Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — Football players aren’t the only stars on game days at the University of Tennessee.

The College of Arts and Sciences will spotlight its all-star roster this fall with the UT Pre-Game Faculty Showcase held at the University Center before every home game.

Faculty members will educate and entertain fans in lively discussions with drums and “The Wizard of Oz,” teach fans about genetics and historical perceptions of Jesus, challenge them to be healthier and fascinate them with science and discovery.

Now in its 18th year, the showcase has continued to grow in popularity, drawing about 200 fans at each program.

The programs are held two hours before kickoff of each of this year’s seven home games in the University Center Ballroom. The programs are free and open to the public — even fans of the Volunteers’ opponents.

“With thousands of people on campus for each football game, we’ve found a way for fans to learn about the various scholarship and ongoing research at the University and to meet some of our best and brightest faculty,” said Lynn Champion, director of academic outreach and communications for the College of Arts and Sciences and coordinator of the showcase.

Bruce Bursten, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is the host for every talk and likes to tout its attendance.

“The showcase has become so popular and drawn such a large number of fans, the university has started planning a football game after every one!” Bursten said.

Each program lasts 45 minutes and is followed by a discussion period. Light refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.

The Pre-Game Faculty Showcase is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with the support of the UT National Alumni Association and UT Men’s Athletics.

This year’s lineup includes:

Sept. 8 (UT vs. Southern Mississippi) — “Changing Perceptions of Jesus: A Historical Overview,” featuring Robert J. Bast, associate professor of history and Riggsby director of the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He is well known for his engaging presentations on “The DaVinci Code.” The Marco Institute will be highlighted this fall with the university-wide Medieval and Renaissance Semester. Bast earned his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and joined the UT faculty in 1994.

Sept. 22 (UT vs. Arkansas State) — “The Wizard of Oz: Gags, Shtick, Rhythms and Routines,” featuring Calvin MacLean, professor and head of theater and producing artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theater. MacLean wrote this hilarious two-person production in which one student will play Dorothy while the second will play “everybody else.” Come see how it was done and how physical comedy is put together. MacLean earned his M.A. in performance/acting at the University of Michigan and his M.F.A. in directing at the University of Massachusetts. He joined the UT faculty in 2006.

Oct. 6 (UT vs. Georgia) — “Alzheimer’s Disease: UT’s Search for a Cure,” featuring Chris Dealwis, associate professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology. Known for his use of neutron spallation to determine molecular structure, Dealwis and his research team have been working to identify the proteins that may underlie the debilitating disease. Before UT, Dealwis was a research scientist in structural biology at Abbott Laboratory and was a research fellow in pharmacology at Yale University. Dealwis earned his Ph.D. at the University of London and joined the UT faculty in 1999.

Oct. 27 (UT vs. South Carolina) — “Inspiring Tomorrow’s Scientists: Taking UT Research and Discovery into Tennessee’s Classrooms,” featuring Sally Horn, professor of geography. Internationally known for her research as a biogeographer, Horn has always involved graduate students and school teachers in her studies. A grant from the National Science Foundation enables her to take the research to rural middle school students and let them experience first-hand the excitement of discovery. Students study local water quality, erosion on school grounds and fossils, shells and seeds dating from the time when mastodons roamed North America. Horn earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and joined the UT faculty in 1987.

Nov. 3 (Homecoming, UT vs. Louisiana-Lafayette) — “A Musical Odyssey: Drumming, Dancing and Singing,” featuring Marvelene Moore, professor of music education. In her lively presentation, Moore demonstrates the importance of music education and artistic expression for elementary school students. Moore was named the James R. Cox Professor at UT from 2002-04 and has served as chairwoman of the International Society for Music Education’s Commission on Music in Schools and Teacher Preparation. Moore earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and joined the UT faculty in 1978.

Nov. 10 (UT vs. Arkansas) — “Optimal Control for Optimal Health: The Numbers Game of Health and Disease,” featuring Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics. Fans of the television show “Numbers” might be familiar with the idea of mathematical modeling. For instance, equations can be used to map blood circulation or illustrate epidemics. Her theories of optimization have been published in over 100 refereed journal articles, and she has presented the research across the U.S. and Europe. Named teacher of the year by math graduate students in 2005 and 2006, Lenhart earned her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky and joined the UT faculty in 1981.

Nov. 17 (UT vs. Vanderbilt) — “Cracking the Genetic Code: Computer-powered Solutions in Medicine, Environment, Bio-energy and Agriculture,” featuring Igor B. Jouline, associate professor of microbiology and senior R&D staff member at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Computer Science and Mathematics Division. Using comic book characters, Jouline tells the story of DNA and discusses the pros and cons of deriving biologically relevant data from complex systems such as the human genome. He earned his Ph.D. at St. Petersburg (Leningrad) State University in Russia and joined the UT faculty in 2005.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college on UT’s campus with 600 faculty and 25 departments and schools encompassing the humanities, fine and performing arts, social sciences, life sciences and physical sciences. The college places special emphasis on academic outreach, and its faculty and students are actively involved with the community through the Faculty Speakers Bureau, service learning and other programs.

The University Center is located at 1502 West Cumberland Ave., a short walk from Neyland Stadium. The Ballroom is in Room 213 on the second floor. For more directions, visit


Elizabeth Davis, Media Relations, (865) 974-5179,

Lynn Champion, (865) 974-5332,