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Structure of the CFT

The CFT is staffed by an Executive Director, one Associate Director, five Assistant Directors, two Digital Media Specialists, four Instructional Technologists, an Administrative Assistant, four Graduate Teaching Fellows, and ten Graduate Teaching Affiliates.

The Director, Assistant Directors, and Technologists work directly with faculty, departments, and programs, and the Graduate Teaching Fellows work directly with graduate students.

Members of the Vanderbilt teaching community may identify their CFT liaison by viewing this chart.

Who Are We?

Executive Director

Derek Bruff is assistant provost and executive director of the Center for Teaching, as well as interim director of the Digital Commons and a principal senior lecturer in mathematics. As assistant provost, Bruff plans and oversees faculty development and educational initiatives for the Office of the Provost. Derek has been at the CFT since 2005, and he directs CFT programming for faculty and other instructors, helping them develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas in teaching. Learn more about Derek’s work, including his 2019 book Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, on his blog, Agile Learning.

Associate Director

Cynthia Brame, CFT Associate DirectorCynthia Brame has been at the Center for Teaching since 2012. Building on her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and her work as a faculty member in biological sciences, Cynthia works with Vanderbilt’s science, engineering, and nursing departments. She supports teaching at Vanderbilt through consultations with individuals and groups, workshops, and programs such as the BOLD Fellows Program and the Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program. Cynthia is particularly interested in supporting faculty as they develop peer review of teaching and curricular improvement efforts, and loves to help faculty and graduate students investigate the impact of their efforts (see some examples). Cynthia teaches in the Biological Sciences Department, typically co-teaching a relatively high enrollment junior-level biochemistry course. To learn more about Cynthia’s research and teaching please see her personal staff page.

Assistant Directors

Joe Bandy has been Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching since 2010.  As a PHD in Sociology, he works as liaison to Vanderbilt’s social science departments and programs in the schools of Arts and Science, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and the Owen Graduate School of Management.  He has supported curricular, instructional, and organizational development at Vanderbilt in consultations, workshops, and programs such as the Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows and the Certificate in College Teaching.  More recently, he has facilitated professional and organizational development through learning communities on environmental education (including The Cumberland Project), community engagement/service learning, and issues of difference and power in the classroom.  He teaches in the Department of Sociology and the Program in American Studies on issues related to social movements, environmental justice, class structure, and economic development.  His most recent research addresses inclusive excellence in teaching and the assessment of community engagement.  To learn more about Joe’s research and teaching please see his personal staff page.


Julaine Fowlin is the Assistant Director for Instructional Design. Her position was strategically created to strengthen online instructional design expertise in the Center for Teaching. She comes to Vanderbilt from Auburn University, where she was director of faculty development at the Harrison School of Pharmacy, designing and implementing an integrated professional development plan for the school. She has more than ten years of experience in instructional design and technology, helping design and launch online and blended courses at Auburn University, Virginia Tech, Holy Names University, and the University of the West Indies.

She earned her doctorate in learning science and technology from Virginia Tech after completing her master of science in education from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville. She adopts a systems thinking approach to educational development, and her motto is, “yes, we can, and together we will.” Her research interests include the design and development of innovative learning experiences, focusing on curriculum reform, knowledge management, collaborative learning, and preparation of practice-ready graduates.

Watch her introductory video here. To schedule a consultation with Julaine, see this form.


Stacey M. Johnson has been the Assistant Director for Educational Technology at the Center for Teaching since June 2015. She is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and Affiliated Faculty in the Center for Second Language Studies. Her research interests include adult language learning, teaching culture, classroom practices, and hybrid language instruction. Her first book, Hybrid Language Teaching in Practice: Perceptions, Reactions, and Results, co-authored with Berta Carrasco, and her second book, Adult Learning in the Language Classroom, were both published in 2015. Her hybrid teaching experience and her expertise in educational technology enhance the CFT’s ability to support Vanderbilt instructors as they explore how Brightspace and other online learning platforms can be more effectively used to enhance student learning. Learn more about Stacey’s work here.


Rhett McDaniel, Assistant Director for Digital Media, has worked in distance education and faculty development for over 20 years and has been at Center for Teaching since 2009. In his role at the CFT, Rhett is involved with digital media initiatives in Vanderbilt schools and colleges, oversees the production facilities, CFT website, and the center’s virtual resources. Rhett is available for group and individual workshops to help instructors identify, and become familiar with, appropriate technologies for teaching. Rhett holds a BS in Telecommunications and MS in Music Technology.


Ransford Pinto is the Assistant Director for Graduate Programs. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. He leads the CFT’s offerings for graduate students and mentors a team of Graduate Teaching Fellows. Ransford earned a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research focuses on the intersection of race and gender in educational leadership; educational leadership preparation in a global context; and educational equity, diversity, access, and success in the P-20 system. His most recent study examines the educational and career pathways of Black Women in Senior Leadership Positions in U.S 4-year public Universities.

Digital Media Specialists


Tracye Davis joined the Center for Teaching as a Digital Media Specialist in Summer 2021. She works in the CFT’s production facilities assisting faculty in their media projects, updates the CFT website, and facilitates workshops on production technology. Tracye holds a BS in Mass Communication with a focus in media production and minoring in Graphic Design from Jackson State University. She will also be enrolled at Belmont University this fall to complete her Master’s. Prior to her position with the CFT, Tracye worked in television production for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and created content with Howard University Athletics. In her spare time, Tracye does photography and videography for various artists.


Seth Shepherd joined the Center for Teaching at a Digital Media Specialist in Summer 2021. He works in the CFT’s production facilities to assist faculty in their media projects, publishes content for the CFT website, and hosts workshops on production technology. Prior to his position with the center, Seth worked as a mentor for Nashville Public Library’s teen makerspace and as a freelance video producer. He brings experience in video production, podcasting, and live streaming to the CFT. Seth holds a BS in Journalism and Cinema Studies from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.


Lead Instructional Technologist

Paige Snay has been with the Center for Teaching since the fall of 2019. As lead instructional technologist, she works with instructors, external vendors, and D2L to establish integrations with Brightspace. She also collaborates with the rest of the Brightspace team to support the Brightspace platform and to encourage instructors to utilize it in new and engaging ways. Paige holds a B.S.B.A. in Information Systems and Cyber Security from Longwood University.


Instructional Technologists

Erica Brandon joined the CFT team in Fall 2017. She enjoys finding new ways to teach using technology, and coming up with creative uses for Brightspace that will engage students. Erica served as an Academic Technologist at the University of Colorado for five years. She also taught high school Computer Science before arriving at Vanderbilt. Erica graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Music, and completed her graduate coursework at Eastern Michigan University. 

Michael Coley joined the Center for Teaching in the Spring of 2021. As an Instructional Technologist, his goal is to help promote high quality teaching through effective usage of technology. He has a B.S. in Animal Science and Secondary Education from Middle Tennessee State University and a Masters in Agricultural Education from North Carolina State University. While at NC State, his focus of study was on technology usage of Tennessee teachers. He taught high school Agricultural Education for 10 years before changing careers and joining Vanderbilt.

Jenny Park joined the Center for Teaching in the Summer of 2021. She enjoys working with new and existent digital tools that promote active and efficient teaching and learning. She is especially interested in working with Brightspace integrations. She has a BA and an MA. 

Administrative Assistant

Juliet Traub has been an administrative assistant at the Center for Teaching since October 2014. Juliet handles scheduling for teaching consultations and meetings, oversee our reception area and library, and assists with the planning and implementation of CFT events and programs. Juliet holds a B.A. in Spanish from Middle Tennessee State University. She comes to us most recently from World View, a program at the University of North Carolina, where she served as program manager.  Prior to that, Juliet served as an administrative assistant in Vanderbilt’s Cancer Biology department.

Graduate Teaching Fellows

Yvonne Chen (Sociology)


Sara Eccleston (Human & Organizational Development)


Jose Luis de Ramon Ruiz (Spanish and Portuguese)


Leah Roberts (Human & Organizational Development)

Graduate Teaching Affiliates

Elijah Coleman (Economics)
Emma Guiberson (Chemistry)
Nazirah Mohd Khairi (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
Natasha McMann from Physics and AstronomyNatasha McMann (Physics and Astronomy)
Cole MeierCole Meier (Biological Sciences)
No Image AvailableRebecca Townsley (Political Science)
Kaelyn Warne (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Nauff Zakaria (Graduate Department of Religion)

Certificate in College Teaching Session Facilitators

Emma Guiberson (Chemistry)

Racher Underwood (Sociology)