KNOXVILLE — This season’s lineup is stocked with all-stars, and we’re not just talking about football.
The Pre-Game Faculty Showcase at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, features top faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at each home game before the Volunteers take the field.
Faculty members will educate and entertain fans in engaging presentations on topics ranging from Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos to the psychology behind school shootings to the intricacies of the Electoral College.
Now in its 19th year, the showcase has continued to grow in popularity, drawing several hundred fans to each program.
The programs are held in the University Center Ballroom two hours before kickoff of each of this year’s seven home games. The programs are free and open to the public — even fans of the Vols’ opponents.
“With thousands of people on campus for each football game, we’ve found a way for fans to learn about the scholarship and 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 fond of saying the showcase has become so popular that the university decided to play a football game after every one.
“We are proud of our faculty and their scholarship. We hope students, alumni, football fans and other members of the community will take advantage of this event to meet our faculty and learn about a wide range of topics,” Bursten said.
Each program lasts 45 minutes, including 30 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for 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 Alumni Association, the UT Knoxville Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics.
This year’s lineup includes:
Sept. 13 (UT vs. Alabama-Birmingham) — “Brazilian-Bach Fusion: The Music of Villa-Lobos,” featuring Wesley Baldwin, associate professor of the Cello Studio in the School of Music. Baldwin will talk about the cello, and the UT Cello Studio will play one of the most well-known pieces ever written for a group of cellos, the “Bachianas brasileiras No. 1” by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Sept. 20 (UT vs. Florida) — “Will Our Great Smoky Mountains Someday Go Up in Flames?” featuring Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, associate professor of geography. Grissino-Mayer is an expert in climatology and analyzes tree rings to reconstruct past environments. This process has been used to determine that wildfires were very frequent in the southern Appalachian Mountains before fire suppression was a common practice.
Oct. 4 (UT vs. Northern Illinois) — “Understanding Columbine: How Social Rejection Foster Mass Violence,” featuring Lowell Gaertner, associate professor of psychology. Gaertner’s research focuses on whether people killed or injured in mass violence are intended targets or if the intended target is the social group to which the victims belong.
Oct. 18 (UT vs. Mississippi State) — “Election ’08: Learn to Love the Electoral College,” featuring Anthony Nownes, professor of political science. Nownes’ research covers politics on the national, state and local levels and the role lobbyists and special interest groups play in the political process.
Oct. 25 (UT vs. Alabama) — “Iran and Iraq in Historical Perspective: Shaping National Identities,” featuring Palmira Brummett, professor of history. Brummett specializes in Middle Eastern, world, Ottoman and Islamic history. She will discuss the historical foundations of Iranian and Iraqi national identity.
Nov. 8 (UT vs. Wyoming; Homecoming) — “Growing Electricity,” featuring Barry Bruce, professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology. Bruce is a founding member and associate director of the Sustainable Energy and Education Research Center. He was noted as one of the “Ten Revolutionaries that May Change the World” by Forbes magazine for his work on applying the process of photosynthesis to creating new energy sources.
Nov. 29 (UT vs. Kentucky) — “‘Fake Believe’: Are Centaurs Real?” featuring Beauvais Lyons, professor of art. Lyons is head of the printmaking program, which was No. 4 in the latest national rankings by U.S. News and World Report. He is the self-appointed director of the “Hokes Archives,” which brought “The Centaur Excavations at Volos” to UT to initiate critical thinking among students.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college on UT’s campus with 600 faculty and 23 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 W. Cumberland Ave., a short walk from Neyland Stadium. The ballroom is in Room 213 on the second floor. For more directions, visit http://www.utk.edu/maps/campus/.
For more information about the showcase, visit
Elizabeth Davis, Media Relations, (865) 974-5179, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Champion, (865) 974-5332, email@example.com