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KNOXVILLE — As football season begins, one of UT’s game day traditions — the College of Arts and Sciences’ Pregame Showcase — kicks off another year. Twenty-one years after the showcase was created, it is still introducing football fans to some of UT’s most exceptional faculty members.

Showcases begin two hours before home game kickoffs in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center ballroom. Each showcase is free and open to the public and consists of a 30-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session. Light refreshments are provided and, this year, the UT Bookstore will offer a 10 percent discount on certain items to showcase attendees.

This year’s showcase begins Saturday before the Vols’ home opener against the University of Tennessee, Martin, Skyhawks with “Sound the Trumpet! Why This Versatile Instrument Is So Popular,” a showcase led by School of Music Professor Cathy Leach.

Leach, touting the trumpet as her favorite musical instrument, said, “I love playing it, and I love teaching it. At the Pregame Showcase, my talented students and I are going to display this marvelously versatile instrument through a live performance and discussion.” She also promises to educate and entertain.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Bursten said, “Game day brings a diverse crowd to campus. Hopefully, these Showcases will peak fans’ interest and give them something else to look forward to on football Saturdays.”

Lynn Champion, director of outreach and communications for the College of Arts and Sciences said, “We work hard to choose topics and speakers that spotlight key faculty, but also appeal to a wide audience.”

The remainder of the 2010 Pregame Showcase lineup includes:

  • Sept. 11 — Tina Shepardson, associate professor of religious studies, presents “The Bible Tells Me So: The Politics of Biblical Interpretation.” She will examine some of the complicated conscious and unconscious choices people make in interpreting Christian scripture.
  • Sept. 18 — Gary McCracken, department head and professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, presents “The Conservation Crisis of North American Bats: What Happens If We Lose Them?” He will talk about misconceptions of bats, the disease that has affected bats in North America and the reason we need to fight for their survival.
  • Sept. 25 — Laura Howes, associate professor of English and interim director of the Marco Institute, presents “Exploring the Utility and Beauty of Medieval Gardens.” She will lead a virtual tour of medieval gardens and unveil the functionality behind their aesthetic appeal.
  • Oct. 23 — Stephanie Bohon, associate professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice, presents “Place Matters: Characteristics of Cities that Attract and Sustain New Immigrants.” She will talk about the influence of location on immigrant populations and the effect immigrants have on the communities they inhabit.
  • Nov. 13 — Soren Sorensen, department head and professor of physics and astronomy, presents “Nature’s Legos: The Building Blocks of the Universe.” He will discuss, in a very simple manner without using any mathematical formulas, the answer to one of the most fundamental questions in nature, “What is everything made of?”
  • Nov. 27 — Brandon Prins, associate professor of political science, presents “The Pendulum of Congressional Power: Partisan Opposition to Presidential Foreign Policy.” He will engage the audience in an examination of the record of past presidents in their attempt to implement foreign policy legislation, considering the roles partisan politics and congressional activism played in facilitating or blocking a president’s agenda.

The showcases are sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from WUOT 91.9 FM, the UT Alumni Association, the UT Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics. For more information on the program, visit

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008,