September 2022
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From the Director, Joe Bandy

As many of you may already know, Derek Bruff is stepping down as Assistant Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching in order to pursue other job opportunities.  We wish to thank him for his leadership and for his commitments to improving teaching and learning across the university.

In this moment of change, know that all of us at the Center for Teaching remain committed to our mission and offering the effective and innovative programs and services you have come to expect from us.  The excellence of the CFT has never been the product of one person, but the legacy of a scholarly, caring, and creative staff, past and present, who have worked to support Vanderbilt’s educators and advance higher education.  The CFT also would not be what it has become without the many inspiring and guiding contributions of Vanderbilt’s administration, our peer leaders of centers on campus and across higher education, and mostly the many faculty, staff, and students who constitute Vanderbilt’s pedagogical community.  As it has for 35 years, the CFT will continue to be a caring and imaginative partner for you as you seek to expand your educational perspectives and practices, and through that, transform yourselves, your students, and our broader world.

While we will ensure continuity in our core values and principles, we at the CFT also are excited to approach this moment of change as an opportunity for reflection and growth, so that we can remain at the forefront of innovation and better serve the Vanderbilt community.  The ever-changing character of higher education, as well as the scale and speed of social challenges we all confront, demand nothing less. 

At the beginning of this new academic year, I as Interim Director invite you to reach out to us and learn how we might help you and your students explore opportunities for growth and meet the challenges of teaching and learning in this changing world. 

Upcoming Workshops

The Center for Teaching will be offering a variety of workshops on specific teaching technologies. Some upcoming virtual events include the following workshops:

TopHat Polling
Date: Tues, September 13th
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm
TopHat Interactive Textbooks
Date: Wed, September 14th
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm
Perusall                                  Date: Tues, September 14th
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm 
Check out the Brightspace workshops page for up-to-date information and registration links. 

Unstick your Syllabi: A talk by Dr. Megan Goodwin

The CFT and Jewish Studies are proud to co-sponsor a talk by Dr. Megan Goodwin, most recently a visiting scholar at Northeastern University’s Department of Philosophy and Religion. Dr. Goodwin’s research and teaching stands at the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, religion, pop culture, and politics in the United States. She is the author of Abusing Religion: Literary Persecution, Sex Scandals, and American Minority Religions (Rutgers 2020) and has taught a variety of creative and engaging courses at Northeastern University, Bates College, Elon University, and the University of Southern Maine.  She completed an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation postdoc in Creative and Innovative Pedagogy in the Humanities at Bates College (2014-16) and her teaching has been featured in Women in Higher Education and Sowing the Seed.  Dr. Goodwin will discuss creative approaches to course design, accessibility, and fostering student engagement.  The talk will be from 12:00-1:00pm, September 19th, in Room 202 in Alumni Hall.  Lunch will be provided.  We hope you can attend!
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Teaching, Difference, and Power Learning Community: Anti-Racist Teaching

This academic year, the CFT is co-hosting a learning community with Meredyth Wegener (Neuroscience) on anti-racist teaching with the goal of better understanding how higher education systems, teaching and learning practices, and our disciplines can resolve rather than reproduce racial marginalization and exclusion. Discussion will largely focus on the challenges and opportunities white anti-racist educators confront, but all are welcome to attend regardless of identity, discipline, or expertise. The meetings will be grounded in a set of critically reflective writing exercises and dialogues recommended by BARWE (Building Anti-Racist White Educators), yet we hope participants will feel free to co-create learning goals and content as we proceed through the academic year. The topics will we address are open, but will likely include teaching in predominantly white institutions, histories of whiteness, the way social structures of racism impact higher education, inclusive and equitable teaching, practices of interracial partnership, and strategies of teaching about race and racism, among others. Throughout, we hope participants will engage one another in a co-creative, in-person process of open inquiry into their teaching philosophies and strategies, and all the while provide one another with community, accountability, and encouragement.  If you are interested in joining the discussions please register for the learning community at this link.  If you have any questions, please contact

New Quiz Experience Resources

The CFT has produced resources that will help you prepare to use the new quiz editing experience. These two in particular will help you get your course off to a great start:

Introduction to the New Brightspace Quiz Interface: Video
How do I Use the New Brightspace Quiz Experience?: Guide

TAO (Teaching Asssistant Orientation) Success

From August 15 to 17, the CFT hosted a three-day Teaching Assistant Orientation (TAO) to help prepare new Teaching Assistants for their new teaching duties that could include grading, consulting with students during office hours, leading a discussion or problem sessions, teaching labs, or giving lectures. This year, a total of 265 new TAs and postdocs participated in the TAO, where they explored evidence-based teaching practices, practical teaching skills, and knowledge needed to be effective in face-to-face and online learning settings.
Below are a few quotes from the participants:

"The TA Orientation helped to prepare me for my journey as a TA by providing me with the right material/skills. The resources that are necessary to succeed as a TA were thoroughly discussed. Overall, TAO helped teach me what to expect as a TA and how to create a welcoming environment."

"TA Orientation gave me syllabus creation resources as well as methods to deal with complex topics and discussions as a TA."

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.

©2022 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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