In this month’s edition of the Open Dore newsletter, authored by Vanessa Beasley, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Residential Faculty, we are reminded of the importance of discovery as an integral part of Immersion Vanderbilt. The deadline is nearing for those students who enrolled at Vanderbilt in the fall or summer of 2018 to submit their plans. The new degree requirement was born from a desire to provide all students with a deeper, more complete educational experience. The program is a crucial component of the Academic Strategic Plan and offers a chance to differentiate a Vanderbilt education in important ways that will meaningfully impact our students time on campus and prepare them for future success.
Susan R. Wente
Interim Chancellor and Provost
Immersion Vanderbilt Reaches a New Milestone by Vanessa Beasley
I can still remember the first time that, as a researcher, I realized I knew something that no one else knew. I was writing my dissertation, working in that space between reading everything I could find on my topic and trying to decide what—and how—I would contribute to that literature. The more I read, the more I worried it had all been said before…and then one day, I knew my findings were different, and my argument was important.
Whatever your scholarly discipline or affiliation, I would bet many of us have memories of a similar experience of discovery: the realization that you, your colleague or teammate has found or created something new, something that will add to or perhaps even change what counts as knowledge in your field. It’s why many of us want to work at a research university.
As I have written before, Vanderbilt’s commitment to discovery extends to our undergraduate students and the ways we invite them to be part of its processes. Because we are preparing them to be the next generation of leaders in their chosen fields, we want them to experience deep learning and think innovatively while they are here.
That’s a primary goal of Immersion Vanderbilt and why it’s a degree requirement moving forward. Discovery should be baked into undergraduate education for Vanderbilt students, whether that’s in a lab, in the studio, an archive, an internship, another country, a volunteer opportunity, in the library or in preparation for military service.
To meet this goal, the Office of Immersion Resources is actively advising our current sophomores and first-year students who are making plans for Immersion Vanderbilt experiences. The deadline for those enrolled at Vanderbilt in the summer or fall of 2018 to submit an individual plan is April 1, meaning each student must identify the type of experiential learning they want to pursue as well as a faculty adviser.
Some Immersion Vanderbilt experiences are already in place and available to students through existing degree programs or the opportunities database. In addition, throughout March, there will be several events for students to learn more about what an Immersion Plan is, how to submit it and what happens next.
As we all learn more about Immersion Vanderbilt alongside the first cohort of students to experience it, it will be important to keep thinking about these processes too as part of discovery. We already know that each of us plays a role in the robust, rigorous undergraduate education Vanderbilt is known for. The next step is for us to invite all of our students into the more individualized and intellectually rewarding processes of asking new questions and finding new answers.
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Dean of Residential Faculty
Standards of Conduct updated to reflect changes in law, emerging issues
Open Mind: Many voices make our One Vanderbilt stronger
Vanderbilt to develop plans for new on-campus university residence as part of FutureVU
Stanley Cohen, Vanderbilt biochemist who won Nobel Prize, has died
Survey on Vanderbilt foreign relationships opens for all federally funded faculty
Workshop to examine impact of global marketplace on Western classical music
Vanderbilt commits to first-of-its-kind renewable energy partnership with TVA, NES
Vanderbilt Software Carpentry boot camp set for March 5–6
Apply to be an orientation leader, welcome new students next fall