Skip to content
2017 Faculty Award Winners

Faculty Honored at Annual Banquet

The 2017 College of Arts and Sciences faculty awards ceremony took place Thursday, December 7 at the Holiday Inn Downtown. Hosted by Dean Theresa Lee, this annual event recognizes faculty for their outstanding work in a variety of areas. Congratulations to the following on your award!

Diversity Leadership Award

Adam CuretonAdam Cureton, Department of Philosophy

An associate professor of philosophy, Adam Cureton specializes in ethics, Kant, and the philosophy of disability. Cureton is the founder of the Society for Philosophy and Disability, which promotes inclusiveness for people with disabilities in philosophy. He has served for several years on the Chancellor’s Commission for Diversity and Inclusion. He has also served on the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Inclusiveness in the Professions and its Diversity Task Force and is the faculty advisor for the student group Campus Disability Advocates.

Faculty Advising Service Award

Michelle Christian, Department of Sociology

Michelle Christian, assistant professor of sociology, is honored for her work as advisor, teacher, and mentor to her advisees and the students in the sociology honors concentration. Christian’s approach to advising embodies the principle that advising is teaching. With her cross-disciplinary knowledge, she not only encourages her students to create an academic plan that has multi-disciplinary breadth, but she also challenges them to consider diverse career paths and prepare for alternatives.

Sarah LebeisSarah Lebeis, Department of Microbiology

Sarah Lebeis, assistant professor of microbiology, is recognized for her work advising undergraduates in the Department of Microbiology. Recognizing that her advisees bring different academic and socioeconomic backgrounds to the university, she takes the time to discuss success and career strategies that align with each of their personalities, as well as their academic challenges and strengths. Another focus of her advising approach is career exploration and planning. As the advisor of the Microbiology Undergraduate Club, she has guided members in developing a series of career-focused programs that range from identifying research opportunities to securing positive faculty recommendations.

Excellence in Research/Creative Achievement Award, Senior Faculty

Kate JonesKate Jones, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Professor Kate Jones has built an outstanding research career at the intersection of nuclear structure, nuclear reactions, and nuclear astrophysics. Her discoveries prompted theoreticians to develop more accurate models of exotic, neutron-rich isotopes. Over the past five years, Jones published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles. Jones serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the national Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, the $1B laboratory under construction in Michigan. She is also member of the prestigious Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC).

Excellence in Research/Creative Achievement Award, Mid-Career Faculty

John PowersJohn Powers, School of Art

Associate Professor John Powers is a multi-faceted artist whose creative work includes kinetic sculpture, carved marble and wood, video animation and projection, and systematic drawing. In a very short time, Powers has been able to build a remarkable creative research record that includes a considerable list of first-class exhibitions. He has also received several very prestigious awards, including a 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Creative Arts, a Virginia A. Groot Foundation, 1st Place Award; the Manifest Prize from the Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center; and was a featured Artist-in-Residence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Haidong ZhouHaidong Zhou, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Assistant Professor Zhou Haidong is a world-renowned researcher who designs novel ‘quantum matter’ materials, which are of great interest as materials platforms for quantum computing and other transformative quantum technologies that are expected to revolutionize data storage and information processing. He has published close to 200 peer-reviewed articles, many of them appeared in top journals, and work is currently cited over 500 times each year. Zhou received the prestigious NSF Early Career Award in 2014 for his studies of quantum magnetism in pyrochlores.

Excellence in Research/Creative Achievement Award, Early Career Faculty

Sarah EldridgeSarah Eldridge, Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures

Assistant Professor Sarah Eldridge’s outstanding portfolio of research includes a monograph published in 2016, four refereed journal articles published, two refereed journal articles in press, one more refereed article commissioned for a special issue, and one book chapter accepted for an edited volume. Eldridge has a contract with Oxford University Press for a co-edited volume on Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and Philosophy, to which she will also contribute a chapter. Since arriving at UT, Eldridge has had nine conference presentations and four book reviews. Eldridge has received external funding, including a highly competitive DAAD/German Academic Exchange Service Summer Seminar at the University of Chicago in 2013 and a Fulbright Research Grant to Germany in 2016.

Patrick GrzankaPatrick Grzanka, Department of Psychology

Assistant Professor Patrick Grzanka’s scholarship examines how multiple forms of inequality intersect to create and maintain systemic oppression—or, “intersectionality.” Because inequality crosses disciplinary boundaries, Grzanka’s work is interdisciplinary, drawing from psychology, sociology, and science and technology studies while employing both quantitative and qualitative analysis. With funding from the NSF, Grzanka has critiqued normative therapeutic approaches to sexual orientation and developed new models that seek to affirm all sexualities and gender expressions. With recent funding from the American Psychological Association, he studied the effects of Tennessee’s law that allows counselors to deny services to anyone based on “sincerely held principles.” His important findings have demonstrated that awareness of the bill may have significant effects on LGBT+ Tennesseans’ mental health and their willingness to seek mental health services.

Distinguished Research Career at UT

Michael LofaroMike Lofaro, Department of English

Professor Michael Lofaro has taught English at UT since 1975. He is a broad-ranging scholar whose work falls into three distinctive categories of American literature. He is a scholar of the early national period, the frontier and frontier hero in American literature and culture, and the works of Knoxville native James Agee. The general editor of the eleven-volume scholarly edition of The Works of James Agee, Lofaro is also the scholarly editor of two of those eleven volumes. This is the first complete edition of the works of Agee. Lofaro is also a fine teacher who has taught a wide variety of courses.

New Research, Scholarly, and Creative Projects in the Arts and Humanities

Jacob LathamJacob Latham, Department of History

Associate Professor Jacob Latham has published award-winning work on the circus parade in Late Antique Rome, one of the empire’s most important political and religious pageants. Supported by this award, he will look more broadly at what such ceremonies can tell us about the centuries-long struggle for authority between Rome’s pagan and Christian powers. Latham’s ambitious work requires mastery of multiple disciplines. In his attempt to provide a richer understanding of the role of religion in the Roman Empire and the gradual victory of Christian over pagan authority, he must command not only the literature that has survived from pagan and Christian elites, but also the civic rituals, material culture, and popular religious practices as they evolved over several centuries. He aims to bring together the insights of history, religious studies, archaeology, and historical sociology. This award will be invaluable in supporting that research.

Interdepartmental Collaborative Scholarship and Research

Michelle Christian, Department of Sociology
Jioni Lewis, Department of Psychology

As assistant professors, Michelle Christian and Jioni Lewis co-founded the Critical Race Collective, an interdisciplinary research group that brings together faculty across campus focused on critical race issues in research, teaching, and engagement. They also developed an innovative interdisciplinary research project utilizing a mixed methods approach to investigate the race-related and campus climate experiences of students of color at the university. This research and the Critical Race Collective provide exemplars of innovative interdisciplinary research and collaboration that has the potential to positively impact the campus community and beyond, while also leading to high quality and nationally competitive grant fundable research.

Excellence in Teaching Award, Senior Faculty

Stephanie Bohon, Department of Sociology

Associate Professor Stephanie Bohon has aligned her position as director of graduate studies in sociology with her deep understanding of and concern for the needs of graduate students. This is reflected in her courses, but even more so in how she reaches out to all the graduate students in her department and even to some in other units. One area of focus is writing. She organized grant writing workshops for all students, offered to give feedback on drafts of journal articles and conference presentations, and promoted weekly ‘write-ins’ for students and faculty across campus.

Steven Wilhelm, Department of Microbiology

Professor Steven Wilhelm co-developed and successfully teaches a course to help students transition to upper-level microbiology courses. He led the department in applying for an NSF REU program. One of Wilhelm’s interests is aquatic microbiological research, which has led him to take 20-plus students over the past three years into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and other exotic locations. A student wrote of the experience: “Working in a university lab may have its challenges, but it takes a truly outstanding mentor to teach you how to place filters on a rig in 20-foot seas.”

Excellence in Teaching Award, Junior Faculty

Patrick GrzankaPatrick Grzanka, Department of Psychology

Assistant Professor Patrick Grzanka connects his research and passion to the content and pedagogy in his courses and to all that he does for his students and the university. Grzanka is an exceptional scholar-teacher whose innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching have made a substantial impact on the study of intersectionality. His tireless work in the classroom, on our campus, and in the greater psychological community demonstrates a commitment to social transformation and an expansive vision of critical pedagogy that promotes social justice, particularly for members of multiply marginalized groups

Marie JamesonMarie Jameson, Department of Mathematics

Assistant Professor Marie Jameson’s excellence extends beyond the classroom. She is a risk taker and successfully redesigned a course under the “flipped” style. She shares her knowledge with GTAs and co-mentors them as they teach calculus. She is also continuing to grow as an instructor by trying new pedagogies and participating in a TN-TLC program and the Mathematical Association of America’s Project NExT program.

Excellence in Teaching Award, Lecturers

Marcel BrouwersMarcel Brouwers, Department of English

Marcel Brouwers, senior lecturer, has found the sweet spot of being human and still teaching the discipline involved in reading literature and in writing (both compositions and creatively). He has taught a variety of courses that mostly enroll non-majors and has received excellent student evaluations. In classroom conversations about a poem, he was able to remain open to and encourage various ideas from the students, while still drawing those ideas back to the bigger themes of the course. He strives to share his own excitement with his students and, as he writes in his teaching philosophy: “Being a student is not easy: It can be arduous and slow going … I am available to help, to guide, and, with luck, to teach.”

Laura Trujillo-MejiaLaura Trujillo-Mejia, Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures

There are many elements that indicate excellence in teaching: great student evaluations and comments, high standards, and constant innovation. Distinguished Lecturer Laura Trujillo-Mejia attains all these, and in her teaching philosophy, captures them under a simple idea: “… to be a successful teacher, one needs to be a good learner.” This philosophy has led her to develop new ways to teach her courses, including flipping Spanish 323. She participates in activities with the TN-TLC and has been awarded grants to improve her courses. Her students appreciate her work with exceptionally high evaluations and strong comments. Her colleagues appreciate her innovation and the quality of her work, giving her the highest marks among all lecturers in the department in 2015.

James R. and Nell W. Cunningham Outstanding Teaching Award

Millie GimmelMillie Gimmel, Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures

Teaching involves addressing many different goals: the content, the culture behind the content, the role of the humanities in understanding culture, and the value of all student voices. Associate Professor Millie Gimmel is able to bring all these together in her classroom by her own detailed preparation and by the way she engages the students in the discussion. An observer of her class noted how she made sure all students were encouraged to engage. This reflects in her teaching philosophy of providing a safe place for all students to discuss and examine cultures that are different from their own.

Michael OlsonMichael Olson, Department of Psychology

Professor Michael Olson starts his teaching philosophy with the value of a good classroom: comfortable, marked by mutual respect and freedom. His classes are entertaining, but the learning is significant. In his Psychology of Prejudice course, students engage in “intergroup dialogues” (structured conversations among diverse populations), and participate and then write about experiences where they were in the minority. The enthusiasm he brings to the classroom makes it an ideal place for deep and significant learning

Faculty Academic Outreach Award for Teaching

Karen LloydKaren Lloyd, Department of Microbiology

From Costa Rica to the TED talk stage in Milan, Assistant Professor Karen Lloyd’s academic outreach efforts cover a broad range of activities. In 2012, Lloyd and her colleague Drew Steen founded the Aquatic Geochemistry Team, an ongoing program at the primarily minority Malcom X. Shabazz High School in New Jersey. The impact of this outreach program inspires students who deal with very harsh realities in their daily life to continue their education after high school. Lloyd’s role as an ambassador of science does not stop there. She has been part of ongoing outreach to the greater public. One example is her efforts in the development of short films on her research, such as the Deep Carbon Observatory research in Costa Rica. During the 2016 Olympics, Lloyd illuminated microbes through a popular lens in an article that demonstrated the novel capabilities of microbes within the context of how they might be perceived as competing in Olympic events. In this year alone, Lloyd has presented her research at the UT MicNite, created the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations Professional Development Webinar, served on a panel at the world conference for science journalists, and presented at TED Talk in Milan, Italy.

Faculty Academic Outreach Award for Service

Julie ReedJulie Reed , Department of History

Since coming to UT in 2011, Associate Professor Julie Reed has done much to enrich the study of Native American history by developing a slate of innovative courses, organizing a series of lectures on Native American topics, collaborating with colleagues to build an interdisciplinary program, and advising and mentoring Native American student groups. Another important dimension of her work is the service she provides as a scholar of Native American history and a member of the Cherokee tribe to Native American communities in our region and beyond. This work exemplifies the aim of this award, to recognize someone who brings faculty experience to the service of a wider community. Her work has helped both the Cherokee and their neighbors to develop a deeper understanding of a shared history that is foundational to an understanding of our region. The value of her outreach serves not only Native American communities, but enriches our undergraduate courses and our wider campus community.

Faculty Academic Outreach Award for Research & Creative Activity

Henri Grissino-MayerHenri Grissino-Mayer, Department of Geography

For years, Professor Henri Grissino-Mayer voiced concerns about the potential fire situation in and around Gatlinburg. In November of 2016, his concerns became a reality when a series of forest fires raged across the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. In the aftermath, Grissino-Mayer became the go-to academic expert on the scene. He explained why this tragedy occurred and the potential for such a disaster to occur again. He spoke in straightforward terms and enabled people without a PhD or even a scientific background to understand the threats posted by this situation, their causes, and their human costs. Grissino-Mayer is most recognized for his work on dendrochronology and, given the trends in climate change and the constant tug-of-war between economic development and environmental concerns, his research is highly significant. His personal website is a virtual public clearinghouse for research and discussions on dendrochronology, which is further evidence of the importance of his work.

Lorayne W. Lester Award

Susan MartinSusan Martin, Department of Classics

Professor Susan Martin’s career has embodied the very definition of university service. In addition to her faculty position in the classics department, Martin has served as department head in classics, associate dean for academic personnel in our college, senior vice provost, and provost and senior vice chancellor of academic affairs for the university. Under her leadership, she single-handedly and effectively advocated for the advancement of women to positions of power, and she focused on enhancing diversity well before our office of diversity and inclusion was ever established. She never forgot her home department, however, and when needed, taught classes while also maintaining her leadership duties at the campus level. She has served as chair of the advisory council to the Classical School Committee of the American Academy in Rome and as president of the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association, an organization that awarded Martin with the Jacqueline Elliott Award for Service in Higher Education in 2003. She also is past president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South.

College Marshal

Chuck MalandChuck Maland, Department of English

Professor Chuck Maland is a “make things happen” kind of person. Our cinema studies program is a prime example of how Maland gets the ball rolling. When he first developed the interdisciplinary program with faculty from the College of Communication and Information and several departments in our college, it had a handful of minors. Over the years, it has grown to be one of the most popular IDP majors in our college with a highly engaged group of faculty. He was also a successful English department head while launching the Cinema Studies program. Maland is full of energy and ideas and takes that into every course and every advising session he has with his students. In addition to teaching, he is a highly regarded researcher with interdisciplinary interests in film studies and American literature, culture, and intellectual history. He most recent work is an edition of James Agee’s movie writings and contains – for the first time – all of the reviews and essays Agee wrote for Time magazine. His book constitutes the definitive collection of Agee’s movie reviews and criticism, putting not only Maland in the spotlight as an expert on one of Knoxville’s literary giants, but also the college and the university as a whole. Maland has an extensive list of honors and awards he has received over his career, including the Chancellor’s Alexander Prize for Excellence in Teaching in Research. He has been named a Lindsay Young Professor and currently holds the J. Douglas Bruce Chair of English. Maland serves on the editorial boards for Film Criticism and Film and History and remains very active in the Cinema Studies program.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.