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Junior Faculty Spotlights: Brittany Haskell and Denis Zhernokleyev

Posted by on Thursday, February 20, 2020 in News.

Each year, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Brittany HaskellNursing, and Denis Zhernokleyev, German, Russian and East European Studies, talk about some of the most useful lessons they have gotten from the Fellowship.

Being a nurse educator encompasses two skillsets, knowing current nursing science and utilizing current nursing education science. The former we excel at, and the later we oftentimes do not consider enough. I feel fortunate to be a part of the 2019-2020 cohort of nursing faculty participating in the Junior Faculty Teaching Fellowship (JFTF), which has supported my growth as an educator by providing a thoughtful space to reflect on and refine my teaching skills.

Through group JFTF activities, I better appreciated the value of a cohesive teaching community to enhanced teaching outcomes. For example, brainstorming with peer educators during JFTF seminars allowed us to identify effective ways to increase student engagement in educational activities. In my case, I learned how to apply theories of debriefing such as the 3-D Model of Debriefing and Plus/Delta Debriefing to enhance student engagement and learning after visits to a patient’s home. The group dynamic also let me build on the experience of others as the group, instead of the individuals, honed their skills. 

Through individual JFTF activities, I valued the space to consider practical application of backward design to a course I am teaching in now. In the fall, I focused on refining student role playing activities and streamlining Brightspace content. In the spring, I look forward to implementing and evaluating those changes.

Most importantly, JFTF highlighted the necessity for those in nursing education to be lifelong learners of nursing science and nursing education science. Vanderbilt University is fortunate to have the Center for Teaching, and I look forward to participating in their future educational opportunities.

Brittany Haskell


As a young professor, busy with full-time teaching, I was looking for an occasion to reassess my pedagogy in a meditative and systematic manner. The Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program offered me such opportunity.

The program appealed to me because of its attention to the practical side of teaching. Every semester I teach a variety of different classes: language, survey lectures, and writing seminars. Hearing other teachers reflect on how they deal with the use of technology in the classroom, grading and responding to different types of student assignments, teaching different kinds of writing, integrating campus resources such as the writing studio into their classrooms, maximizing effectiveness of the office hour visits etc. helped me re-assess the structure of my own courses.

The JFTF seminar was a wonderful context in which to discuss specific pedagogic strategies. A group of five young professors, all from different disciplines, reflected on what we wanted our students to learn and together decided on how to advance and assess that learning. The seminar included a practical segment, a workshop where we helped each other revise new courses.  An opportunity to discuss my syllabus with colleagues from different disciplines helped me see my course from new perspectives.

The staff members at the Center for Teaching are not only passionate teachers themselves but also scholars of pedagogy who, in addition to expert advice, can direct teachers to valuable resources. Help at the center is available in every form, everything from personal consultations to general course observations and follow-up group discussions. Time spent at the center would be a valuable investment in every teacher’s pursuit of effective pedagogy. 

-Denis Zhernokleyev


We are now accepting applications for the 2020-21 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 2020-2021 are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: Thursday, April 30

For more details on the program or to apply, visit the JFTF webpage.


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