Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Vanderbilt Resources
The Center for Teaching offers a wide range of resources to enhance teaching and learning at Vanderbilt: professional consultants, graduate teaching fellows, a robust web site, and a well-stocked library with holdings catalogued in ACORN for easy reference, among others. Vanderbilt instructors will need additional resources when meeting their teaching responsibilities; this document addresses particularly common resource questions.
For more information on resources and policies, see the Vanderbilt Resources and Teaching Vanderbilt Undergraduates pages.
Where can students improve their writing skills?
The Writing Studio at Vanderbilt (343-2225) provides all undergraduate students the opportunity to meet with trained writing consultants to discuss individual writing concerns, from invention to drafting to revision. The Studio provides a space for students to discuss work-in-progress, to create their own writing, and to utilize available writing resources.
- Where can students go to get some extra help with course material?
The College of Arts and Science provides no-cost tutoring services to undergraduate students taking classes in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, mathematics, physics and foreign languages. Other offerings include workshops near the beginning of each semester on topics such as "Study Skills," "Critical Thinking and Reading," and "Thinking Scientifically," in addition to tutored study halls coordinated with the above named departments. See the Tutoring Services website for more information on the scope of their services.
My students often turn to Google for research and then cite popular web sites rather than legitimate sources in their papers. How can I help them learn how to do valid academic research?
Librarians offer individual research and assignment review consultations. They also will teach course-related, assignment-based sessions for your classes. These sessions include topics such as how to use research databases and how to tell the difference between popular and scholarly articles and websites. Contact your subject librarian for more information. See also this brochure about what librarians at Vanderbilt can do for you.
Where can I learn more about working with student athletes and the support services available to them?
The Accommodating Student Athletes in the Classroom teaching guide on the Center for Teaching's website is a good place to start. Other resources include the Stratton Foster Academic Center (343-0444) which provides academic support for student-athletes, and this Student-Athlete Resources web page.
How can I help a student with a disability?
The Opportunity Development Center (322-4705) provides information about accommodating disabilities of many types. The Psychological and Counseling Center (322-2571) provides help with study skills and academic tutoring for students with learning disabilities.
The ODC suggests the follow statement be included on all syllabi: "If you need disability related accommodations for this course; if you have emergency medical information to share with me; or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to speak with me, as well as the Opportunity Development Center (2-4705) as soon as possible."
What if I suspect that a student has cheated or plagiarized?
All Vanderbilt students are governed by the Honor System of Vanderbilt University. The Faculty Guide to the Honor System offers useful information, including Honor Council procedures, faculty responsibilities and a sample statement for use in syllabi. The "Honor System" section of the faculty manual (downloads as a PDF) also addresses this issue and makes it clear that instructors should neither punish nor excuse Honor Code violations themselves. Instead, they should refer cases to the appropriate Honor Council. See the CFT's teaching guide on cheating and plagiarism for more information.
What if a parent calls me for his or her child’s grades? What if a coach calls me to determine if a player is meeting academic requirements? What if students ask me to post their grades after a test?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, protects the privacy of students' academic records. In short, grades are to be given to individual students only, and they alone can approve the sharing of their academic information with third parties. See the student privacy section of the University Registrar's web site for more information on this and other applications of FERPA. The "Privacy Rights of Students" section of the faculty manual also addresses this issue.
- I don't know how to interpret my student evaluations from last semester; where can I go for help?
The Student Evaluations teaching guide on the Center for Teaching's website is an excellent place to start. The guide contains suggestions for making sense of the data in your student evaluations, summaries of what the research says about student evaluations, and a wide variety of resources on the topic. We also invite you to contact the Center for Teaching to set-up a consultation with one of our staff members to talk about your student evaluations.
What technology for classroom management is available at Vanderbilt?
OAK (Online Access to Knowledge) technology provides a set of tools that enhance students' academic experience, including the course management system powered by Blackboard and other technology-related tools that mediate learning. Workshops and tutorials in using OAK are offered by the colleges and schools of Vanderbilt; see OAK for information on a wide variety of OAK-support resources.
- Where can I go to learn about using "clickers" in my Vanderbilt classroom?
Classroom Response Systems (CRS), sometimes called personal response systems, audience response systems, or simply "clickers" are sets of hardware and software that facilitate a variety of classroom activities that promote student learning. See the Classroom Response Systems teaching guide on the Center for Teaching's website for more information, including information on technical support by school.
- Where can I find class rolls and photos of my students?
You can access your class rolls using Vanderbilt's Online Grading Tool. This tool gives you information about who is enrolled in your class (with a photo of each student) and allows you to establish a class e-mail list. It's also used for submitting grades at the end of the semester.
- A student has asked me to have dinner with him, and I suspect that he may be interested in something more. Is socializing with students inappropriate or unprofessional?
Consensual sexual relationships are prohibited between a student and any faculty member, teaching assistant, or administrative staff member who teaches, supervises, evaluates, or otherwise is in a position to exercise power or authority over that student. This policy is detailed in the University Principles and Polices section of the Faculty Manual under “Consensual Sexual Relationships,” page 114 of the printed manual, or page 54 in Part III of the online Faculty Manual.
- What if a student is the victim of sexual assault or dating violence?
The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center provides information and services for such victims. See its Project Safe web site or call (615) 322-4843.
- What if I suspect that a student is suffering from depression, an eating disorder, alcohol abuse or some other personal problem?
You may want to refer the student to the Psychological and Counseling Center (322-2571). See their “Students in Distress” brochure for tips on referring. The PCC’s website provides a helpful online tool entitled “Self-Exploration Questions” that may help students decide whether or not they need professional assistance. Another important source of support are the Associate Deans in the undergraduate schools, listed on the Teaching Vanderbilt Undergraduates page.
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