September 2023
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Vanderbilt Open Classroom '23

Vanderbilt Instructors Open Their Classroom Doors

September 11th to October 6th

Would you like to watch one of your colleagues teach to see how they manage the classroom, engage students, or address challenging subjects? Do you ever feel like you toil privately to learn how to teach? You're not alone.

Too often in higher education, we instructors do not have the opportunity to watch and discuss each other's teaching, and therefore, we struggle in what Lee Shulman has called "pedagogical solitude." The Center for Teaching has long worked to change this isolation by creating occasions for our pedagogical community.

Thanks to the willingness of over thirty well-respected and awarded teachers across Vanderbilt's many disciplines to open their classroom doors, faculty and graduate students will have the privileged and unique opportunity to observe their colleagues. 

Open Classroom '23 will occur between September 11th and October 6th, with each visit concluding with a CFT-facilitated 30-minute post-class discussion immediately following their visit.

To see the complete list of classes and to register, see the Open Classroom webpage.

Generative AI’s Impact on Teaching and Learning Workshop


Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Stable Diffusion have taken over the world of higher education in the past few months. While some instructors see these tools as helpful aids to teaching and learning, others worry about inappropriate use by students and how to address that. Given that AI is being put into many tools that we interact with regularly in search engines like Google and Bing, productivity & office software like Google Drive & Microsoft Office, and a seemingly endless number of educational technologies, many people will have a hard time avoiding AI in the coming months and years. This workshop plans to explain the basics of how these tools actually work, some common opportunities and limitations of current AI technology, and how to discuss appropriate and inappropriate generative AI usage with your students. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:
-Explain the basics of how generative AI tools like ChatGPT work
-Identify opportunities for using these tools in the teaching and learning process
-Formulate plans to discuss generative AI usage with students

Date: Wed, September 20th
Time: 11 AM- 12 PM

HIPS Workshops

Throughout this academic year, we will offer a series of workshops organized around various “high-impact practices” (HIPs) as defined by extensive research by the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).  Using millions of data points collected via the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), HIPs are those teaching practices that have demonstrated significant educational benefit for students, especially those who are historically underserved and underrepresented in higher education. These practices include: capstone courses and projects, collaborative assignments and projects, common intellectual experiences, diversity/global learning, first-year seminars and experiences, internships, learning communities, service learning, community-based learning, undergraduate research, and writing-intensive courses. We will advertise workshops on these subjects throughout the year in coming editions of the newsletter, but for September, we will be offering this workshop:

Nurturing Excellence: A Workshop on How to Mentor and Advise Students

Research shows that mentorship and advising play a crucial role in shaping the academic, professional, and personal growth of students. This workshop aims to provide educators, mentors, and advisors with essential tools, strategies, and insights to guide and support graduate students on their academic journey effectively. Interested participants should register here.
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Welcome, Boni Yraguen!

Join us in welcoming our newest member of the staff, Boni Yraguen, Instructional Consultant. Originally from Oregon, Boni is an alumna of the University of South Alabama in Mechanical Engineering. She holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, specializing in Thermal Fluid Sciences, specifically Diesel Combustion. Boni's academic pursuits also encompass the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Engineering Education. Her research delves into designing engineering assessments for higher-order critical thinking, integrating technical-reflection in the engineering classroom, fostering STEM faculty development, and graduate education. Boni has experience in teaching and developing both undergraduate and graduate lecture and lab courses. While her interests are diverse, her passion lies in teaching and engaging with students. During her leisure time, you can spot Boni embarking on road trips with her hairless cats (Fig and Oliver), practicing Kickboxing, or mastering a new craft, presently quilting. At the CFT, Boni’s primary role will be to assist with our programs for graduate instructors, but she will support many of our faculty programs and services as well. Please join us in welcoming Boni to the CFT!

Welcome our new Senior Faculty Fellows!

The Provost’s Office for Faculty Affairs and Professional Education (OFAPE) has appointed two Senior Faculty Fellows, Lily Claiborne (Earth & Environmental Sciences) and Pavneet Aulakh (English), who, for part of their time this year, will be offering workshops and mentorship as part of our Open Classroom and New Faculty Teaching Academy. Please join us in welcoming them!

Pavneet Aulakh has been a faculty member in the Department of English since 2014. In addition to composition courses on poetry and drama, he has taught on Chaucer, Shakespeare, the kinship joining Renaissance science and imaginative literature, and pre-modern conceptualizations of race and nationhood. Before completing his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he developed a love for working with, and learning from, students as both a high school English teacher and an instructor of English as a foreign language. With 25 years of classroom experience, he joins us as a Senior Teaching Fellow eager to think collaboratively not only about the pleasures of the profession but also how the challenges it routinely poses can generate pedagogical innovation.
Lily Claiborne is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in Earth & Environmental Sciences.  Lily teaches courses in geology, community engaged science, and geological filmmaking, where she centers inclusive practices and active learning.  She loves the classroom, but especially values opportunities to get students into the field, where the neat and tidy knowledge they gain the classroom is challenged by the messy and imperfect natural world, so often transforming understanding and building students’ sense of confidence and belonging.  When wearing her scientist hat, she uses the chemistry and textures of rocks and minerals to understand the magmatic plumbing systems that underlie modern and extinct volcanoes. Lily has been part of CFT programs in the past as both a Graduate Teaching Fellow (2011-12) and Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow (2014-15), and we are very happy for her to return in this new role.

Queer Teaching, Queer Thriving

The Center for Teaching and the K.C. Potter Center for LGBTQI Life are proud to offer a 2023-2024 learning community about ways campus educators may help LGBTQI students to thrive academically and socially. Open to all faculty, graduate students, and staff of any background, the learning community will discuss a wide variety of issues: the needs of LGBTQI+ students and faculty on campus, the complexities of gender and sexual identities, inclusive course design and teaching practices, building LGBTQI+ community, as well as educator wellness and self-care. The formats of the meetings will vary, including pedagogical colloquia, panels, and workshops, among others. As a learning community with multiple, thematically-linked events that inform each other, we hope participants attend as many as schedules permit. If you are interested in joining the discussions please register for the learning community at this link

Welcoming New Faculty!

Once again, we want to thank all of you who attended our new faculty orientation, Teaching at Vanderbilt (TAV), as well as the Just-in-Time Teaching (JITT) Conference August 21-22. We were gratified to have such good attendance at both events, with 51 new faculty from 28 disciplines attending TAV and a total of 91 participating in the 7 JITT workshops. More, we were genuinely excited, both to meet so many thoughtful educators who bring diverse expertise and backgrounds to Vanderbilt, and to have such engaged discussions about teaching.  We hope you will stay up-to-date on all of our programs and services via this newsletter, and come visit us whenever you would like to grow in your teaching.
Vanderbilt University is committed to providing universal access to all of our events.
Please contact Juliet Traub at or 615-322-7290 to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

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1114 19th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212
Phone: 615-322-7290 Fax: 615-343-8111
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