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Cynthia J. Cyrus, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs


Cynthia J.  Cyrus is vice provost for learning and residential affairs at Vanderbilt University. Cyrus' work focuses on the synergy between discovery and learning, and coordination across all years of the undergraduate residential experience as additional phases of faculty-led living and learning communities emerge. 

Cyrus has served in the Office of the Provost since 2011. During that time, she led the university's partnership with the online learning platform Coursera, where enrollments have recently passed the 800,000 mark, and launched the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning (VIDL), which facilitates campus discussions of online and technologically facilitated learning, promotes research in these areas, and sustains Vanderbilt's ongoing presence in the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) environment. Cyrus also oversaw a revision of the Vanderbilt honor system and facilitated the development of a unified 10-school statement of the honor code. She was deeply involved in the planning and launch of Warren and Moore Colleges, in which she coordinated several committees of faculty, staff, and students to establish the ideas of the residential colleges for returning students; hired the colleges' new faculty directors; and selected the first cohort of student residents who will create the "engaged community" that is a hallmark of the program.

Cyrus joined the Vanderbilt University  faculty in 1994 and currently is professor of musicology at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music, where she also served as associate dean of the collegiate program from 2004-2010. She received her B.A. in music from Pomona College and a M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research addresses questions of literacy, particularly musical literacy, in the late medieval and early modern Europe and the history of women's monasticism. Recent books include The Scribes for Women's Convents in Late Medieval Germany (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009), and Received Medievalisms: A Cognitive Geography of Viennese Women's Convents (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Assisted by Kathryn Dudley

Mark Bandas, Ph.D.
Associate Provost and Dean of Students


Mark Bandas is associate provost and dean of students. He graduated from Connecticut College, Magna Cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt. 

Mark has administrative oversight for the offices of Housing and Residential EducationStudent Conduct and Academic Integrity, Student Centers, Greek Life, Student Organizations, Campus Events, International Student and Scholar Services, Leadership Development and Multicultural Affairs, The KC Potter Center, Active Citizenship and Service, Arts and Creative Engagement, Student Health and Wellness, and Conference Services. He also serves as a lecturer in philosophy for the College of Arts and Science and as a lecturer in higher education administration for the Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

He has held faculty and administrative positions at a number of institutions including the University of Richmond, Truman State University and Tennessee State University. Since 1999, Mark has assisted in the planning and implementation of the College Halls program at Vanderbilt. The first phase of this program is the first-year student Commons, which opened in 2008. Mark’s teaching and research interests include learning communities, American philosophy, philosophy of education, and philosophy of religion.

Assisted by Judy Moss

Susan M. Barone, Ph.D.
Executive Director of International Student Programs


Susan Barone is executive director of international student programs. She serves as the director of the English Language Center and has oversight of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS). Susan’s depth of knowledge in global education initiatives in higher education, coupled with her appreciation for developing robust support networks to facilitate student academic success, will help all Vanderbilt international students flourish. 

Barone’s scholarly research investigates the intersection of applied linguistics and narrative medicine and the connection between clinician elicitations and patient narratives in intercultural health care contexts. In her 23 years at Vanderbilt, she has been instrumental in developing discipline-specific language programs at Peabody College, the School of Engineering, the law school, the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine and the Owen Graduate School of Management. Her professional interests include needs analysis, program design and medical discourse analysis. Barone presents at international conferences, and her publications include articles, book chapters and the textbook American Legal English

Vanessa Beasley, Ph.D.
Dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons


Vanessa Beasley, a Vanderbilt University alumna and expert on race, gender and diversity in U.S. political rhetoric, is dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and an associate professor of communications studies.

Beasley attended Vanderbilt as an undergraduate and earned a bachelor of arts in speech communication and theatre arts. She also holds a Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

Following stints on the faculty of Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Georgia, she returned to Vanderbilt in 2007 as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies. Active in the Vanderbilt community, she has served as chair of the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, director of the Program for Career Development for faculty in the College of Arts and Science, and as a Jacque Voegeli Fellow of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

In May 2015, she led a new Maymester course she created in partnership with Queen’s University, Belfast that explored the comparative, transnational understanding of the civil rights movements in the southern United States and in Belfast in the 1950s and 1960s.

Beasley’s areas of academic expertise include the rhetoric of American presidents, political rhetoric on immigration, and media and politics. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and other publications, and is the author of two books, Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric, and Immigration  and You, the People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric, 1885-2000.

Assisted by Jennifer Atwood

Elizabeth C. Boyd, M.Ed.
Program Manager, Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs


Elizabeth Boyd joined the Office of the Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs as a project manager in May 2015. Prior to moving to Nashville, Elizabeth served as a project manager in the Office of Development at Yale University.

She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

Derek Bruff, Ph.D.                                                                               Director, Center for Teaching

BruffDerek 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.

Assisted by Juliet Traub

Laura Flippo                                                                                          Human Resources Specialist, Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs

Laura Flippo serves as the HR Specialist to the Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs.Laura

Flippo joined the Office of the Vice Provost in 2016 after working as the General Counsel and Quality Assurance Coordinator for Therapetic Interventions, Inc., where she was responsible for legal and human resources functions. She received a Juris Doctor from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University in 2010 and was admitted to the Tennessee Bar that same year. Prior to law school, she managed client support services and assisted with planning and staging of community events for Hall Strategies. She earned a B.S. in Mass Communication from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005.

Captain Edward Heflin
Commanding Officer, Naval ROTC


Captain Edward "Ted" Heflin serves as Commanding Officer of the Vanderbilt University Naval ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps)The purpose of the NROTC Program is to educate and train qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the Navy's unrestricted line, the Navy Nurse Corps and the Marine Corps.

Captain Heflin has a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University. Heflin also completed the Naval Nuclear Power School and has accumulated over 25 years of military service.

Assisted by Jim Barlow

John M. Sloop, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Digital Learning

 Sloop John Sloop is the associate provost for digital learning whose office focuses on the development and implementation of school-based educational technology initiatives and the university’s overall exploration of digital learning. His responsibilities 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 oversees the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning and provide oversight of campus partnerships and experimentation with Coursera, Blackboard, Brightspace, and other digital platforms.

Sloop, professor of communication studies, continues 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.

Lieutenant Colonel Eric Westphal                                                    Commanding Officer, Army ROTC


Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Eric Westphal serves as the Commanding Officer of the Vanderbilt University Army ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps). The Vanderbilt University Army ROTC mission is to train and commission officers of character and quality into the United States Army.

LTC Westphal graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1998 with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Sociology and commissioned as an Infantry Officer. He later went on to earn a Master's Degree from Ashford University while simultaneously completing his professional education requirements at the Command and General Staff College resident course in Fort Leavenworth, KS. 

Assisted by Kenneth Walden 

Administrative Appointments

Brian Heuser Faculty Director of the Ingram Scholarship Program

Gary Kimball , Acting Coordinator of Business-related Minors