medical students and residents. I eventually became clinical faculty at UNC School of Medicine where I taught third and fourth year medical students during their neurology clerkship in the NSICU. I was captivated by their passion for learning and commitment to helping care for critically ill patients. Eventually, I realized that teaching made me a better clinician and vice versa. I decided to pursue my doctorate in nursing to equip myself with the skills and credentials to be able to pursue an academic role. My passion is for clinical practice. I realized that individually the impact I can make on patients is somewhat limited, however, if I can contribute to educating 70 (+) nurse practitioners a year, suddenly the effect on patients’ lives increases exponentially. At Vanderbilt, I have been able to have a dual appointment so that I can teach and continue to practice clinically.

I teach N6102 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology in the Master of Science in Nursing program. Specifically, I work with Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) and Adult-Gerotological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) students who will ultimately practice in the Emergency Department or Intensive Care Units. After my first year of teaching, I identified two challenges which motivated me to apply for the Junior Faculty Teaching Fellowship. First, we have multiple entry points ranging from prespecialty (students with a degree in another discipline who complete an accelerated year of nursing education at the RN level) and nurses with decades of experience. Second, we have a hybrid program with both local and distance students. Meeting the students’ needs based on different points of entry and scientific backgrounds has been challenging. Also, engaging students at a distance is something I am motivated to explore to ensure they are receiving a valuable, well-supported experience.

My teaching philosophy focuses on fostering an environment where information from the classroom is consistently applied clinically. It is imperative for students to create connections between course material, critical thinking, and application. I try to emphasize the value of our patient population and seek to inspire students to have a central focus on helping others. I find this motivates students to study, participate in diverse clinical experiences, and retain information because they have a sense of purpose. Instead of focusing on a grade, they focus on preparing to become a competent provider who can help the critically ill.

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THATCamp Vanderbilt: Explore the Digital Humanities November 6-7


This weekend marks the fourth annual THATCamp Vanderbilt, which will occur this Friday and Saturday, November 6th and 7th, at the Vanderbilt Curb Center for Enterprise and Public Policy, located at 1801 Edgehill Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the THATCamp Vanderbilt website to see the latest schedule developments and to register:

THATCamp, which stands for “The Humanities and Technology Camp,” is an open meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together. Instead of a formal conference, THATCamp is an “unconference” where everyone participates, including in the task of setting an agenda or program. The goal is to focus on productive, collegial work and free-form discussions. Participants are encouraged to use session time to create, build, write, hack, and solve problems or questions.

THATCamp Vanderbilt welcomes graduate students, scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and programmers, K-12 teachers, administrators, managers, and funders, as well as people from the non-profit sector, people from the for-profit sector, and interested amateurs.
If you can’t attend in person, you are also welcome to attend virtually via Twitter through #THATCampVU. Participants are encouraged to share notes, projects, documents, pictures, and other materials from THATCamp discussions before and after the event.

Since this is an unconference, while we do have some planned segments, we will also be developing sessions based on your suggestions.  This year will feature keynote speaker Elonka Dunin, an award-winning game developer and noted cryptographer, who will speaking about Wikipedia.
Vanderbilt 2015 THATCamp is co-sponsored by the Center for Second Language Studies, the Center for Teaching, theCurb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, the Jean and Alexander Heard LibrariesRobert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning. We look forward to seeing you at THATCamp this Friday and Saturday, November 6-7.

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Upcoming Blackboard Support OfferingsBb

Drop-in Support Hours for November/December
Blackboard Support at the CFT will be offering drop-in times in November and December for faculty, graduate students, and staff using Blackboard. Come get technical and pedagogical support from a team of Blackboard specialists during our drop-in support hours:

Monday            11/2/15  1-3pm  
Monday            11/9/15 1-3pm    
Monday            11/16/15 1-3pm
Monday            11/30/15  1-3pm    
Monday            12/7/15 1-3pm
Monday            12/14/15 1-3pm

Taking our Blackboard Workshops on the Road!
Many of you have visited us for Blackboard trainings and drop-in hours here at the CFT. What you may not know is that we have also taken that support model on the road to various centers and departments across campus. If you work with a group that you think might benefit from a tailored training/support experience, we would love to visit them wherever they may be housed on campus.

We have three 30 minute training sessions to choose from (Creating and Grading Assignments on Blackboard, Using Media on Blackboard, and Academic Integrity Tools for Blackboard) that we are excited to share. After our presentation, the Blackboard support team can remain on site for 30-60 minutes to work one-on-one with faculty, TAs, staff, or whomever, helping to solve problems and work on specific courses.

Please contact us at for more information.

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Upcoming Teaching Workshops for Graduate Students & Postdocs

richard coble

An Enticing Glimpse into Your Classroom: Crafting an Effective Teaching Portfolio

In this workshop we will gather and select documentation to help capture your unique approach to teaching. As a participant, you will receive individualized feedback on your documents which will help you determine how best to describe your pedagogy and to discern which items highlight your effectiveness as a teacher. This workshop is open to Vanderbilt graduate students from the departments of English, Creative Writing, and Philosophy.

Date: Wednesday, Nov 18th
Time: 3:30-5:00pm
Location: Center for Teaching
Facilitator: Kirsten Mendoza, Graduate Teaching Affiliate

Graduate Student & Postdocs Register Here

Description: for the Millennial Learner

Never far from an Internet connection, today’s university students move indiscriminately between the online and physical realms. The presence of these “digital natives” (Prensky, 2001) on college campuses nationwide—and the attendant fear that our work as researchers and educators will be indecipherable to them—has fueled a number of initiatives in higher education, from changes in course management platforms to the nigh ubiquitous job postings for digital humanities scholars. Yet, the urgency that undergirds these calls for innovation ignores the hybridized experience of Millennial Learners. In this workshop, we will explore techniques for engaging digital natives using improvisation techniques. Participants will learn about relevant research in teaching and learning before moving through a series improv exercises adapted for the classroom.

Date: Monday, Dec 7th
Location: Center for Teaching
Facilitators: Ben Galina & Jane Hirtle

Graduate Student & Postdocs Register Here

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Graduate Fellow Wins Poster Award at Health Professions Education Research Day

By Dani Picard, CFT Graduate Teaching Fellow

krimmHannah Krimm, PhD student in Hearing & Speech Sciences and a BOLD Fellow, recently received the Blue Ribbon Poster Award at the 2015 Gerald S. Gotterer Health Professions Education Research Day (HPERD).   

Hannah’s poster, entitled “Effect of an Online Learning Module for Transcription and Phonological Awareness,” is based on the study and development of the learning module she completed with her mentor, Melanie C. Schuele, Associate Professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences, as part of the BOLD Fellows program.

Judges awarded Hannah the blue ribbon based on the poster's content/project design (e.g., clarity of writing, soundness of conclusions, potential impact on education) and on artistic design/impression (e.g., use of color, readability, overall visual attraction).

In reflecting on her project, Hannah explained that she chose this project because she believed her Hearing and Speech Sciences students could benefit from an online learning module. She explained, “the best way to address the persistent gap between research and clinical practice is to educate exceptional practitioners. In my field technology does not seem to be leveraged to its full potential for the purpose of pre-service and in-service education. I wanted to build blended and online learning into my skill set with the ultimate goal of using technology more effectively to make real changes in clinical practice that result in better outcomes for kids with speech, language, and literacy needs.”

As part of the program, Hannah developed learning goals and objectives that helped her design assessment and instruction targeted at her learning goals. She explained that the BOLD program has also helped her revise other lesson plans: “The BOLD program really helped me to clarify the path from desired outcomes, to assessment, to instruction. It has informed my teaching and given me a framework with which to design courses. I have created some additional online learning modules to supplement assigned readings, and the feedback from students has been generally positive about this method.”

When asked about her biggest takeaway, she stressed the importance of experimenting with educational technologies as a way to focus on student learning outcomes: “I knew we weren’t using technology as effectively as we could, but I was surprised by everything that technology CAN do. It is amazing how much data you can collect on student learning to inform your teaching using online tools.”

Congratulations to Hannah for this award!

You can learn more about Hannah’s project and learning module on the BOLD website.

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BOLD Fellows Program Now Accepting Applications for 2016Bb

The BOLD Fellows program is designed to help graduate student/faculty teams build expertisein developing online instructional modules grounded in good course design principles and our understanding of how people learnSTEM 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 to supplement an existing course.

The teams implement these modules in an existing class and investigate theirimpact on student learning. The program is a collaboration between Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching and the CIRTL Network (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning). Example projects are described in the BOLD project gallery.

This two-semester program is divided into a “design and development” semester, in which Fellows receive intensive training and support as they develop their module, and an “implementation and assessment” semester. We are currently recruiting Fellows to begin the program in January for implementation and assessment in the following Fall semester. The Fellowship carries a modest stipend as well as the opportunity to apply for travel funds to share this work at a conference. 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.

Applications are due December 4; decisions will be made by December 15.

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