News from the Hill

Campus Construction and Renovation Benefit the College

Although the construction is causing temporary inconvenience for everyone, the campus-wide improvements in our physical work environment are needed and welcomed. The campus-wide improvements in our physical work environment signal that our university continues to move forward.

A number of the campus improvements and changes are particularly relevant to our college. The Humanities and Social Sciences Building has received additional classroom upgrades, an expanded retail area, and family-friendly and gender-neutral bathrooms. The space in Austin Peay Building once occupied by the Psychological Clinic has been improved for the benefit of faculty, staff, and students who work in that area.

Strong Hall

On a larger scale, work continues on Strong Hall, with exterior walls going up this fall. The concept of “Earth, Life, and Time” integrates all departments in the building. When completed, this building will house two departments, anthropology and earth and planetary sciences, as well as instructional laboratories for chemistry and the Division of Biology. Lecture halls, classrooms, and additional spaces for other campus needs are also included. The future inhabitants of Strong Hall monitor the construction daily on the active web cam, eagerly anticipating their move into this extraordinary space. Higher Ground readers can watch building progress as well on the web cam at

There is more good news. Preliminary site work is underway on the Ken and Blaire Mossman Building at Cumberland Avenue and 13th Street with completion projected for 2018. The building will house portions of microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, psychology, and nutrition, along with lab space and classrooms.

In December, some college faculty will begin moving to the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM) building across the river; the move will probably be completed sometime in March. About a dozen high-profile members of the chemistry and physics faculty will have space there alongside material scientists from engineering.

Leadership Appointments in Academic Departments

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Susan Kalisz, has been appointed professor and head of the department. She comes to UT from the University of Pittsburgh where she was professor of biological sciences for nineteen years and served as director of graduate studies and chair of the graduate program oversight committee. She served on the college’s graduate council and the dean’s budget and planning committee. At the university level, she served on the university’s committee on graduate studies and the provost’s committee for women’s concerns. Beginning August 2009, she served for eighteen months as a rotating program director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Environmental Biology’s Population and Community Ecology (PCE) Program. Kalisz’s research interests are two-pronged: the mating system and the evolutionary process, and biotic interactions, population fitness, and community invasion.

Randall Small, associate professor, served for the past two years as interim department head during the search for a permanent head.

Department of English

Allen Dunn, professor, has been appointed head of the department. He joined the university in 1985, earned tenure in 1991, and was promoted to professor in 2000. He completed the bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Los Angeles, and the doctorate at the University of Washington. His scholarship focuses on critical theory. His most recent publication, The Limits of History, co-edited with Tom Haddox, was published in 2012 by the University of Tennessee Press.

He served as director of graduate studies in the department from 2007-2011 and is co-chair of the Social Theory Graduate Certificate Program. He has served as Vice President as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Values in Higher Education. He has served one term as president of that organization (2009) and was appointed in 2014 for a second term which extends through 2017.

Dunn’s excellence in teaching has been recognized by his academic department with the Carroll Distinguished Teaching Fellowship in 2011-2013 and the John C. Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award in 1990. The college awarded him the James R. and Nell W. Cunningham Outstanding Teaching Award in 2001-2002, and the College’s Junior Teaching Award in 1990-91. He received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching in 1998.

Dunn replaces former department head, Stan Garner, who was first appointed August 1, 2010 for a five year term. Garner resigned the headship this year at the end of his five-year term to return to the faculty.

Department of Philosophy

John Nolt, professor, and Richard Aquila, professor emeritus, have been appointed as interim co-department heads following the resignation of David Reidy at the end of his term. Reidy was appointed department head in 2010 and served a five-year term.

John joined UT in 1978 following the completion of a doctorate in philosophy from Ohio State University. He earned tenure in 1984 and was promoted to professor in 2000. His teaching and research focus mainly on environmental ethics and logic. He has held a number of leadership positions, including serving as director of undergraduate studies in the department, president of the UT Faculty Senate (2008-2009), president of Tennessee University Faculty Senates (2009-2010), and currently chairs the UT committee on the campus environment.

Richard joined UT in 1974 following the completion of a doctorate in philosophy from Northwestern University. His areas of specialization are Kant’s philosophy of mind and knowledge, Schopenhauer, and Sartre’s theory of consciousness, with somewhat less focus on various themes in Descartes and Locke. Previously he has served the department as associate department head and director of graduate studies. Richard retired at the end of June 2012, but agreed to accept this interim appointment.

Department of Religious Studies

Rosalind Hackett, professor, resumes her appointment as head of the department on August 1, 2015. Associate Professor Rachelle Scott served as interim department head for one year beginning August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015 while Rosalind Hackett was on professional leave.

Collins and Sacco Join College Administrative Team

 Chuck CollinsCharles (Chuck) Collins, associate professor of mathematics, has accepted the seventy-five percent appointment of interim associate dean for academic programs. His primary responsibility is to work with the faculty in the college’s academic units on all aspects of undergraduate instruction, including managing the undergraduate curricula of the college, coordinating instructional funding, managing enrollment and assessment, and responding to questions about policy issues. He will be involved with several Top 25 efforts related to undergraduate education and will collaborate with the vice provost for academic affairs and Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center on a variety of issues related to undergraduate education. Chuck will also collaborate with the college’s advising services director and staff. His extensive past involvement with the university general education committee will serve the college and the campus well as the university undertakes a general review of the university’s general education curriculum this academic year.

Collins received the bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Texas A&M University in 1984 and the doctorate in mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 1990. He spent three years at the University of Michigan before joining the UT in 1993. Collins’ research interests are in the general area of applied mathematics, with a focus on computational methods and mathematical modeling. His most recent work has been on modeling the life dynamics and movement of feral hog populations to help understand how better to minimize their environmental impact and to limit their spread of diseases.

His administrative experience includes serving as associate department head from 2005-2012.

Lynn SaccoLynn Sacco, associate professor of history, has accepted the appointment as interim director of interdisciplinary, international, and experiential programs, a twenty-five percent appointment. Sacco’s primary responsibilities will include working closely with the chairs and steering committees of the college’s thirteen interdisciplinary programs, which provide students with opportunities to earn bachelor’s degrees in a number of fields that span multiple academic departments. She will also serve on the Center for International Education’s program abroad committee and is the college’s main contact for individuals and groups seeking Ready for the World funding. A key focus for Sacco this year will be working with faculty, staff, and students in the college to develop new opportunities for experiential learning as the university embarks on Experience Learning, its new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), an important component of the university’s reaccreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Sacco received bachelor’s degrees in both journalism and English from Marquette University in 1975, and a law degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1979. She practiced law in Chicago until 1994, after which she received a master’s degree in American studies, with a concentration in women’s studies, from SUNY-Buffalo in 1996, followed by a doctorate in history from the University of Southern California in 2001. Sacco was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before joining the UT history department in 2004. She was promoted to associate professor (with tenure) in 2010 and is currently working on her second book project.

Sacco is a social and cultural historian of gender and sexuality. Her first book, Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History, was published in 2009 by the Johns Hopkins University Press. At UT she has chaired the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People, and served as faculty co-advisor for Sexual Empowerment and Awareness in Tennessee (SEAT) from 2012-15.

Collins and Sacco are assuming the duties of the position vacated by Robert J. (R.J.) Hinde who accepted the position of Vice Provost for Academic Programs in the Provost’s Office.

Other associate deans serving on the college administrative team include Andrew Kramer, Professor of Anthropology and Associate Dean for Academic Personnel; Christine Boake, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Associate Dean for Research and Facilities who is appointed full-time; and Brent Mallinckrodt, Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies who holds a half-time appointment; and Angela Batey, Professor of Music and Associate Dean for Diversity, who is appointed quarter-time.

Other directors serving on the college administrative team, all fulltime appointments, include Lynn Champion, Director of Communications, Missy Parker, Director of Advising Services, Ann Robinson-Craig, Director of Budget and Administrative Affairs, and Andrew Sheehy, Executive Director of Development who is a UT Foundation employee jointly reporting to the college.

Advising Services Announces Staffing Changes

Three Arts and Sciences Advising Services staff members have accepted new responsibilities within the office.

Jeff ElliotJeff Elliott has been promoted from Assistant Director to Associate Director. In his new role, Jeff will direct the pre-law advising program, coordinate initiatives for Exploratory students, and revise all curricular materials and the Advising Services’ web site. Jeff joined the staff from Columbia State Community College in June 2011. He holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Tennessee and is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Administration.

Shanna PendergrastShanna Pendergrast is moving from Coordinator of Biology Advising to Arts and Sciences Advising Services Assistant Director. In this position, she will coordinate new student orientation for the College, direct advising assessment initiatives, and coordinate scheduling and training for the Grades First system. Shanna joined the Advising Services staff in 2010 as one of the College’s first professional advisors. She holds a masters in College Student Personnel from the University of Tennessee, and she is currently working on her dissertation for her PhD in Higher Education Administration.

Jared JohnsonJared Johnson is also not a new face on the Advising Services team. This June he moved into his role as a professional advisor after serving for three years as a graduate assistant advisor while completing his masters in Anthropology with a concentration in Mediterranean Archeology. Jared’s devotion to interdisciplinary study began while an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he majored in Anthropology, History, Classical Languages, and Religious Studies.

College Presents Inaugural Staff Awards

The second annual celebration of staff was held on Tuesday, May 19, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. on the South Lawn of Ayres Hall. The centerpiece of this year’s event was the inaugural presentation of staff awards in several categories. Nominations were solicited from staff and faculty throughout the college. Associate Dean Chris Boake chaired the committee to select the winners from the many worthy nominations.

Dean Theresa Lee welcomed the group, thanked the staff for their service, and presented the awards.

Two awards were presented in the category of Outstanding Academic Support:

  • Marva Anderson, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her nominator, Randy Small, described her as the knowledgeable, capable, patient, and ever willing resource everyone counts on when they have questions or need help. “She is the glue that holds the department together,” he said.
  • Pamela Hughes, Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. Nominated by Adrian Del Caro and others in the department, she is described as one who repeatedly goes beyond her job description and who leads by example, always maintaining a constructive and affirmative demeanor. Del Caro said “She is our rock.”

One award was presented in the category of Outstanding Financial Support:

  • Judith Welch, Department of English. Nominated by her department, she was praised for Canada drugs, awareness, and cheerfulness in going about her work. Writing on behalf of Judith’s colleagues, Stan Garner noted that Judith’s reputation as a knowledgeable and expert of Canadian online Pharmacies Known as an accurate and reliable resource, Judith frequently responds to calls from other business managers around campus seeking her advice.

One award was presented in the category of Outstanding Technical Support:

  • Anthony Faiia, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. As manager of the Stable Isotope Laboratory since 2014, Anthony is celebrated by his colleagues for his ability to successfully troubleshoot main technical problems and to make many necessary repairs of equipment on his own. These skills and his ability to accomplish software updates and reinstallations have saved his department thousands of dollars.

The Outstanding Teamwork Award was presented to the Theatre Shop Heads, Don Conard, Melissa Caldwell-Weddig, Travis Gavoda, Christy Fogarty, Mike Ponder, and Jillie Eves, staff of the Clarence Brown Theatre.

“This team works tirelessly to bring in our productions on-time and in budget,” wrote the nominator, Cal MacLean, head of the Department of Theatre and Creative Director of the Clarence Brown Theatre. “They fill up holes in design, suggest solutions not easily seen, and put in extra time to realize the work of designers and directors. They are an extraordinary team.”

Congratulating the award winners, Dean Lee said these award winners are examples of the staff who are the underpinning of our academic enterprise. “Capable and dedicated staff support is essential to the success of our academic mission. The College of Arts and Sciences is fortunate to have many talented staff. We want to recognized their many contributions and let them know they are appreciated.”

Before and after the Awards Ceremony, staff enjoyed food and music planned around an island theme. The celebration concluded with the awarding of a number of great door prizes which included gift certificates from local businesses and many VOLS items.