Faculty & Staff News

Vol Court Pitch Competition Kicks Off October 12

Shawn Carson, Vol Court director.

Bring an idea and start a business with the help of Vol Court, a semiannual pitch competition and speaker series hosted by UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Vol Court kicks off October 12 with a six-week entrepreneurial speaker series that culminates November 16 in a pitch competition where attendees put what they’ve learned into practice.

Smart Communities Initiative Working on Projects for Downtown Lenoir City

From seeking new uses for old buildings to finding ways to stimulate tourism, UT students are putting classroom lessons into practice in collaboration with Lenoir City, Tennessee, as part of this year’s Smart Communities Initiative (SCI). “Our Smart Communities Initiative is now in its third year and we’re excited to collaborate with our program partner, Lenoir City, on a cluster of projects focused on the downtown area,” said Kelly Ellenburg, director of UT’s Office of Service-Learning, which oversees the SCI.

Enroll or Re-Enroll in the Flexible Benefits Plan

October 31 is the deadline to enroll in the flexible benefits plan for 2017. Open enrollment began October 3. This program requires employees to sign up for the benefit each year, regardless of whether they are currently enrolled. The process is separate from the open enrollment for medical, dental, and vision insurance. Flexible benefits allow employees

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Open Enrollment Period Under Way until October 14

Open enrollment for benefits began Monday and will remain open through Friday, October 14. During this period, UT faculty and staff have the opportunity to sign up for or make changes to their health, dental, vision, basic and term life, long-term care, and optional special accident insurance and their flexible spending accounts. Decisions made during this

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New UT-Based National Institute Explores Evaluation Science

A new national institute has been established at UT to provide independent evaluations of research and education programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The institute also will generate new knowledge about the ways in which integrated STEM programs function successfully.

Baker Center to Host Arab American Institute Co-Founder, Bernie Sanders Advisor

Dr. James Zogby of the Arab American Institute.  January 31, 2008.  Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/LEGAL TIMES.

James Zogby, an expert on the Middle East and adviser to former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, will speak at UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy Tuesday, October 11. Zogby will deliver the Distinguished Global Security Lecture at 5:30 p.m. in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center. The title of his talk is “The US and the Middle East: How We Got into This Mess and What We Can Do about It.” The event is free and open to the public.

UT Art Professor is Leukemia-Lymphoma Society’s Top Fundraiser for Knoxville

Joshua Bienko

Joshua Bienko, assistant professor in the School of Art, was recently named Man of the Year for being the top fundraiser for the Knoxville Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He was honored for bringing in $17,048 of the $142,760 the local chapter raised during its recent 10-week campaign.

Five Professors Named Fulbright Scholars for 2016–17 Academic Year

Four UT professors are serving as Fulbright Scholars this academic year—Micah Beck, Sarah Eldridge, Krista Wiegand, and Songning Zhang. Funded by the US government, Fulbright Scholars are chosen based on their leadership and their abilities to teach, conduct research and contribute to solutions for shared international concerns.

From Pokémon Go to Birdwatching: UT Scientist Studies How We Express Our Inner Hunter


Interested in birding or wildlife photography? Enjoy playing Pokémon Go and catching imaginary creatures? If so, you may simply be expressing your inner hunter. So says a new study from Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor of psychology at UT. Dinets used himself as a case study to demonstrate that at least some humans do have a hunting instinct—or, more precisely, an innate interest in finding and catching prey.