New Immersion Vanderbilt process redefines, supports role of faculty as mentors

In response to faculty and student feedback, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs has redesigned the Immersion Vanderbilt process. This update includes the role of faculty and staff advisers and the forms students use to submit their plans. The revised forms explicitly define the Immersion Vanderbilt experience and the final culminating piece.

Professional headshot of Dr. Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson, assistant provost for immersion and experiential learning

“A hallmark of experiential learning is self-reflection. By more explicitly breaking apart the experience from the final culminating piece, students will focus on each component of Immersion Vanderbilt and think through the learning process as they go,” Assistant Provost for Immersion and Experiential Learning Amy Johnson said. “While this was always the goal of Immersion Vanderbilt, these enhancements will better facilitate that process.”

Proceeding through the four phases of Immersion Vanderbilt—experience, reflect, ideate and create—students will reflect on their learning on each of the four new corresponding milestone forms. Learn more on the Immersion Vanderbilt website.

On the first of the updated forms, titled Experience Declaration Form, sophomores are asked to identify an immersion mentor for their experience who can be their Office of Immersion Resources adviser or another VU faculty or staff member who directly oversees the experience, such as a study abroad leader. This adviser does not have to be the same person who will eventually be the student’s immersion faculty adviser for the final project, and the student does not have to know who that final adviser will be at this stage.

What has changed

  • The new process allows sophomores more time to naturally discover their passion project and develop a clearer scope for their research before being required to submit a proposal.
  • The OIR will help students find their immersive experience and will provide support for any necessary logistical or administrative planning.
  • Faculty advisers will then mentor students for the completion of their final culminating project, when the academic connection is made with the prior immersive experience.

Faculty and staff with ongoing projects

Faculty and staff mentors with an ongoing Immersion Vanderbilt project will continue without interruption. Mentors and students are encouraged to check their Vanderbilt email for updates from the OIR later today.

Funding and resources for immersion projects

As Immersion Vanderbilt continues to develop, additional resources are available for students and their mentors. Visit the Immersion Vanderbilt website for information about funding an immersion project. Applications are currently being accepted for the Joe C. Davis Fund, which supports immersion experiences in the Middle Tennessee region. More details and the application are available here.

Questions about Immersion Vanderbilt can be directed to the OIR at