Thanks, Faculty: No Bones About It, Teacher’s Enthusiasm was Key

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Faculty members who have a passion for what they do often inspire their students to want to learn.

Murray Marks

Associate Professor Murray Marks

Alumna Shelly Huffaker Higgins wrote that Associate Professor Murray Marks was “possibly the best professor I ever had during my days at the university.” Formerly with UT Knoxville’s Department of Anthropology, Marks now teaches at UT’s Graduate School of Medicine, both in the oral and maxillofacial and dentistry and pathology departments.

Higgins graduated in August 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and in 1995 with a master’s degree in education curriculum and instruction. She is now a teacher.

“Back then, in the early 1990s, Dr. Marks was a grad student working on his Ph.D., and he was amazing,” she recalled. “I had one particular class with him called osteology, where you are given tiny — and I mean TINY — bits of bone and identify which bone it is, what side of the body it came from, and in some cases, sex and age. It was the most incredibly difficult class of my life, but Dr. Marks had all kinds of tips on how to identify these bones.”

Higgins graduated as one of the top students in her college.

“I know that if I had not had Dr. Marks for that class, I would most likely not have been able to earn an A in osteology.”

As a teacher, Higgins knows what made Marks so good.

“The best part was his excitement, encouragement and enthusiasm, like taking the class on trips he did not have to, including the cadaver lab and the Body Farm. I know that one student, after visiting the cadaver lab, decided to become a mortician and went home that day and applied.

“Dr. Marks not only could talk the talk, but could walk the walk. His ability to instruct, relate to his students and make the course work interesting is what the art of teaching is all about. His dedication to forensics and identification, as well as the progress of his students, is to be applauded. Anyone who has Dr. Marks as an instructor should consider themselves extremely fortunate and privileged.”

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