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This fall, students in Philosophy 256S—one of UT’s first Experience Learning designated courses—will put their classroom lessons to work as they partner with Knoxville-area organizations that work with marginalized populations.

Sixteen Experience Learning-designated courses are approved—10 involving service learning and six involving research. About half of the courses debut this fall.

Lecturer Sarah Harper is teaching the 5-credit-hour service-learning philosophy course focusing on social justice issues. Students will work with marginalized populations and social change organizations while reading, discussing and reflecting on classic and contemporary works of philosophy by authors including Plato, Aristotle, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Luther King Jr., and Iris Marion Young.

“The goal of the course is to foster critical consciousness, enabling students to question conventional wisdom and to learn how to work for a just society,” Harper said.

The “S” and “R” designated classes were approved this past spring by the Undergraduate Council’s Curriculum Committee, the Undergraduate Council, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and the Faculty Senate.

The next round of course designation applications will be due October 15. Proposals must be submitted through the host college’s standard curricular approval process. The designated college representative should then submit any proposals that received college-level approval to Molly Sullivan, coordinator for curriculum and catalog, via email at

A detailed explanation of the “R” designation and the course proposal form are available on the Office of Undergraduate Research webpage. A detailed explanation of the S designation and the course proposal form are available on the Office Service-Learning webpage. Only existing courses may be submitted for review, and they must already have formal support at both the department and college level.

Proposals should be sent to Molly Sullivan, coordinator for curriculum and catalog, by email at

Here’s a look at the first 16 “S” and “R” designated courses:


  • ARCH 370 (Architecture). Research and Design. Taught by Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean Katherine Ambroziak.
  • ARCH 371 (Architecture). Design as Applied Research. Taught by University Distinguished Professor Marleen Davis.
  • ARCH 496 (Architecture) Advanced Architectural Design—Collaborative Engagement. Taught by Ambroziak and Professor T. K. Davis.
  • GEOG/GEOL 206 (Geography and Earth and Planetary Sciences). Sustainability: Reducing Our Impact on Planet Earth. Taught by Professor Michael McKinney and Lecturer Melissa Hinten.
  • GEOL 202 (Earth and Planetary Sciences). Earth as an Ecosystem: Modern Problems and Solutions. Taught by McKinney and Lecturer Gray Dean.
  • SPAN 494 (Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures). Spanish Community Service Practicum. Taught by Professor Michael Handelsman.
  • PHIL 255 (Philosophy). Sustainability Ethics. Taught by Lecturer Matthew Pamental.
  • PHIL 256 (Philosophy). Social Justice. Taught by Lecturer Sarah Harper.
  • BAS 370 (Business Analytics and Statistics). Advertising Management and Optimization Strategies. Taught by Lecturer Julie Ferrara.
  • ENT 410 (Management). Leadership in Nonprofits and Social Entrepreneurship. Taught by Professor Alex Miller.

Undergraduate Research

  • ANTH 430 (Anthropology). Fieldwork in Archaeology: Historical Archaeology Field School. Taught by Associate Professor Barbara Heath.
  • ADVT 340 (Advertising and Public Relations). Advertising and Public Relations Research Methods. Taught by Professor Mariea Hoy.
  • EPP 499 (Entomology and Plant Pathology). Undergraduate Research. Taught by Associate Professor Kim Gwinn.
  • PBRL 340 (Advertising and Public Relations Research Methods). Taught by Assistant Professor Moonhee Cho.
  • SOWK 417 (Social Work). Honors Social Work Research. Taught by Assistant Professor Sunha Choi.
  • SOWK 467 (Social Work). Honors Integrative Seminar. Taught by Choi.

Faculty Fellows

Meanwhile, 25 faculty members comprise the first group of Experience Learning Faculty Fellows. They have received grants to redesign courses to fit the requirements of Experience Learning and attended an Experience Learning Summer Institute to help them get started. Some of them will begin to offer elements of experiential learning in their classes this year.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,