Sloop named associate provost for digital learning

John Sloop (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

John M. Sloop has been tapped to lead Vanderbilt University’s digital learning initiatives as outlined in its Academic Strategic Plan, effective Aug. 1. Sloop will report to Cynthia Cyrus, vice provost for learning and residential affairs.

“We believe educational technologies are transforming how we teach, learn and conduct research and that innovation in this burgeoning area is critical to our continued evolution as a university,” Cyrus said. “John’s proven leadership, honed during his years as senior associate dean and then interim dean of the College of Arts and Science, will be of great benefit to our efforts in this area, and I’m grateful for his willingness to take on this new role.”

As associate provost for digital learning, Sloop will focus on the development and implementation of school-based educational technology initiatives and the university’s overall exploration of digital learning. His responsibilities will include supporting the digital goals outlined in the strategic plan, which include:

  • Creating new infrastructure to enable personalized and connected learning;
  • Building partnerships among the many groups on campus working in educational technology;
  • Launching new curriculum in communication and information technology, data analysis, data visualization and analytics;
  • Investing in research on the impact of new education technologies on learning; and
  • Encouraging the use of new education technologies to forge partnerships, collaborations and global outreach.

In addition, he will oversee the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning and provide oversight of campus partnerships and experimentation with Coursera, Blackboard and other digital platforms.

“Educational technology has profound implications for students, faculty and our society,” Sloop said. “I’m thrilled for this new opportunity and look forward to working with colleagues across campus to identify what we can and must do to continue to lead in this important area.”

Sloop, professor of communication studies, will continue to teach and conduct research. His work explores the rhetoric of mass media and popular culture as well as mass media production and consumption. His recent research has addressed issues of gender, immigration, citizenship and mediation.

Sloop joined the university faculty in 1995 as assistant professor of communication studies and was promoted to professor in 2000. He served during the 2014-15 academic year as the interim dean of the College of Arts and Science. He previously served for four years as senior associate dean for undergraduate education and three years as senior associate dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Science. He also participated as a member in the executive committee of the Academic Strategic Plan and co-chaired the Chancellor’s Committee on Social Media and the Internet.