June 2018
It finally feels like summer here at the CFT. We’re open all summer, but the pace is slower than the academic year, with more time for writing and reflection, planning and preparing. We’re looking ahead to the coming year and, in fact, to the next five years, as we engage in listening sessions around campus in support of our strategic planning efforts.
Summer took a while to get here, however, given all that we had going on in May. Right before commencement, we hosted a three-day Course Design Institute in which 15 faculty instructors designed or redesigned courses on the theme “Students as Producers.” I’m excited to see what their students produce next year in response to the creative and intentional assignments developed by institute participants.
Later in May, more than two dozen graduate students and postdocs participated in summer intensive versions of our Certificate in College Teaching and Certificate in Humanities Teaching and Learning programs. I enjoyed seeing our whiteboards filled with notes on teaching and learning, reflecting the engaged conversations the participants had with each other and with the Graduate Teaching Fellows leading these sessions.
In July, we’ll welcome a new Assistant Director to the CFT to coordinate our certificate programs and other offerings for graduate students and postdocs. Heather Fedesco joins us from Colorado College, where she was a Mellon Foundation pedagogy researcher exploring student motivation and learning. Prior to that, Heather taught in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University and served as a post-doctoral research associate at the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue.
Also joining the team this summer is Grant Neal, our new Lead Instructional Technologist. Grant comes to us from 2U, where he helped instructors make revisions to existing online courses. Prior to that, Grant supported online instruction at Trevecca Nazarene University and Cumberland University, among other institutions. Grant will be a key member of the CFT’s Brightspace support team, helping instructors use Brightspace to enhance their on-campus teaching.
In other staff news, I’m happy to announce a promotion to Associate Director for Cynthia Brame in recognition of her work with the Vanderbilt teaching community, her leadership of CFT programs, and her scholarship in teaching and learning. Please join me in congratulating Cynthia and in welcoming Heather and Grant to Vanderbilt.
Enjoy your summer! I hope it’s somehow both relaxing and productive. And please let us know if we can help you as you prepare for the fall.
Derek Bruff, PhD
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
From the CFT Stacks
by  William M. Sullivan
This book makes a case for an approach that combines the strengths of liberal arts, professional studies, and civic responsibility in order to give students the combination of skills and experience that will prepare them for success in all aspects of life after graduation. The author draws on examples from 25 members of the New American Colleges & Universities consortium to illustrate the power of the integrated learning model.
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Natasha Casey and Spencer Brayton featured in Leading Lines Ed Tech Podcast
In this episode, the newest member of the Leading Lines team, Melissa Mallon, brings us an interview about teaching critical media literacy. The interview features Natasha Casey, a communications professor at Blackburn College in Illinois, and Spencer Brayton, library manager at Waubonsee Community College, also in Illinois. While Brayton was at Blackburn College, he and Casey collaborated to bring their respective fields—information literacy and media literacy—together, developing and team teaching a course on media and information literacy. The course took at a critical look at the topics, meaning that there was a particular focus to issues of power and control in digital media.
Melissa has a new book out exploring the ways faculty and librarians can partner to teach digital literacies, so this episode’s interview is right in her wheelhouse! She talks with Casey and Brayton about working across disciplinary silos, helping students think critically about digital media, team teaching a new course, and practicing public scholarships through blogs and Twitter.
To listen to the podcasts, visit the Leading Lines website, search for “Leading Lines” in iTunes, or subscribe via RSS.  You can also follow us on Twitter, @LeadingLinesPod.
Workshop Collaboration Leads to New CFT Teaching Guide: Developing and Writing a Diversity Statement
In April, The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching partnered with The Office of Inclusive Excellence and The Office for Career Development at The Graduate School to provide an introductory workshop on developing a written diversity statement. The session was facilitated by Graduate Teaching Fellow Sara Beck and CFT Assistant Director Joe Bandy and featured a Q&A panel with Ruth Schemmer (Asst. Dean for Graduate Career Development), Melissa Thomas-Hunt (Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence), and Tiffany Galvin Green (Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence).
The 14 participants were introduced to several approaches to developing and writing a diversity statement and given an opportunity to begin generating ideas on their own and in small groups. The workshop was well-attended by graduate students, post-docs, and early career faculty, and the widespread interest in the topic prompted Beck to create a teaching guide aimed at introducing graduate students and job seekers to this increasingly important piece of the job application portfolio.
The guide is now available on the CFT website.
Reflecting on Teaching: 
What?  For Whom?  Why?
Often, the motivation to improve one’s teaching by revising practices or experimenting with new initiatives stems from reflection.  This reflection often focuses on feedback received from others, such as student evaluations or peer reviews.  Reflection further involves one’s own assessment of experiences, through self-observation and activities that foster self-analysis such as teaching workshops or individual consultations, and/or pedagogical research. 
Written reflections on teaching can be used for personal, professional, or pedagogical purposes. At Vanderbilt, promotion and review processes require faculty to reflect on their work and document their progress in teaching, research and service.  When reporting on teaching, faculty are encouraged to articulate their teaching philosophy and objectives; describe past and planned course and curriculum development; and explain pedagogical initiatives, innovations or experiments, and their results.

The CFT provides one-on-one consultations on evaluating and documenting your teaching.  We will work with you to reflect deliberately on your practice as a means of deepening your understanding of pedagogical goals and methods, and linking those goals and methods to student learning.
For more information, please stop by, or call, the Center for Teaching (322-7290) or visit our set of teaching guides on the topic.
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Phone: 615-322-7290 Fax: 615-343-8111
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