Skip to main content

Commentary

How engaging in educational research influenced my teaching

Mar. 5, 2018—by Ryan Bowen, CFT Graduate Assistant When it came to teaching, I used to have intuitive sense about what effective instruction looked like in the classroom. I could walk into a room, deliver a lesson, facilitate an activity, and assess learning in some capacity. If my students met a certain performance standard or quantitative score...

Read more


Flipping the Traditional Mentoring Model

Apr. 24, 2017—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...

Read more


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

Apr. 3, 2017—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...

Read more


First Person Singular

Sep. 17, 2014—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...

Read more


Teaching, Difference, and Power—with Our Language

Sep. 12, 2014—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...

Read more


Teaching Ferguson

Aug. 30, 2014—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...

Read more


Grading Writing Assignments in Less than a Lifetime

Aug. 15, 2014—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,...

Read more


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

Aug. 4, 2014—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...

Read more


The Mindful PhD: Sitting Down & Staying Still

Jul. 27, 2014—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.,...

Read more


Curricular Redesign with the CFT

Jul. 14, 2014—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...

Read more