May 2023
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From the Director: Reflecting on your teaching

As this academic year concludes, it is a time to breathe deep, relax our stressed minds, and reflect upon all that we have accomplished this year. Having worked with literally hundreds of Vanderbilt faculty throughout 2022-23, we at the Center for Teaching can attest to the colossal effort educators across all schools and ranks have given to meet today’s teaching challenges and to engage our students in meaningful learning. Whether it has been in our many consults, our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program, the Certificate in College Teaching, or our learning community on Anti-Racist Teaching, we have seen your passion for your disciplines and your students as you seek to improve. At this end-of-the-year moment filled with a mixture of summer anticipation and spring exhaustion, we want to celebrate all you have achieved in your teaching, and to thank you for co-creating with us such a supportive teaching community.

This said, we know that, given the academic preoccupation of intensive self-criticism, you are likely thinking about how your teaching could improve. Indeed, we tend to fixate on the negative – that one discussion that fell flat or that one assignment that could have been clearer. Soon, you also will receive student evaluations, which, however positive, may spark even more self-criticism. Please know that we are here for you when these moments of evaluation arise.

One of the most useful services we offer at the CFT are consultations on student evaluations. In these consults, typically educators share their student evaluations with us so that we can help interpret student ratings or comments, sort and prioritize criticisms, and of course develop strategies for improvement. We also can aid educators as they try compare student evaluations with other evidence of student challenges and success, particularly in preparation for professional review. Lastly, these consults can involve longer-term, holistic planning around the development of your teaching philosophies and practices (for instance, embracing a range of inclusive teaching practices). Educators across campus find these consultations to be immensely helpful, so we hope you will contact us to schedule one when you are ready. To learn more about all of our consultation services, please click here.  Have a great summer!

Brightspace Updates

There have been a few important updates to Brightspace in the last two months. We would like to share updates that impact the experience of using the awards, lessons view, and quiz functions.
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JFTF Spotlights

Each year, the CFT highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows (JFTF). This month, Divya Chaudhry shares about her work in the JFTF program.
Divya Chaudhry, 
Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies (Hindi-Urdu):
I am a senior lecturer in Hindi-Urdu at Vanderbilt University, passionate about teaching Hindi and Urdu languages, as well as South Asian culture. My instructional decision making can be best described as intentional and reflective, centered on meeting the needs of learners, with the ultimate aim of fostering learner autonomy... [READ MORE]

New Book Edited by CFT Assistant Director, Stacey Johnson

Check out this recently published book edited by the CFT’s own Assistant Director Stacey M. Johnson. Entitled How We Take Action: Social Justice in PK-16 Language Classrooms, this volume brings together practical examples of social justice in language education from a wide range of contexts. Even language teachers who want to teach in justice-oriented ways may find it challenging to teach in ways they did not experience as learners and have not observed as colleagues. This book seeks to increase language instructors access to resources by featuring the work of 59 different authors including teachers and researchers at every level from Pre-K to postsecondary, representing different backgrounds, languages, and approaches to classroom practice.

Self-Registration Courses in Brightspace

Self-registration courses are Brightspace courses into which anyone with a VUNetID can enroll as a student. These courses cover a variety of topics and come from different offices, centers, and departments on campus. Find out how to register yourself for a course here.

We hope you will self-register for the three Brightspace model courses! These courses contain much of the same content to walk you through how to design and build a great course. However, they use three very different approaches to course design to give users an idea of how many options are available to you in Brightspace.
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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