News from the Hill

Spotlight on new department leadership and faculty accolades

The Hill

College appoints 6 new department heads, reappoints 1

Six of the twenty-one departments in the College of Arts and Sciences began this academic year with new leadership at the helm. Of the six new appointments, three were internal hires and three were external hires. One department head was reappointed for another term.

Derek H. Alderman has been appointed head of the Department of Geography.  Alderman was previously professor and department chair at East Carolina University, where he was also a research fellow in cultural and heritage tourism at the Center for Sustainable Tourism and co-coordinator of the Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism (RESET) Initiative. Alderman earned his doctorate in geography from the University of Georgia. A prolific and award-winning cultural geographer with a stellar record of community engagement, Alderman pursues such research interests as civil rights and heritage tourism.

Former head of the geography department, Shih-Lung Shaw, resigned from the headship a year ago to pursue his research more intensely. Carol Harden served as interim department head last year.

Adrian Del Caro is the new head of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. Del Caro comes to the position from Purdue University, where he was professor and department chair. He has held administrative positions including department head at the University of Alberta, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Mississippi State. In these positions, he reorganized and strengthened each department.  He earned a doctoral degree in German from the University of Minnesota.

Del Caro succeeds Erec Koch, who resigned last year to accept a position at another university, and Greg Kaplan, who served as interim department head.

Andrew Kramer was reappointed head of the Department of Anthropology with strong, widespread support from the department’s faculty. This is Kramer’s third term as department head; he was first appointed in 2000.

Jeffrey Pappas is the new director of the School of Music. Pappas comes to the position from Marshall University, where he was professor and chair of the music department and was noted for attracting excellent students to a program that balances performance and academic development. Prior to his appointment at Marshall, he held administrative positions at Clark College, Mississippi State, and Ball State University.  He completed a DMA degree in choral conducting at the University of Iowa.

Pappas succeeds the late Roger Stephens, who served as director from August 2001 to February 2011, when Angela Batey agreed to serve as interim director until a search could be conducted.

Conrad Plaut assumed the headship of the Department of Mathematics. Plaut was formerly professor and director of the Math Honors Program and served the department as associate head for undergraduate programs from 2003 to 2005. Plaut came to UT in 1992 after completing a doctorate in differential geometry at the University of Maryland, College Park, and completing two postdoctoral fellowships—one at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Germany and the other at the Ohio State University.

Hanno Weitering is the new head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Weltering’s research focuses generally on materials sciences, holds a joint UT/ORNL appointment as professor, and is currently associate director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. He earned a doctorate in mathematics and natural sciences at Groningen University in the Netherlands. Before coming to UT in 1993, he spent two years as a distinguished Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, working in the research lab of E. Ward Plummer.

Weitering succeeds Soren Sorensen, who resigned the administrative post to return to teaching and research after twelve years of distinguished service as department head. Sorensen served as the 2012 college marshal, the highest honor the college bestows on a member of the faculty.

Deborah Welsh is the new head of the Department of Psychology. She served as associate head last academic year and has been the director of the graduate program in clinical psychology. She is a graduate of the 2010–2011 UT Women’s Leadership Program. Welsh earned a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and joined the UT faculty in 1993.

Welsh succeeds James Lawler, who resigned as head after fifteen years of distinguished service in which he advanced the department and its programs and recruited a stellar faculty.

Department head and school director appointments in the college are typically for five-year terms and may be renewed for additional terms.


2012 Winter Convocation Winners

2012 Winter Convocation award winners

College faculty receive awards for teaching, research, and more

The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, celebrated outstanding faculty with awards in advising, teaching, research, outreach, and service during the annual Winter Convocation on December 4.

“The faculty are the engine that drive the success of the college and its programs,” said Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Once a year, we gather to thank our faculty, to celebrate all of their contributions and accomplishments, and to publicly recognize a few individuals who represent the collective excellence of our entire faculty.”

The College Marshal designation is the highest college honor for a faculty member. Hap McSween was selected for the recognition for the 2013 calendar year. McSween’s outstanding service to both the college and university stems from his work in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, where he is a Chancellor’s Professor. McSween has been conducting impressive research for decades, and this year the National Academy of the Sciences awarded him with the J. Lawrence Smith Medal, recognizing his pioneering studies of meteorites and his work on the geological history of Mars. As College Marshal, McSween will represent the college at fall and spring commencement.

Among the ten other awards is the Interdepartmental Collaboration in Scholarship and Research Award, which highlights successful teamwork among faculty across disciplines and specialties. The faculty team included Matthew A. Cooper, assistant professor of psychology, Jim C. Hall, associate professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, and Rebecca A. Prosser, professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology.

The James R. and Nell W. Cunningham Outstanding Teaching Award honors tenured faculty for classroom teaching and was presented to Mary E. Papke, professor of English, and Randall L. Small, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Charles R. Collins, associate professor of mathematics, and Casey Sams, associate professor of theatre, both received Faculty Advising Awards in recognition of their achievement as undergraduate directors of their respective departments.

The Lorayne W. Lester Award—established to recognize faculty and staff who have demonstrated outstanding service to the college and its various constituencies—was presented to John Koontz, professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology.

For supporting the college’s and university’s commitment to diversity, the Diversity Leadership Award was given to Joseph R. Miles, assistant professor of psychology.

Stuart Riggsby, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor emeritus of microbiology, was awarded the Outstanding Service Award. Riggsby retired in 2005 but has continued to advance the mission and goals of the college—just as he has since joining UT in 1969.

Five faculty members were honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award: Salvador Bartera, a classics lecturer; William A. Jennings, a political science lecturer; Tricia Redeker Hepner, associate professor of anthropology; Elisabeth E. Schussler, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; and Jerzy Dydak, professor of mathematics.

The Junior Faculty Research and Creative Achievement Award was presented to Jon P. Camden, assistant professor of chemistry, and Aimée T. Classen, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. The Senior Faculty Research and Creative Achievement Award was presented to David G. Anderson, professor of anthropology, and Gregory L. Stuart, professor of psychology.

The Faculty Academic Outreach Awards recognize faculty who have extended their scholarship and creative activity to directly benefit the community beyond the university. Kristina C. Gordon, professor of psychology, Christine Shepardson, associate professor of religious studies, and Marilyn Kallet, professor of English, received the distinction this year.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the oldest, largest, most comprehensive, and most diverse of UT’s eleven colleges. Its twenty-one academic departments and schools, seven centers and institutes, and thirteen interdisciplinary programs span the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the visual and performing arts. The college’s academic programs are served by more than 600 faculty members, who also provide the university’s entire undergraduate student body with core instruction in the arts and humanities and the natural and social sciences.

Download the Winter Convocation program (PDF)