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Deans and administrators from each college suggested one of their faculty members who deserves special “kudos” during Faculty Appreciation Week.

Chris CraigFor Chris Craig, successful classroom education comes down to two words: love and respect.

“My approach is first and foremost you have to love the material you’re trying to impart. Second, you have to respect the people with whom you are sharing it. If you fall down on either of those, then you’re wasting someone’s time,” he said.

Craig, a professor of classics since 1980, said one of the great things about teaching at UT Knoxville is the students who come to the university from a variety of backgrounds but who all share a seriousness of purpose.

“There is enormous diversity, both cultural and socioeconomic, and at the same time a common bond of dedication. Working with these students, we begin to see the meritocracy that Thomas Jefferson envisioned so many years ago,” he said.

As an educator, Craig says creating the right classroom atmosphere is important.

“I want people to know that they should be serious about the common enterprise of education, and that I am actively glad that they choose to be a part of it,” he said. “Education is an exchange. I respect the students for the people they are, and I need to hear what they have to say.”

Craig also is the director of UT’s College Scholars program, an interdisciplinary honors program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“College Scholars to me crystallizes everything that is best about our mission as both a land-grant institution and the research-intensive flagship public university in Tennessee,” he said. “We get the best undergraduates, with drive, talent and a determination to get the most out of their undergraduate experience. We then help these students find faculty, usually our most distinguished faculty, who are ready to spend time and care on them, for no reward other than the joy of seeing them succeed.

“In American undergraduate education, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

As a faculty member in the Department of Classics since 1981, Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost Susan Martin worked closely with Craig for many years.

“Chris Craig is an exemplary faculty member,” she said. “He has set the highest standards for himself and his students. He was recognized early in his career as an Alumni Outstanding Teacher and his students continue to be inspired by him to do their best work. His dedication to training a new generation of Latin teachers has borne fruit as many of our students have moved on either to graduate school and university careers or into the high school Latin programs of Tennessee. His achievement in all areas of faculty endeavor would be hard to match.”


In honor of Faculty Appreciation Week, Tennessee Today is featuring stories and videos based on comments about great faculty members submitted by students, alumni and others.

You can send a shout out to your favorite faculty member or read what others have written.

Also this week, area merchants will offer a variety of discounts for UT faculty.