Deans and administrators from each college suggested two faculty members who deserve special “kudos” during Faculty Appreciation Week.
Fox is involved in several sustainable housing developments in low-income neighborhoods throughout the state.
Working at the crossroads of economic empowerment, environmental activism and architecture, Fox concentrates on making design and building processes as environmentally friendly as possible, but he is equally passionate about helping the disadvantaged.
“When you take people of limited means and put them in a nice home, you can change their lives and the community,” he said. “Homeowner equity is a great bootstrap for getting people out of poverty. If you combine this with building green, you change the community and ultimately the state.”
Fox is the director of UPSIDE (Urban Program in Sustainable Design Education), a housing project aimed at bringing long-term economic sustainability to neighborhoods in need of revitalization. As part of UPSIDE, Fox and UT architecture students, have collaborated with neighborhoods, organizations and high schools in Chattanooga, Clarksville and Knoxville.
“This program illustrates that education about sustainability is important. The students learn about energy-efficient architecture, design a house and then help build the house. The experience teaches work ethic, responsibility, community, racial reconciliation and teamwork, all while working on innovative housing,” Fox said.
In fall 2010, UPSIDE won an Innovation in Housing award from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. Fox’s work with UPSIDE also earned him the 2010-2011 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Diversity Achievement Award, which honors efforts to achieve greater diversity in curricula, school personnel and student bodies. Only two award winners were chosen nationally.
Fox also paints and draws professionally. Many of his works depict scenes from the Sequatchie Valley and East Tennessee.
Fox teaches architectural photography in the School of Architecture. She also teaches classes that help architecture, interior design and landscape architecture students learn graphic design and typography skills for use in presentation and book design.
“I bring my passion for photography into my photography course and the ways I think visually and conceptually into my design courses,” Fox said. “I love to teach and want my students to succeed. I think that these motivations are essential to being a good teacher. It is a teacher’s responsibility to be enthusiastic about their subject and to remain current.”
For her current body of photographic work, “UnNatural History,” Fox explores society’s objectification of nature though images shot in natural history museums in the U.S. and abroad. The photographs show the audience selected portions of dioramas in which the sense of the reality of the constructed scene is distorted by the inclusion of elements reflected on the glass or items within the case that are not meant to be part the illusion.
In her artist statement she wrote, “It is this dichotomy between the real and the unreal, the version of life portrayed and the actuality of death, the inherent beauty of the animals within their fabricated environment and the understanding of its invention, which finds me both attracted and repelled. It is the line between disguising and revealing these edges on which I play with in the images.”
“UnNatural History” has been exhibited around the U.S. and abroad and will be on display Feb. 10 through March 12 at the Haydon Art Center in Lincoln, Neb.
Fox received her master of fine arts degree from UT Knoxville. She is married to Beauvais Lyons, a James R. Cox Professor in the School of Art.