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Commentary Category

Flipping the Traditional Mentoring Model

by Rachel Biel, CFT Undergraduate Intern This past summer I had the opportunity to intern for Spectrum Health—a healthcare system in my hometown, Grand Rapids, MI. For the summer I was assigned to work with Senior Project Manager Rebecca Content, whose project was joint venture with another local hospital to provide primary care and specialty…

Posted on April 24, 2017 in Commentary, , , ,

How is the current political climate impacting your interactions with your students?

A group of about 35 current and former Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows recently met at the Center for Teaching to discuss this question, looking for ways to promote dialog and learning that can help students navigate our highly polarized world. The participants teach classes across the university, within Peabody School of Education, the School of…

Posted on April 3, 2017 in Commentary, News, Resource

First Person Singular

by Derek Bruff, CFT Director, cross-posted from Derek’s blog, Agile Learning Your first paper assignment asks you to make an argument drawing largely on your personal experiences and perspectives. Did you have writing assignments in high school that asked you to do this? I asked this question of the students in my first-year writing seminar…

Posted on September 17, 2014 in Commentary,

Teaching, Difference, and Power

Teaching, Difference, and Power—with Our Language

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director I’ve been thinking about the role of language in the CFT’s theme of “Teaching, Difference, and Power.”  During the first semester of my first faculty position, fresh out of graduate school, I spoke the language of my dissertation. Beautiful (to me) multisyllabic terms, an elegant (to me) theoretical framework…

Posted on September 12, 2014 in Commentary,

Teaching Ferguson

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This year at the CFT, through our theme of “Teaching, Difference, and Power,” we turn to the complexities of the roles of difference and power in both what many of us teach and how we all teach. In an earlier post, I explored the notion of “educationally purposeful” ways…

Posted on August 30, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,

Grading Writing Assignments in Less than a Lifetime

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director One of the greatest stresses experienced by new faculty (and not-so-new faculty) is the amount of time spent on effective teaching. Parkinson’s Law—the notion that a task expands to fill the time available—seems more true for teaching than many other responsibilities. During Wednesday’s Teaching at Vanderbilt orientation for new faculty,…

Posted on August 15, 2014 in Commentary, Events, Resource

What Can Faculty Do about Students’ Classroom-Based Anxieties? More Than You Think.

by Nancy Chick (CFT Assistant Director) Last week, The Princeton Review released its annual list of “The Top 10 Colleges for ___,” and Vanderbilt made a big splash by ranking #1 with the Happiest College Students in the US.*  While this is fantastic news for the campus, and it’s interesting to speculate about what makes these…

Posted on August 4, 2014 in Commentary, Events, Resource, , , ,

The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Sitting Down & Staying Still

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director The progressive breakdown of my computer and resulting residencies of IT guys have conspired to force me to read some of the books I have stacked on my desk.  Today, I read the copy of Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach (Intrator & Scribner, eds.,…

Posted on July 27, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,

Curricular Redesign with the CFT

One characteristic of “the best college teachers,” according to Ken Bain (author of the book by this name and founder of the Vanderbilt CFT), is the ability to “reflect deeply on the nature of thinking within their fields“: They know what has to come first, and they can distinguish between foundational concepts and elaborations or illustrations of…

Posted on July 14, 2014 in Commentary, News, Resource, , ,

The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: A Room of One’s Own

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director I have a new favorite place on campus.  It may not look like much–small room with a recliner and a lamp, a desk with a computer and handbook, a tv screen with assorted DVDs–but it’s a little oasis tucked into a corner room at 2015 Terrace Place. More comfortable than…

Posted on June 27, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,