October 2021
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Celebrating the Center for Teaching’s 35th Anniversary
The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching was founded in 1986. That means that we are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year! The Center for Teaching started as a small unit in the College of Arts & Science led by our founding director Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard Press, 2004) among other books. In the late 90s, the CFT moved to the Office of the Provost to become a university-wide resource, growing to seven full-time staff when I started here as an assistant director in 2005. We now have 14 full-time staff and a number of graduate students in various positions. And after a very busy 2020 helping faculty transition to online and hybrid instruction, our value to the campus and, indeed, higher education has never been more clear.
To celebrate our past, present, and future, we’re organizing a special 35th anniversary panel featuring Center for Teaching staff and graduate fellow alumni. The panel will be moderated by Allison Pingree, senior instructional coach at the Teaching & Learning Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education and former CFT director (1998 to 2011). Panelists will discuss a series of questions on teaching and learning in higher education and the field of educational development.

Our panelists for this very special event are:
  • Peter Felten, assistant provost for teaching and learning, executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and professor of history at Elon University (and former CFT associate director)
  • Brielle Harbin, assistant professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy (and former CFT senior graduate teaching fellow)
  • Shederick McClendon. higher education consultant and senior partner, Sphinx Global Solutions (and former CFT master teaching fellow)
  • Katie Headrick Taylor, associate professor of learning sciences and human development at the University of Washington (and former CFT graduate teaching fellow)
The CFT 35th anniversary panel will be held via Zoom on Friday, October 29th, from 11am to 12pm Central. It’s open to Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students, Center for Teaching alumni, and anyone with an interest in teaching and learning in higher education. We hope you can join us for this event 35 years in the making!
Course Improvement Grant Spotlight: “Improv for language learning and promoting intellectual risk-taking.”
In this new blog series, CFT associate director Cynthia Brame and assistant director, Julaine Fowlin talk with faculty about their grant projects. In this installment, Divya Chaudhrysenior lecturer in Asian Studies, talks about her project, “Improv for language learning and promoting intellectual risk-taking.”
ASPIRE Job Search Series: Preparing for a Teaching Demo
How do you put together an effective teaching demonstration for a job interview? How is it different from a research seminar and how can you link the two? Come learn about key considerations for developing this important piece of your interview portfolio.
Date: Thursday, October 21
Time: 11:00
Location: Light Hall 419 BCD
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Digital Presence:
Academic Podcasting

Why start a podcast as an academic? In this “Digital Presence” panel, we will learn about three academic podcasts, each with a different mission and audience.
  • Law professor Ed Cheng is the producer of Excited Utterance, a long-running podcast featuring interviews with scholars in his research area (evidence and proof).
  • Kate Stuart produces the Beyond the Lab podcast and YouTube series for the Office of Career Development at the School of Medicine, featuring biomedical sciences PhD and postdoc alumni discussing their careers.
  • Amy Hill is a doctoral student who serves as teaching assistant and digital projects coordinator for the spring 2021 course, Monuments and Memory, whose students produced a class podcast, Now This Is Monumental!
Join us to hear the origin stories of these three podcasts and to learn why and how you might start a podcast to advance your scholarship, teaching, or disciplinary service.
Date: Thursday, October 7
3:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants in advance of the event.
Open to Vanderbilt faculty, staff, postdocs, and students.
Teaching with Case Studies
Case studies are a signature pedagogy throughout the professions and increasingly across all liberal arts disciplines.  When used effectively, they can motivate students to learn deeply through meaningful, complex, and real-world scenarios, elevating anything from analytical thought to ethical reasoning, applied practices to theoretical critique.
This workshop will explore how case studies are or can be used in a variety of teaching contexts to advance student learning, and how to efficiently overcome some of the challenges of the case method.
Date: November 5
Time: 12:00-1:30pm
Location: A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants in advance of the event.
Decolonizing Our Teaching
The exhortation to “decolonize” our syllabi and our teaching more generally has become increasingly common across higher education in recent years. For its many advocates, decolonization can include a wide variety of practices, such as the acknowledgement of indigenous land claims, understanding how the culture of colonialism has shaped our disciplines, diversifying the canons of our fields, anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching, inclusive course design, and a decentering of pedagogical authority, just to name a few.
With a panel of faculty that includes Akshya Saxena (English), Adeana McNicholl (Religious Studies), Lily Claiborne (Earth & Environmental Science), and others, we will explore what it means to decolonize our teaching in theory and practice. 
Date: November 1
Location: A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants in advance of the event.
Applications for New Round of Internal Teaching Grants
Now Available
The Office of the Provost established two internal funding programs in April 2021, the Educational Advancement Fund and the Course Improvement Grant, designed to support excellence in the classroom through continued pedagogical advancement and long-term educational transformation. The deadline to submit for the upcoming second round of funding is October 15.
Vanderbilt University is committed to providing universal access to all of our events.
Please contact Juliet Traub at
cft@vanderbilt.edu or 615-322-7290 to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

©2021 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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