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Getting Started Teaching at Vanderbilt

Teaching at a new institution, in an unfamiliar department, or even a new course can raise questions for new and experienced instructors alike. This page will succinctly address some of those questions with a short answer and a resource to consult or contact for further information. The Office of the Provost also maintains a collection of faculty web resources that supports faculty research, teaching, and professional development.

If you are new to Vanderbilt, you will need to activate your VUnetID and establish an e-password in order to log into essential university web sites and course management systems.

You may find it helpful to bookmark this site as well as myVU A to Z: A List of Faculty and Staff Resources, a web site with links to many of the pages and resources linked below.

Where Can I Find…
…names and photos of students registered for my class?
…the schedule of courses?
…the academic calendar online?
…the exam schedule for this semester?
…previous syllabi for the course I’m now teaching?
…information about previous instructors for my course?
…email addresses for my students?
…the undergraduate catalog or catalog for my college or school?
…the Faculty Manual?
…information about student evaluations?
…advice on course or syllabus design, such as advice on how much work to assign my students
…resources for working with a librarian for research or teaching?

…names and photos of students registered for my class?

Log in to Online Grading, search for your course, and click on Class Roll then View Class Photos.

…the schedule of courses?

YES (Your Enrollment Services) allows you to search for next semester’s courses semester and beyond. For older courses, consult the online Schedule of Courses, which includes an archive of courses from past semesters.

…the academic calendar online?

Consult the Office of the University Registrar’s web site.

…the exam schedule for this semester?

Consult the Office of the University Registrar’s web site.

…previous syllabi for the course I’m now teaching?

Check with an administrative assistant or the administrative officer in your department, college, or school about faculty who have taught the course in the past and the availability of previous syllabi.

…information about previous instructors for my course?

The online Schedule of Courses provides access to schedules for every semester between summer 2002 and spring 2010. For courses Fall 2010 and later, search YES (Your Enrollment Services). You can use these tools or check with an administrative assistant or the administrative officer in your department, college, or school about previous instructors.

…email addresses for my students?

Log in to Online Grading, search for your course, and click on Class Roll. Then click on the envelope icon next to each student’s name to see individual email addresses, or download all of their email addresses into an Excel spreadsheet by clicking on the “CSV” link below the lower right corner of the roll sheet.

You can also send a group email or select individual recipients via your course’s OAK (Blackboard) site.

…the undergraduate catalog or catalog for my college or school?

Online versions of the Undergraduate Catalog and of the catalogs of the Divinity School, the Graduate School, the Vanderbilt University Law School, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and Peabody College are available in PDF format. Please note that in some instances the online version is for the preceding academic year.

Print copies of the undergraduate catalog are available on request from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Catalogs of the Graduate School and professional schools are available upon request from the office of the dean of those schools.

…the Faculty Manual?

The Faculty Manual is online. Some colleges and schools have specific manuals for their faculty, so  check with the appropriate dean of your college or school to find out if there is a manual specific to your school’s or college’s faculty.

…information about student evaluations?

The Vanderbilt Online Instructor and Course Evaluations site provides you access to student evaluations at the end of the term.  The CFT has a guide written to help you make sense of your evaluations.

…advice on course or syllabus design, such as advice on how much work to assign my students?

For advice on teaching decisions and on teaching Vanderbilt students, you can consult with your department chair or the appropriate dean(s) in your college or school, all of whom will know about standard practices in your department, college, or school.

Also, the Center for Teaching offers confidential individual consultations with instructors. CFT consultants can help you better understand your students’ learning and think through teaching choices. For instance, the CFT’s small-group analysis service provides a useful way to gather and reflect on mid-semester student feedback.

Additionally, the CFT’s guide on Syllabus Design will help you prepare your syllabus, and our Teaching Vanderbilt Undergraduates helpful in putting together your course when working with undergraduate students.

…resources for working with a librarian for research or teaching?

The library has a wealth of resources for supporting research and teaching, including research guidessubject liaisons, citation management, and course reserves.

 

How do I…
…learn more about OAK (Online Access to Knowledge), VU’s course management system?
…order books for my class?
…use e-reserve?
…prepare a ClassPak (commonly used name at Vanderbilt for course packs)?
…get copies made for my class?
…find out the classroom to which I’ve been assigned and where it is located?
…request a new classroom?
…request a TA?
…submit grades to the Registrar?

…learn more about OAK (Online Access to Knowledge), VU’s course management system?

OAK is Vanderbilt’s collection of course management tools. It is powered by Blackboard, a commercial course management system used at many universities.

Each school and college provides orientation to and training—as requested—for the classroom management systems it supports.  The Getting Help page of OAK provides the name of and contact information for the support person in your school.

Additionally, OAK has a Training page with a link to the full Blackboard instructor’s manual. For information on OAK’s integration with other tools, such as Turning Point (the classroom response system used by many instructors) and SafeAssign (used to verify student written work against a set of academic papers), visit the OAK Elements page.

…order books for my class?

Faculty teaching in Arts & Sciences, Blair, and Engineering may contact Alyssa Spencer (343-8480), Textbook Manager for the Vanderbilt University Bookstore, to order books. Faculty teaching in Divinity, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Owen, and Peabody may contact Andrew Jones (343-1523) at the Bookstore to order books. Owen faculty, please contact Academic Programs at Owen for your procedures.

Many departmental administrative assistants and administrative officers, particularly in the professional schools, will order books and desk copies for you, so it may be helpful to check with them first. (Note that the Bookstore cannot order desk copies for you.)

…use e-reserve?

Copyright Clearance Services (CCS) provides information on e-reserves and online course readings. Peabody faculty members can also view an online tutorial about e-reserves. CCS is happy to help faculty members, particularly new ones, navigate the e-reserve process.  Contact them at 936-4627 or copyright@vanderbilt.edu.

Many departmental administrative assistants and administrative officers, particularly in the professional schools, will help you place materials on e-reserve, so it may be helpful to check with them first.
Owen faculty, please contact Academic Programs at Owen for your procedures.

Note that just linking to an article available through the Vanderbilt Library or another website does not require additional permissions. It is only if you want to post a PDF or other electronic copy of an article (such as a scan of a print article not available via the Library’s electronic holdings) to your course website or OAK site that requires going through the permission process.

…prepare a ClassPak (commonly used name at Vanderbilt for course packs)?

Copyright Clearance Services for the Jean and Alexander Heard Library handles ClassPak requests. A request form is available online.

Many departmental administrative assistants and administrative officers, particularly in the professional schools, will prepare your originals and submit them for copyright clearance, copying, and binding of materials into a ClassPak. Please note the recommended 8-week turnaround time for ClassPak requests.

Owen faculty, please contact Academic Programs at Owen for your procedures.

…get copies made for my class?

Many departmental administrative assistants and administrative officers, particularly in the professional schools, provide this service. If not, there will be a photocopier available for you or your TA’s use. This photocopier may require an access code, which the administrative assistant or officer can provide you.

Owen faculty, please contact Academic Programs at Owen for your procedures.

…find out the classroom to which I’ve been assigned and where it is located?

You can find your room assignment by searching for your course in YES (Your Enrollment Services).

Once you know where you will be teaching, use the interactive campus map to find the location of the building. (If you give the page a couple of minutes to finish loading, you’ll find a dropdown box listing all buildings on campus.)

…request a new classroom?

If it is necessary or very important to change your classroom, contact the registrar for your college or school.

Owen faculty, please contact Academic Programs at Owen for your procedures.

…request a TA?

Speak with the chair of your department or the appropriate dean in your school or college about the criteria and the procedures for requesting a TA.

…submit grades to the Registrar?

When the time comes, you will be asked to submit grades via Online Grading. Search for your course, and click on Final Roster to submit grades.

Do I need to…
…take attendance in my class?
…submit deficiency reports for my students?
…make reference on my syllabus to policies about accommodations for students with disabilities?
…include other information or policies on my syllabus?
…report incidents of students experiencing sexual harassment?
…have a key to get into my classroom or the building it’s in?
…let anyone know if I have to miss a class due to illness?

…take attendance in my class?

It’s wise.  While most colleges and schools do not have a school-wide policy, some departments do have attendance requirements for some courses (e.g., undergraduate language courses). Additionally, several weeks into the semester, the registrar of your college or school will ask you to report any discrepancies between students enrolled in your course and students attending it. You won’t be able to report discrepancies if you haven’t been taking attendance. Faculty who anticipate having more than 100 students in a course are advised to speak with their department chair or a member of the dean’s office to determine if and how to keep attendance.

…submit deficiency reports for my students?

If this is the case for your college or school, the registrar of your school will prompt you in the 7th week of the term to report failure to meet attendance, work, or other academic standards for your course. Undergraduate faculty are asked to submit deficiencies for any student earning C minus or below and/or any student with excessive absences.

…make reference on my syllabus to policies about accommodations for students with disabilities?

Yes. Vanderbilt’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, & Disability Services (EAD) department recommends you include the following information in your syllabus:   “If you need course accommodations due to a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me and/or the EAD (2-4705) as soon as possible.”

Additionally, you may find the CFT’s guides on Teaching Students with Disabilities and Syllabus Design helpful.

…include other information or policies on my syllabus?

Yes.  Please see the CFT’s guide on Syllabus Design for recommendations.

If you teach in a college or school with accreditation or licensure requirements, there may be additional information that has to be on your syllabus, so consult the appropriate dean in your college or school to make sure your syllabus complies with such requirements.

…report incidents of students experiencing sexual harassment?

Yes. Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unsolicited, or undesired attention of a sexual nature and is a violation of federal law. The Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, & Disability Services (EAD) department provides resources for victims of sexual harassment and is responsible for investigating claims of sexual harassment at Vanderbilt.

If a student reports being sexually harassed to you, you have a responsibility to make sure the incident is reported to the EAD. You may opt to encourage the student to report the incident to the EAD, then follow up with the EAD to make sure the incident has been reported. Alternatively, you may report the incident to the EAD directly.

The EAD respects the confidentiality of those who report incidents of sexual harassment. In fact, you may report such an incident to the EAD without naming the student involved if the student wishes to remain anonymous.

…have a key to get into my classroom or the building it’s in?

It depends, so check with your school or college registrar. If you’re teaching in a seminar room in a Commons residence hall, check with Kenny Moore, Assistant Director of the Commons Center

…let anyone know if I have to miss a class due to illness?

Check with your department for information on local policies about missing classes due to unexpected illnesses.

One option is to call your department’s administrative assistant and ask for a note to be placed on your classroom door to let your students know you’ve had to cancel class.

You can also email your students directly through OAK. To do so, visit your course within OAK, click on Course Tools in the sidebar, then click on Send Email.

Where Can I Get More Information About…
…privacy issues regarding student academic records?
…providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities?
…Vanderbilt’s Honor System and Honor Code?
…Vanderbilt’s policy on Consensual Relations?
…Vanderbilt’s violence prevention and education program?
…resources for students having difficulty in my course?
…resources for students in distress?
…teaching with technology?
…technology assistance?
…religious holidays?
…resources for international instructors?
…grading standards?
…services and offerings provided by the Center for Teaching?
…Vanderbilt undergrads and their lives outside the classroom?

…privacy issues regarding student academic records?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, protects the privacy of students’ academic records. In short, grades are to be given to individual students only, and they alone can approve the sharing of their academic information with third parties.

The Office of the University Registrar has a website devoted to FERPA and how it applies to student privacy at Vanderbilt. All faculty are encouraged to view the Registrar’s FERPA tutorial. To gain access to certain academic record systems managed by the registrar, you will have to pass a quiz on their tutorial. Your college or school may also require you to pass this quiz.

…providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities?

The Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, & Disability Services (EAD) department handles requests from students for reasonable accommodations for appropriately documented disabilities and will provide you with information about and assistance in providing accommodations as the need arises.

… Vanderbilt’s Honor System and Honor Code?

The Student Handbook provides general information about the Honor System for all Vanderbilt students. The Undergraduate Honor Council enforces the Honor Code for undergraduate students and provides information to the Vanderbilt community about the Honor System as it pertains to undergraduates.  Honor councils exist in many of the professional schools, so check with dean of your college or school to learn more about them.

…Vanderbilt’s policy on Consensual Relations?

The policy, designed to help members of the Vanderbilt community “be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias,” is located in Part III, Chapter 7 of the Faculty Manual.

…Vanderbilt’s violence prevention and education program?

Vanderbilt University’s Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness (VU PETSA) module is an online tutorial aimed at educating Vanderbilt University’s campus community about power-based personal violence (intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, identity-based targeting, and bullying).

…resources for students having difficulty in my course?

Vanderbilt offers a variety of resources designed to meet the learning and academic needs of undergraduate students.  Professional school faculty and those teaching graduate students should consult the appropriate dean of their college or school to see what resources are available for them.

…students in distress?

The Dean of Students has a guide to identifying students in distress, as well as an online training program for learning more about mental health education and suicide prevention. Additionally, the Psychological and Counseling Center has information for faculty and staff on outreach programs and other services.

…teaching with technology?

A good place to start is the CFT’s guides on integrating technology in your teaching. Here, you’ll find ideas about using technologies such as blogs, wikis, and “clickers” in and out of your classroom.  If you want to explore further teaching with a particular technology, a CFT consultant can help you with that exploration.

…technology assistance?

Each college and school has a dedicated technology support unit or units. Click on your college or school name below to get information about the appropriate unit in your school or a contact person.  You may have educational technology needs not met by that unit, in which case the person whom you contact within the unit can provide suggestions about another person or unit to contact.

…religious holidays?

The Office of Religious Life has information about the Vanderbilt policy regarding religious holidays and a link to a 7-year calendar of holy days and festivals.  Offices of deans of Vanderbilt’s colleges and schools routinely send information about holy days and festivals frequently observed by Vanderbilt students to faculty at the beginning of each academic term.

…resources for international instructors?

For resources on teaching in the American classroom, see the CFT’s guide for International Teaching Assistants, which has a variety of information relevant to all international instructors in the American classroom.

For assistance with immigration, cross-cultural, and personal matters, see International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

For assistance making connections between the Vanderbilt community and the larger world (for teaching or research purposes), see the Vanderbilt International Office (VIO).

…grading standards?

Contact the chair of your department or a member of the office of the dean of your college or school. Grading scales vary from school to school, and grading standards can vary from course to course and department to department.

…services and offerings provided by the Center for Teaching?

The Center for Teaching supports the Vanderbilt teaching community by providing confidential individual consultations with instructors, workshops and working groups focusing on a variety of teaching and learning topics, and a number of print and electronic resources. See the CFT website for more information.

…Vanderbilt undergrads and their lives outside the classroom?

The CFT’s Teaching Vanderbilt Undergraduates guide provides information on student demographics, housing and residential education, extracurricular life, and the rhythms of the semester.

 

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