Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows


Tenure-track junior faculty are invited to apply to participate in the Center for Teaching’s new Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program.

  • Fellows will be provided with a structured set of professional development activities designed to help them refine their teaching skills and learn to teach more efficiently. 

  • They will benefit from engaging in these activities in a community of other teachers, including senior faculty mentors and CFT senior staff.

  • Fellows will also receive $500 in research funds each to be used to enhance their teaching.

Applications are due July 12, 2010.  Up to eight Fellows will be announced to participate during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Please note that junior faculty members not selected as Fellows can still participate in most CFT offerings in an "à la carte" manner. Offerings for junior faculty are listed here.

“New faculty typically over-prepared lectures, taught defensively so as to avoid public criticism, and had few plans to improve their teaching.”
—Robert Boice, The New Faculty Member

David Owens

Program Activities

Fellows will engage in a variety of program activities sequenced to develop and refine their teaching skills over the course of the year.  These activities will help you make more effective and efficient use of your time on tasks you will be doing anyway—designing courses, planning lessons, and reflecting and writing about your teaching.

  • Course Design Working Groups—These groups will provide you with tools and feedback from your peers and from CFT senior staff as you design (or redesign) your future courses. Half of the Fellows will participate in a group in the fall (focusing on courses to be taught in the spring), and half in the spring (focusing on courses to be taught the following fall).

  • Individual Consultations—You’ll meet regularly with CFT teaching consultants to reflect on your teaching. The first consultation will provide an opportunity for you and your consultant to design a customized development plan, including refinement of how the funds provided to you by the program will be used.

  • Teaching Visits—You’ll visit the classrooms of senior faculty members to observe them teach, meeting afterwards to discuss their teaching choices with them. These visits are not intended to be critiques of the host’s teaching.  Instead, they are opportunities for the Fellows to reflect on their own teaching choices in response to the teaching choices made by the host in a concrete teaching context.

  • Dinner Discussions—You and the other Fellows will meet over dinner, provided by the CFT, twice a semester to share experiences with each other and with successful senior faculty members.

  • May Workshop—At the end of the year, you’ll have a chance to reflect on your growth as a teacher over the year and draft documents about your teaching for inclusion in future tenure dossiers.

“My CFT consultation reinforced the things that were going well and provided suggestions for improvement. Students recognized and appreciated the modifications for the second half of class.”
—Assistant Professor, Social Sciences

Small Group Discussion

Why Participate?

Research by Robert Boice (Advice for New Faculty, 2000) and others indicates that junior faculty often find teaching the most challenging and time-consuming part of their jobs.  Engaging in a structured set of professional development activities will help you become what Boice calls a “quick starter” in your faculty career.

The 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 the tenure and promotion process.

A 2006 survey of Vanderbilt faculty indicated that more than a third of tenure-track faculty spend more than 40% of their work time on teaching.

A&S Classroom

Application Process

Applicants should submit the following items through the submission form below. 

  1. Application Letter - A letter describing how participation in the program will support the applicant’s growth as a teacher.  This letter should describe the applicant’s past teaching experiences, and identify the applicant’s strengths as a teacher and areas for future improvement. The letter should also include a description of a course to be designed (or redesigned) during the applicant’s year in the program, as well as ideas for using the $500 in funds provided by the program.  Potential uses include books on university teaching, educational technology purchases, research assistants for course design work, and funds for traveling to teaching conferences.

  2. Teaching Statement - A brief teaching philosophy statement that reflects the applicant’s current approaches to teaching. This document need not be as refined as one used for tenure and promotion, but should communicate the applicant’s perspectives on teaching and learning.

  3. Letter of Support - A letter of support from the applicant’s department chair (or dean for applicants from schools without departments).  This letter should indicate the chair’s (or dean's) approval of the applicant investing the time required by this program as well as any measures that will be taken to complement the support provided to the applicant by the program.

Since the CFT promotes teaching as an ongoing and collaborative process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection, applicants will be selected primarily on the basis of how participation in this program will benefit their individual professional development trajectories.  The current quality of applicants’ teaching skills is less important than their interest in developing those skills through this program. In addition, while developmental activities are useful at all stages of the tenure-track process, this program is likely to be most beneficial to participants who have taught at Vanderbilt for at least a year.

Cherrie Clark

Application Form

To apply to be a 2010-2011 Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow, please complete the form below. Use the buttons to attach your application letter, teaching statement, and letter of support as Word or PDF documents. Note that applications are due by midnight on Monday, July 12, 2010.



For More Information

Questions about the program or the application process?  Contact Allison Pingree, Director, Center for Teaching at Allison.pingree@vanderbilt.edu or 322-7290.


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