Junior Faculty Programs
The Center for Teaching shares Vanderbilt’s commitment to recruiting and retaining tenure-track faculty who are dynamic researchers and teachers. Crucial to this retention is further development not only of faculty research interests and expertise across the disciplines, but also of teaching effectiveness and efficiency early in a faculty member’s career at Vanderbilt. In support of this development, the CFT offers a variety of programs and services for junior faculty.
- Why Participate?
- Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows
- Teaching Visits
- Consultation Services
The Center for Teaching shares Vanderbilt’s commitment to recruiting and retaining tenure-track faculty who are dynamic researchers and teachers. Crucial to this retention is further development not only of faculty research interests and expertise across the disciplines, but also of teaching effectiveness and efficiency early in a faculty member’s career at Vanderbilt. In support of this development, the CFT offers a variety of programs and services for junior faculty that are informed by the following core principles.
- Everyone can learn to teach more effectively and efficiently.
- Good teaching results not only from content mastery and coverage but also from attention to the learning process.
- Effective and efficient teaching involves ongoing reflection.
- Teaching and learning are more effectively and enjoyably done in community.
Research by Robert Boice (Advice for New Faculty, 2000) and others indicates that junior faculty often find teaching the most challenging and time-consuming part of their jobs. Engaging in professional development activities, such as the ones offered by the CFT, can help you become what Boice calls a “quick starter” in your faculty career.
Learn from the teaching experiences of colleagues at Vanderbilt. Too often junior faculty struggle on their own to meet the same teaching challenges that their colleagues have learned to manage.
Develop skills that will enable you to analyze and improve your teaching now and in the future by approaching your teaching as an ongoing cycle of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection and by receiving feedback from CFT consultants.
Enjoy the community of teachers at Vanderbilt. Teaching need not be a solitary practice. Your junior and senior faculty colleagues can be a source of advice, support, mentoring, and camaraderie.
Learn to balance and integrate your teaching and research. Both of these aspects of junior faculty careers are important but time-consuming. Finding ways to approach each of them efficiently and effectively is essential to a successful career.
Develop and improve materials for the tenure and promotion process. The CFT can help you learn to document and reflect on your teaching experiences in ways that clearly communicate your growth as a teacher to others.
A 2006 survey of Vanderbilt faculty indicated that more than a third of tenure-track faculty spend more than 40% of their work time on teaching.
Tenure-track junior faculty are invited to apply to participate in the Center for Teaching’s Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program.
- Fellows will be provided with a structured set of professional development activities designed to help them refine their teaching skills and learn to teach more efficiently.
- They will benefit from engaging in these activities in a community of other teachers, including senior faculty mentors and CFT senior staff.
- Fellows will also receive $500 in research funds each to be used to enhance their teaching.
Applications are accepted annually in the spring. Up to eight Fellows are eligible for participation each year.
CFT workshops for junior faculty are designed to help participants develop and refine strategies for effective teaching. Sessions draw on the expertise and wisdom of senior faculty, as well as other university resources, and are typically focused, practical, and relatively brief, providing a high return on the investment of participants’ time.
Visit our Events page for a list of upcoming workshops.
A Teaching Visit involves a small group of junior faculty who observe a senior colleague’s class (on a selected day), followed by an hour of conversation about what was observed, particularly shared teaching challenges. The CFT offers visits across the university, in various disciplines, but visitors do not have to be in the same discipline as the course they are observing. Indeed, many faculty members have found it helpful to encounter teaching styles and strategies different than their own, which they can then discuss with colleagues after the observation and adapt to their own use.
To learn more about upcoming Teaching Visits, please contact Joe Bandy, CFT assistant director.
Consultations with Center for Teaching staff provide faculty with information, perspectives, and ideas specific to their individual needs. While we invite you to request a consultation on any pedagogical topic of interest to you, we recommend the following types of consultations:
Course Design – Junior faculty frequently wonder if the amount of reading or pace of the course is right for Vanderbilt students. CFT consultants can answer these questions and offer advice about how to design courses and assignments to maximize student learning in specific disciplines.
“For the course development consultation, I find that having someone to bounce ideas off of is very helpful. The Center’s staff are very capable at helping me to identify and clarify course goals and ideas.” – Assistant Professor, Arts & Science
Small Group Analysis (SGA) – CFT consultants can quickly elicit and record confidential feedback from students in a focus-group format about which aspects of your course are encouraging students to learn and which aspects could be modified to increase learning.
“I found my consultations to be extremely helpful and insightful. Just to get honest feedback from the students (…) was great.” – Assistant Professor, Engineering
Teaching Statements – At key moments in the tenure and promotion process, faculty must submit teaching statements as part of a review, promotion, or tenure dossier. CFT consultants can provide suggestions about writing a focused statement that clearly communicates what you value as a teacher and how you enact those values in your teaching.
“I had a very helpful and very productive talk about my teaching statement. I came away with a much clearer idea of what I wanted to say, and a more effective way to communicate my points.” – Assistant Professor, Arts & Science
To schedule a teaching consultation, please call the CFT at 322-7290.
In addition to our events and consultations services, the CFT makes available a number of other resources for junior faculty.
The CFT Podcast – Our podcast features audio interviews with Vanderbilt faculty members about a variety of teaching topics. Past episodes have focused on instructional technology, teaching first-year students and time-efficient teaching.
Teaching Guides – The CFT Web site features almost fifty guides to a variety of teaching topics with summaries of best practices, links to other online resources, and information about local Vanderbilt resources. Topics include discussion-leading, service learning, diversity and inclusive teaching, teaching with “clickers,” and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Experimental Classroom - Our experimental classroom features a large, open workshop area with mobile walls and furniture that can be configured in a variety of formats, from large plenary gatherings to small group breakout sessions. Your and your colleagues are welcome to come and experiment with this innovative space.
The CFT Library – The CFT has a steadily growing library of resources related to teaching and learning, including books, journals, and DVDs. Located in the CFT offices at 1114 19th Avenue, the library holdings are listed in ACORN, Vanderbilt’s online library catalog.