April 2023
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JFTF Spotlights

Each year, the CFT highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows (JFTF). This month, Lynn Punnoose share about her work in the JFTF program.
Lynn Punnoose, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Director, Vanderbilt Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant Fellowship Program:
I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt and a cardiologist specializing in advanced heart failure. I am passionate about education both for our faculty and trainees, and I am most interested in building our curricula to address practice and knowledge gaps in our field...[READ MORE

Course Design Institute on
Inclusive Teaching

We invite you to join in our Course Design Institute on the theme of Inclusive Teaching. This event will have an in-person component for those in the area but will be available virtually via Brightspace and Zoom, May 8 – 11 (9am-4pm Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and 9-12:30pm Thursday). During the four-day institute, participants will (re)design courses with careful attention to the ways they can help all students thrive through greater belonging and engagement. In the institute we will explore a variety of facets of inclusive teaching, especially…
  • Motivating and challenging all students
  • Engaging a diverse range of voices and perspectives
  • Helping all students better understand – and cooperate across – differences
  • Developing trusting and productive dialogues about difficult subjects
  • Providing accessible and supportive assignments and activities
  • Closing performance and persistence gaps
  • Ensuring all students are meaningfully involved in their own learning and growth
Throughout the Institute’s events, participants will…
  • Learn strategies for designing courses in which learning objectives, activities, and assessments foster inclusion and equity
  • Work collaboratively in a mix of small- and large-group sessions to refine and apply these strategies to diverse teaching contexts
  • Expand a peer network of Vanderbilt educators dedicated to inclusion and equity
  • Develop a (re)designed syllabus and course plans for the coming semesters

    If you are interested in attending the Course Design Institute on Inclusive Teaching, please register here. If you have further questions, please contact the CFT’s Joe Bandy or Stacey Johnson.

2023 Ivy+ Teaching Transformations Summit

Since 2017, colleagues within the Ivy+ community have partnered to produce a one-day event for graduate students invested in changing the teaching culture in higher education. The 2023 Ivy+ Teaching Transformations Summit will be hosted online to bring together graduate students from research universities across the country who are committed to teaching and educational development.

The event will take place on Zoom on Friday, April 28 at [12-3pm ET / 11am-2pm CT / 9am-12pm PT].  Register now for this exciting event.

What will happen at this event?
During Teaching Transformations, you’ll be able to connect with colleagues about pressing questions and topics in teaching and learning in higher ed. The main event will be unconference-style discussions, where you will get to determine the shape and direction of your conversations, based on the concerns and passions you bring to the table. You’ll emerge from the experience with new ideas for your own institution, and an expanded perspective of what’s possible in higher education more broadly. 

If you are interested in joining the summit, please register by Monday, April 17. You will be contacted soon after this deadline to confirm your attendance at the 2023 Teaching Transformations Summit and provide more guidance about what to expect.

Please feel free to contact Ransford Pinto, Assistant Director of Graduate Programs, if you have any questions about this opportunity.
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CFT Working Group: Syllabus Preparation for New Faculty 

Congratulations to those graduate students and postdocs starting new faculty positions this year! The beginning of a new faculty position is exciting and comes with new expectations for course development. The CFT hopes to ease this transition by helping graduate students and postdocs who will start new faculty positions create their syllabi in advance of the upcoming school year. As such, this 4-week virtual learning community will provide camaraderie, resources, and accountability for the work of syllabi development. Our first session will include a brief presentation about Understanding by Design for course development (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998), introductions of group participants, and goal setting for the duration of the group. At each subsequent meeting, participants will spend two hours co-working using the Pomodoro Technique. We will start the session by sharing our progress on syllabi development goals, discussing any obstacles, and committing to goals for the co-working session. After this discussion, we will work in 20-minute blocks alternating with 5-minute breaks. During our last 10 minutes, we will discuss our accomplishments during the working sessions and set goals for the next meeting. 

Meetings will begin Friday, April 7th, and occur via zoom, for 4 weeks, on Fridays from 11 AM to 1 PM. Each meeting will be for 2 hours. Please email Julie Sriken with any questions or for more information. Please register here
This workshop is open to Vanderbilt Graduate Students and Postdocs who are starting new faculty positions in the Fall.

International Teaching Assistants Working Group

Teaching in a college classroom creates many new opportunities; it also carries with it certain challenges.  This is especially true for international students. For this reason, the Center for Teaching is excited to offer an international TA working group.  

This working group will be a four-week virtual learning community.  Our first session will focus on understanding how our intersectional identities shape how we think about teaching and learning. Moreover, we will dedicate a portion of this session to empowering our identities as international scholars and being aware that these identities can serve as frames of reference to understand what is happening in the classroom.  We will provide space to discuss and work through some of the unique challenges of serving as an instructor while being an international student. This will lead to our second session, where we will focus on the culture of American classrooms and the “Unspoken Truths” about American classrooms.  We will discuss the main characteristics of the US classroom and reflect on how this differs from our previous understandings and prior experiences in our home countries.  The learning goal of our third meeting is to develop pedagogical skills to advance international graduate students’ adaptation to the US classroom and to provide international TAs with a space for building their own tools for better performance.  For our final session, we will wrap up and reflect on what we have taken from this learning group and offer a panel of experienced international professionals that will be available for questions and to share their journeys.

Session 1: Wednesday, April 5th  
Session 2: Wednesday, April 12th  
Session 3: Wednesday, April 19th  
Session 4: Wednesday, May 3rd  (non-mandatory) 

Please email Eugenia Zavaleta or Nauff Zakaria with any questions or for more information. Please register here
Vanderbilt University is committed to providing universal access to all of our events.
Please contact Juliet Traub at
cft@vanderbilt.edu or 615-322-7290 to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

©2023 Vanderbilt University · The Center for Teaching 
1114 19th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212
Phone: 615-322-7290 Fax: 615-343-8111
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