Arts & Sciences News Roundup

From a flowering corpse plant to the Jeopardy game board, our college faculty, staff, and students made headlines and impacts this fall.

Arts & Humanities News

Jessi Grieser, assistant professor of English linguistics, presented “Language and Belonging” at Duolingo’s 2021 Duocon, a free global event at the intersection of language, learning, and technology hosted by Patton Oswalt and including Trevor Noah as a plenary speaker.

Daniel H. Magilow, professor of German in the UT Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Helene Sinnreich, associate professor in the UT Department of Religious Studies and director of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, are the new co-editors-in-chief of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum academic journal, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Light From Light, a film written and directed by Paul Harrill, co-chair of the UT School of Art Cinema Studies Program, was awarded Best Narrative Feature at the 75th UFVA Award University Film and Video Association conference.

Associate Professor of History Tore Olsson took a colleague’s recommendation to play Red Dead Redemption 2 during the pandemic. A former avid gamer, Olsson hadn’t touched a console since his high school days, but being cooped up indoors, he gave the game a chance. Within a few hours of play, Olsson began noticing frequent allusions to major historical dilemmas that usually go untouched in video game and developed a class.

John Kelley, assistant professor of cinema studies, created an award-winning short film about his personal experience with a dog that appeared in unexplained succession during his boyhood. Watch the short film online.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon has received numerous awards and nominations for her work, including four for the 2020 film she produced with PBS Frontline, titled Coal’s Deadly Dust. The film was nominated for a Peabody Award, two News & Documentary Emmy Awards, and a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award. If not the most prestigious, perhaps her most far-reaching recognition was having the film referenced in a question on the October 14, 2021 episode of Jeopardy.

School of Music Associate Professor Gregory Tardy has a rather unique proposition. He is writing music inspired by classical literature. Read more about a recent Jazz Road Creative Residencies grant he received for his work. Alumnus Delbert Bowers won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album.

The Department of History is partnering with the Beck Cultural Exchange Center to provide our students with an intellectually robust internship program in African American and public history. The Beck Cultural Exchange Center is the primary regional repository for African American history and culture in Knoxville. Read more about the internship program.

Social and Natural Sciences News

Professor Amy Mundorff identified human remains after the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. At UT, she produces groundbreaking research and mentors a new generation of forensic anthropologists. Read more about her work to find answers.

Heidi Goodrich-Blair, professor and head of the Department of Microbiology, received an award for her contribution to education from the American Society for Microbiology. Read more about her work at UT.

Morwen Thistlethwaite, professor of mathematics, is one of 45 mathematical scientists from around the world to have been named Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for 2022, the program’s 10th year.

In July, the Hesler Biology Building had a unique and rather smelly resident – a titan arum, or corpse flower. Originally from the rain forests of Sumatra, it moved to UT two decades ago and bloomed for the first time this summer.

The Conversation

UT Knoxville is a member institution of The Conversation—an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the public. Through our partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important faculty research at UT. Faculty write articles that can inform public debate through responsible, ethical, and relevant evidence-based journalism.

In the Media

In each edition of our college monthly newsletter, Dialogue, we share external media coverage of our faculty, staff, and students. You can read more about these news and noteworthy achievements when you click on the link below.


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash