In this issue





Mellon Summer 2016 Accelerated Workshop
Seminar –  May 16th, 17th, 18th
Practicum – May 26th, 27th


Faculty Teaching Visit with Brooke Ackerly: POLSCI 3253 – Ethics & Public Policy
Thur, Feb. 4th
Time: 9:35am-12:00pm
Location: Class, Buttrick 102 Discussion, in room Buttrick 123


Crafting Effective Teaching Statements
Facilitator: Dani Picard, Senior Graduate Teaching Fellow
Date: Wed, Feb. 10th







Check out these recent posts to our blog.

Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Gabriel Briggs

BOLD Fellow Presents at 2015 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Conference

Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Anita Disney










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February 2016

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 Visits webpage.

Brooke Ackerly
Associate Professor of Political Science & Philosophy

POLSCI 3253: Ethics and Public Policy


Brooke Ackerly, Associate Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, has wide ranging research interests in democratic theory, feminist methodologies, human rights, and social and environmental justice. Her teaching, consequently, is in the areas of feminist theory and methods, human rights, contemporary political thought, and gender and the history of political thought. This Spring, we will be visiting her course, Political Science 3253: Ethics and Public Policy, which is focused around the question, “What is the right thing for us to do?” More specifically, it addresses local and global issues of climate change, poverty, and gender justice as contexts for theoretical arguments about ethics, justice, public policy, expertise, and responsibility in the nation and the world. Her teaching methods involve a mix of student engagement techniques including lectures, problem-focused discussion, debate, and other forms of collaborative learning.


Thursday, February 4th     
9:35am-12:00pm (Class, 9:35-10:50am; Discussion, 11:00am -12:00pm)
Buttrick 102 Discussion in room Buttrick 123
Vivian Finch

Faculty of any rank Register Here

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Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Abby Parish

Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Abby Parish, Nursing, talks about her teaching philosophy and interests.

I teach in Vanderbilt's graduate nursing program, instructing students who are Registered Nurses who are studying to become primary care nurse practitioners. I coordinate pharamacology, clinical pracitica, and mental health in primary care courses. My philosophy of teaching is based loosely on Margaret A. Newman’s nursing theory “Health as Expanding Consciousness” wherein people are viewed as fluctuating between health and illness in a pattern that is unique to them.

" I appreciate the notion that it is not my job to 'fix' students’ lack of knowledge, but to serve as facilitator for students’ growth and search for meaning. "

The role of the nurse is to assist patients whose patterns are disrupted or disordered by helping the person find meaning in their pattern (rather than correcting or “fixing” the pattern). I've found adapting this model of nurse/patient to educator/student to be useful for my faculty practice; students arrive with a lack of knowledge in the nursing domain, but they also bring a set of unique assets and life experiences. My role as educator is to provide learning opportunities that assist students in connecting with their strengths to build knowledge that will inform their future professional lives. I appreciate the notion that it is not my job to “fix” students’ lack of knowledge, but to serve as facilitator for students’ growth and search for meaning. My activities inside and outside the classroom aim to encourage and guide students on their unique paths to knowledge and meaning. I aspire to treat students with kindness and respect that acknowledges their individual value, even when their patterns are more disordered. My instructional design seeks to create safe places for knowledge acquisition through clarity of information and expectations. Perhaps most of all, I hope to model a spirit of lifelong learning in order to encourage students' growth beyond their time in my classroom.

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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 2016-2017 academic year.

Graduate Teaching Fellows – GTFs lead sections of the Certificate in College Teaching program and the Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education; 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.

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.

CiCT Program Facilitator
 – The CiCT Program facilitator will, alongside the Graduate Teaching Fellows, lead a section of the CiCT Program.  The facilitator will read and prepare lesson plans, lead weekly class sessions, and attend weekly meetings with the GTFs.  When the CiCT program is in session (6-8 weeks per semester), the approximate workload will be between 5-10 hrs/week.  The CiCT Program Facilitator position carries a $3,000 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 three types of positions are due by
5pm on Friday, February 26, 2016.

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

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Blackboard Drop-in Sessions to Feature Grade CenterBb

Blackboard support continues to offer email, phone, and one-on-one consultations, or Blackboard users can take advantage of our library of on-demand resources. Drop-in support hours continue to be offered Mondays from 1-3pm. If you missed our January sessions, we discussed grade column organization and inline grading. February spotlight topics are listed below, however you should feel free to bring your own questions and concerns to the drop-in support hours. We can answer your questions on any topic and provide technical support.

Drop-in support hours Mondays from 1-3pm

February 1 - Grade Center: Weighted Column
February 8 - Grade Center: Edit Column Information
February 15 - Grade Center: Rubrics
February 22 - Grade Center: Needs Grading
February 29 - Grade Center: Create/Total/Average Column

Please contact us at for more information.

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Crafting Teaching Statements Workshop for
Graduate Student & Postdocs

In this workshop, we will address best practices for writing a teaching statement/philosophy for the academic job market. This workshop is open to Vanderbilt graduate students & Postdocs from across the disciplines who want to improve their teaching portfolio materials. All teaching experience levels are welcome.

Date: Wednesday, February 10th
Time: 4:15-5:45pm
Location: Center for teaching
Facilitator: Dani Picard, Senior Graduate Teaching Fellow
Register for this workshop

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From the Stacks...


Linked Courses for General Education and Integrative Learning: A Guide for Faculty and Administrators
Margot Soven, editor

This book focuses on the learning community model that is the most flexible to implement in terms of scheduling, teacher collaboration, and design: the linked course. This volume covers both “linked courses” in which faculty may work to coordinate syllabi and assignments, but teach most of their courses separately, as well as well as “paired courses” in which two or more courses are team taught in an integrated program in which faculty participate as learners as well as teachers. The author and her colleagues present powerful illustrations and instructive case studies of effective pedagogy, programs and assessment approaches, and address the organizational structure challenges that can make learning communities more effective, sustainable, and widespread.

Available in the Center for Teaching library.

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