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From the Director

Posted by on Thursday, January 21, 2016 in News.

by Derek Bruff, CFT Director

Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to another busy semester at the Center for Teaching. A few highlights…

  • We are organizing several faculty teaching visits this spring. These visits provide instructors the opportunity to sit in on a colleague’s class, then engage that colleague in conversation about teaching choices. Doug Clark, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, is hosting our first visit on February 1st. Details below.
  • The CFT is hosting a number of learning communities and working groups focused on various teaching and learning topics. If you’re interested in teaching, gender, and sexuality; community engagement pedagogies; lab pedagogies; or educational technology, you’re welcome to join one of our groups.
  • Our Blackboard support team, led by CFT Assistant Director Stacey Johnson, expands its offerings this spring with a series of drop-in support hours exploring Blackboard’s grade center. The team also has a number of Blackboard workshops they can take on the road to your department, program, or school. For any of your Blackboard needs, contact
  • The CFT’s graduate student programs continue this spring, including the Blended and Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows program and the Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education. We have a few seats left in our Certificate in College Teaching program. Thanks to CFT Assistant Director Vivian Finch for her leadership of our graduate student programs.

CFT staff members continue serving on university-level committees as part of our work fostering institutional structures and resources that support effective teaching.

  • Joe Bandy, CFT Assistant Director, serves as executive chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community;
  • Cynthia Brame, CFT Assistant Director, serves on the Immersion Vanderbilt Committee; and
  • I serve on the Immersion Vanderbilt Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Committee.sap2016blue

Looking ahead, this May the CFT will launch a new course design institute for Vanderbilt faculty on the theme of “Students as Producers.” During the three-day institute (May 9-11), CFT staff will help participants design (or redesign) courses that engage students not only as consumers of information, but producers of knowledge. Look for more information about the institute soon!

Finally, we want to say good-bye to Melissa Penix, CFT Administrative Assistant, who retired in December after 27 years at Vanderbilt—and 22 years at the CFT. Melissa helped keep the CFT on budget year after year, but it’s her friendly presence that we’ll miss most. Melissa looks forward to spending more time with her family and traveling with her husband Steve, and we wish her the best.

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