April 2022
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It is with mixed emotions that I share the news that long-time Center for Teaching staff member Rhett McDaniel is moving on to another position at Vanderbilt.

Rhett started at the CFT back in 2009 as our educational technologist, overseeing the center’s internal technology needs. From the beginning, however, Rhett was an excellent faculty consultant, helping instructors select and learn technologies that integrated well in their teaching. Over time, Rhett took on more campus-facing roles, becoming a key player in CFT programs such as the Blended and Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows program, the Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program, and our Course Design Institutes, among others.

In recognition of his changing role, Rhett was promoted to assistant director for digital media in 2019. He brought his expertise in audio and video production to CFT projects, including the Leading Lines podcast and the CFT’s YouTube channel, and to the development of two digital media resources for the campus, the One-Button Studio and the Digital Media Lab. Rhett launched and managed our digital media services team, helping faculty and other instructors learn to create and use video, audio, and other digital media in their teaching.

Starting April 4th, Rhett will be the new director of course development and instructional technology at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing. Our loss is Nursing’s gain! We will miss Rhett’s good spirits, bad puns, and strong coffee, but we’re glad to know Vanderbilt will continue to benefit from his experience helping instructors make the most of technology to support student learning. If you see Rhett, tell him congratulations on his new gig!

Derek Bruff, executive director, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
Student Success in Introductory STEM Courses
Chris Rasmussen, professor of mathematics education at San Diego State University, is giving a talk titled “Insights from Two National Studies of Precalculus through Calculus 2” on April 15th from 12:10 to 1:00pm. While the talk is part of the Department of Mathematics colloquium, it is likely to be of interest to faculty outside of that department who are involved in STEM education reform and/or inclusive and equitable teaching.

Rasmussen has been PI on three National Science Foundation studies on college mathematics instruction, and he serves on the National Academies’ Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education. In his talk, Rasmussen will describe features of math programs shown to support student success, as well as the departmental practices and policies that have helped infuse active learning into introductory courses in sustainable ways.

The talk will be held in Buttrick Hall Room 103, and there’s no pre-registration required to attend.

Date: Friday, April 15
Time: 12:10 - 1:00pm
LocationButtrick Hall, Room 103
Facilitator: Chris Rasmussen


Leading Lines
Episode 108 with Susan Hrach
In this episode, we continue our mini-series on bodies and embodiment produced by Leah Marion Roberts, Senior Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. Leah has been interviewing experts who can help us understand why paying attention to bodies in teaching and learning spaces is so important. Leah talks with Susan Hrach, Director of the Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and Professor of English at Columbus State University.
To hear the podcast episodes you've missed, visit the Leading Lines website, search for “Leading Lines” in iTunes, or subscribe via RSS.  You can also follow us on Twitter, @LeadingLinesPod
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Course Design Institute on
Inclusive Teaching
We invite you to join in our Course Design Institute on the theme of Inclusive Teaching.  This virtual event will take place via Brightspace and Zoom, May 16 – 19 (9am-4pm Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and 9-12:30pm Thursday). During the four-day institute, participants will (re)design courses with careful attention to the ways they can help all students thrive through greater belonging and engagement.  In the institute we will explore a variety of facets of inclusive teaching, especially…
  • Motivating and challenging all students, regardless of their identity or background
  • Engaging a diverse range of voices and perspectives for dynamic and critical dialogue
  • Helping all students better understand – and cooperate across – differences
  • Developing trusting and productive dialogues about difficult subjects
  • Providing accessible and supportive assignments and activities
  • Closing performance and persistence gaps across the curriculum
  • Ensuring all students are meaningfully involved in their own learning and experience intellectual, social, and emotional growth
Throughout the Institute’s events, participants will…
  • Learn strategies for designing courses in which learning objectives, activities, and assessments foster inclusion and equity
  • Work collaboratively in a mix of small- and large-group sessions to refine and apply these strategies to diverse teaching contexts
  • Expand a peer network of Vanderbilt educators dedicated to inclusion and equity
  • Develop a (re)designed syllabus and course plans for the coming semesters
If you are interested in attending the Course Design Institute on Inclusive Teaching, please register here.  If you have further questions, please contact the CFT’s Joe Bandy at joe.bandy@vanderbilt.edu or Stacey Johnson at stacey.m.johnson@vanderbilt.edu.
Spring Internal Grants

The Office of the Provost supports two internal funding programs, 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 Educational Advancement Fund supports longer term educational transformations and the Course Improvement Grants aim to promote excellence in teaching within a single course (or course section). Recipients in 2021-2022 include 21 faculty members across five of Vanderbilt’s schools and colleges.

To learn more about the recipients and their projects, visit the internal teaching grants recipients webpage. The deadline to submit for the upcoming second round is May 2, and funds will be available on July 1. Interested faculty can submit applications online using InfoReady Review.  All full-time, VU employed (Provost-reporting) faculty are eligible regardless of tenure status.  Graduate students and post-docs are ineligible.

Visit the Educational Advancement Fund and Course Improvement Grants webpages for more information about the program, including eligibility standards, proposal requirements, funding guidelines, and selection criteria.

Any additional questions about these two programs can be directed to Cynthia Brame, associate director of the Center for Teaching.   
Junior Faculty Spotlight: 
Mindy Johnson 
Each year, the CFT highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Mindy JohnsonSchool of Nursing, talks about some of the lessons she has gained from the Fellowship on the CFT blog.
It can be easy to get focused on tasks surrounding our teaching duties, and I’ve learned how valuable it can be to approach teaching problems from a backwards design and curricula lens first. I’m utilizing backwards design to update the clinical courses I coordinate . . . [READ MORE]

We are now accepting applications for the 2022-23 Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program.
The program is designed to help you:
  • Build understanding of principles of learning to inform your teaching
  • Stock your teaching toolkit with new skills and approaches
  • Develop a framework for course design
  • Build teaching community
Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows receive $2000 in research funds to be used to enhance their teaching. Tenure-track and non-tenure track, full-time faculty who will be in their second through sixth year in 2021-2022 are eligible to apply.
Application Deadline: Monday, May 2
For more details on the program or to apply, visit the JFTF webpage.
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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