Center for Teaching

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Structure of the CFT

The CFT is staffed by a Director, four Assistant Directors, an Educational Technologist, three Instructional Technologists, a Program Coordinator, Administrative Assistant, four Graduate Teaching Fellows, a Postdoctoral Fellow, 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?


Derek Bruff is director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and a senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics. As director, he oversees the Center’s programming and offerings for faculty and graduate students, helping them develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas in teaching and learning. He also consults regularly with campus leaders about pedagogical issues, seeking to foster a university culture that supports effective teaching. His research interests include educational technology, visual thinking, and social pedagogies, and he teaches courses on cryptography, linear algebra, and statistics. Learn more about Derek’s work, including his 2009 book Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments, on his blog, Agile Learning.


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, community engagement/service learning, and issues of difference and power.  He teaches in the Department of Sociology on issues related to social movements, environmental justice, class structure, and economic development.  His most recent research addresses the assessment of service learning impacts and faculty development.  To learn more about Joe’s research and teaching please see his personal staff page.

Cynthia Brame has been assistant director of 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, see her personal webpage.

Vivian Finch has been an Assistant Director at the Center for Teaching since July 2015.  In her role as Assistant Director, Vivian leads the CFT’s offerings for graduate students, including Teaching Assistant Orientation, the Certificate in College Teaching, the Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education, teaching consultation services, and various events and workshops throughout the year.  She also supervises and mentors our team of Graduate Teaching Fellows, working with them to prepare Vanderbilt graduate students to be effective and intentional teachers both here on campus and in future faculty roles.  Additionally, Vivian is affiliated with the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and serves as a CFT liaison for many of the humanities disciplines on campus.  Her research interests include digital pedagogy in the foreign language classroom, SoTL, and the intersection of German and Brazilian cultures and literatures.

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 Blackboard and other online learning platforms can be more effectively used to enhance student learning. Learn more about Stacey’s work here.

Educational Technologist

Rhett McDaniel has worked in distance education and faculty development for nearly 20 years and has been the Educational Technologist at the Center for Teaching since 2009. In his role at the CFT, Rhett is involved with instructional technology initiatives in Vanderbilt schools and colleges, maintains CFT instructional technology resources, 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.


Instructional Technologists

Brandon Crawford has a passion for technology’s positive impact on higher education. After graduating with a B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems from Howard University, he joined Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching as an Instructional Technologist in August 2016. Here, he assists faculty, staff, and students with online course management through various educational tools. Brandon is available as a solutions resource by drop-in hoursemailphone, and consultation.

Lee Scarborough has worked in higher education for 10 years as support staff. He joined the CFT as Instructional Technologist in August of 2015. In his role as Instructional Technologist, Lee serves as part of the Blackboard support team in which he assists faculty, staff, and students with technical and pedagogical needs surrounding the CMS and its integrated tools. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, Lee lived in Alabama and served as Faculty Development Coordinator for Troy University’s eTROY and later as a member of the IT department at Enterprise State Community College. Lee is available for support and contact in a variety of ways, including: drop-in hours, email, phone, and consultation. He holds a B.S. in Social Science and M.S. in Interactive Technology.

Program Coordinator

Tracy Tveit has been the program coordinator for the Center for Teaching since August 2013. Tracy coordinates and does all logistical planning for the CFT major programs and events. She is responsible for the compilation of data indicating the CFT’s scope of reach, both on and off campus, and for the development of the analytical/assessment reports for the CFT’s services. Prior to coming to the CFT, Tracy was the Education Program Coordinator for the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Before Vanderbilt, Tracy served as a BSN, RN, specializing in adult and adolescent psychiatric medicine, in the Nashville and the Chicago area.

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

 Lydia Bentley is a 2016-2017 Graduate Teaching Fellow. She is in the dissertation phase of her program in the Department of Teaching and Learning, focusing on issues of Learning, Development, and Diversity- particularly on STEM education and underrepresented students at the post-secondary level. Among other things at the Center for Teaching, Lydia helps with leading the Certificate in College Teaching (CiCT) program.
 ryan-bowenRyan Bowen has been a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Center for Teaching since July 2016. He received his Master of Science in Chemistry from Vanderbilt in May 2016. Upon graduation from the Chemistry department, Ryan transitioned over to the Department of Teaching and Learning to pursue graduate work in education. Ryan was a BOLD Fellow for the CFT from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016, and he continues to work with this program in his capacity as a GTF. Additionally, Ryan facilitates a section of the CiCT Practicum and is available for consultations. His research interests include promoting student metacognition in STEM classrooms, as well as curricula development for STEM programs.
Michael-r-fisher-jrMichael R. Fisher, Jr. is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Center for Teaching and a Ph.D. candidate in Ethics and Society in the Graduate Department of Religion. He completed both the Certificate in College Teaching (CiCT) and Certificate in Humanities Teaching and Learning (formerly the Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education) programs and currently facilitates the CiCT Practicum. Outside of the CFT, Michael’s research lies at the intersection of religion, ethics, and urban studies in the United States. His dissertation, titled “A City Set on a Hill: Race and the Secular Soteriology of Neoliberal Urban Redevelopment,” critiques the ideologies that drive processes of urban redevelopment within cities in the United States.
Alexis-mcbrideAlexis McBride is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Center for Teaching and a Ph.D. student in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College. She completed the Mellon Certificate in Humanities Education and facilitates the Certificate in Humanities Teaching and Learning program during the 2016-2017 academic year. Alexis holds a M.A. in Hispanic Language & Literature from Boston College and has previously taught Spanish language and literature courses at several colleges in the Boston area, and also here at Vanderbilt University. In May 2016, Alexis earned the E. Inman Fox Award at Vanderbilt University, an award given for teaching excellence. Her research interests include the scholarship of teaching and learning, second language acquisition, and teaching language minority students bilingually.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Noah Green a WIDER Fellow. was born in Crozet Virginia and lived there with his family until he left to attend the University of Virginia in 2004 for his undergraduate education. After graduating from from UVA with a bachelors of science in biology in 2008, he took time to help his aging grandparents while farming, umberjacking, and working as a handyman on several farms in central Virginia. Noah was accepted to a doctoral program in biological sciences at Vanderbilt in 2010. During his graduate career, he studied under Dr. Douglas McMahon researching how environmental factors, such as the duration of light a mammal receives during a 24 hour period, can affect the serotonergic system in the brain and therefore depression and anxiety related behaviors. Noah completed his graduate studies in May 2015

Graduate Teaching Affiliates

Beth Estes (Political Science)
Andrea Gardiner (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Danielle Kopke (Biological Sciences)
Kylie Korsnack (English)
Allison McGrath (Sociology)
Dani Picard (History)
Matt Thompson (Chemical Engineering)
Amie Thurber (Human & Organizational Development)
Emily Turner (Psychology)
Katie Yewell (Economics)

Certificate in College Teaching Session Facilitator

Amie Thurber (Human & Organizational Development)