Center for Teaching strengthens online instructional design expertise

Two new assistant directors announced    

The Center for Teaching has announced two strategic hires: Julaine Fowlin as assistant director for instructional design, and Ransford Pinto as assistant director for graduate programs.

“As Vanderbilt explored new avenues for online education the past few years, we realized that the Center for Teaching must elevate its expertise in the design of effective online learning environments and experiences,” said Derek Bruff, director of the Center for Teaching and principal senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. “This year’s shift to remote, online and hybrid instruction accelerated this need. Julaine Fowlin will provide strong support to faculty and other instructors as they plan online and hybrid spring courses, and play an important role in the center’s future work on new online programs.”

environmental photo of Julaine Fowlin
Julaine Fowlin, assistant director for instructional design (submitted photo)

Fowlin 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 10 years of experience in instructional design and technology, helping design and launch online and blended courses at Auburn, 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. Fowlin earned her undergraduate degree from the University of West Indies. Her research interests include the design and development of innovative learning experiences, with a focus on curriculum reform, collaborative learning, and preparation of practice-ready graduates.

“We also welcome Ransford Pinto to the Center for Teaching, where he will support the center’s portfolio of offerings for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows,” Bruff said. This portfolio will include the center’s Certificate in College Teaching program, Graduate Teaching Fellows program, Teaching Assistant Orientation and more.

headshot of Ransford Pinto
Ransford Pinto, assistant director for graduate programs (submitted photo)

Pinto completed his doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis earlier this year at the University of Missouri, where he served as a graduate research assistant at the Teaching for Learning Center, designing and facilitating professional development workshops for graduate students and other instructors, among other duties. He previously earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Missouri–Columbia and worked at the British Council in his native Ghana as the administrator in charge of the University of Cambridge International Exams.

Pinto’s 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. He has more than a decade of teaching experience from middle school to graduate school, in both Ghana and the United States.

Pinto, who is also a senior lecturer in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, will prepare for a smooth transition to leading the services for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows after CFT Assistant Director Heather Fedesco leaves Vanderbilt at the end of December. She is relocating with her family to Huntsville, Alabama.

“Heather oversaw a significant expansion of the center’s programming for graduate students and postdocs, leading a number of efforts to support more inclusive and equitable teaching and learning environments on campus. We are grateful for her service,” Bruff said.