Faculty Spotlights

Nicole Eggers, an assistant professor of history, is an expert on African history and is fluent in Swahili. She received the College of Arts and Sciences 2020 Faculty Academic Outreach Service Award for her work with Congolese refugees in Knoxville.

While completing her master’s degree and doctorate in African history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Eggers became interested in the history of Kitawala, a religious movement with roots in both Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and central African systems of belief.

In the course of her research, Eggers has made multiple trips to Africa. In 2008, Eggers went to Tanzania on a Fulbright fellowship to study Swahili, after which she visited eastern Congo for the first time in search of Kitawala followers to interview.

Read more about Eggers’s work.

Barbara Murphy and Jacob Levy teach music students breathing and meditation to control performance anxiety in their students. Murphy is an associate professor of music theory. Levy is an associate professor of psychology.

For nearly 14 years, the two have been collaborating on research and teaching on a variety of topics, including performance anxiety, that transcend both of their fields. For their work, Levy and Murphy received the College of Arts and Sciences 2020 Interdepartmental Collaborative Scholarship and Research Award. 

Read more about their collaborations in music and psychology.

Charlie Kwit routinely assigns students in his wildlife vegetation and habitat class to help remove non-native invasive plants from selected acreage. While the labor benefits the landowners, it also allows his students to put their classroom knowledge to work.

“I was sold from the beginning on incorporating a service-learning component to my class,” said Kwit, an associate professor with joint appointments in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries in the Herbert College of Agriculture. For this and other efforts to promote interest in biology and ecology in the Southeast, Kwit received the College of Arts and Sciences’ 2019 Faculty Academic Outreach Teaching Award.

Read more about how Kwit helps his students put their knowledge of nature to work.

As difficult as the pandemic has been on education, Sally Harris sees an upside: It has helped instructors, including herself, become more comfortable teaching in the virtual classroom.

A distinguished lecturer and assistant director of undergraduate studies in the English Department, Harris was honored with the College of Arts and Sciences 2020 Outstanding Lecturer Award. 

Harris, who has taught at UT for 21 years, began honing her own virtual teaching skills long before the pandemic made it necessary. Back in 2007, she sought to improve her ENG295 courses – Writing in the Workplace – by moving lectures and quizzes online to free up classroom time for students to critique writing samples, practice their own writing, and do group projects.

Read more about Harris and her work helping colleagues with virtual instruction.