Big Orange Big Ideas News

Big Idea: First-Generation Mentoring Program

Sherry Cummings had a big idea about how to help first-generation students be more successful at UT. Let first-generation faculty and staff members mentor them. Cummings, associate dean and chair of the Gerontology Certificate Program in the College of Social Work, said the idea grew out of her involvement with Higher Education Resource Services.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Jonathan Overly

Jonathan Overly, director for the East Tennessee Clean Fuel Coalition in the campus’s Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, had the idea to build the planet’s longest biofuels corridor. They began in 2009 and will complete the project this year.

Big Idea: Wildflower Pilgrimage

Sixty-three years ago, Bart Leiper had a big idea that’s blossomed into one of the area’s most-loved spring rituals: the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies.Today, the Wildflower Pilgrimage attracts more than a thousand people from thirty-five states and other countries. The four-day event features more than 140 guided walks and indoor presentations that cover the region’s rich wildflowers, fauna, ecology, and cultural and natural history.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Lindsey Huff and Jordan Norton

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Students Lindsey Huff and Jordan Norton have the big idea of making 20 percent of UT’s food “real food” as part of a national competition called the Real Food Challenge.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Matt Murray

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Matt Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, speaks about the big idea of the Baker Center’s Distinguished Lecture Series which kicks off for this year on April 3 with a talk by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Big Idea: Professor Develops ‘SuperChip’ to Speed Up Lab Results

Terry Hazen, Governor’s Chair for Environmental Biotechnology, has the big idea of developing a “SuperChip”—a biological decoder that could reduce waiting time for important lab results at the doctor’s office, allow for quick detailed water safety tests, and decrease the spread of food-borne illnesses through expedited testing.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Tami Wyatt

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Tami Wyatt’s big idea is called DocuCare. An assistant professor of nursing, Wyatt and her idea are helping build a better workforce of health professionals worldwide.

Big Idea: Student Organization Funds Girls’ Education Internationally

She's the First

Christian Sullivan, a junior in animal science, was so impressed after learning about She’s the First—an international organization that promotes literacy and social justice for women in developing countries by sponsoring education—that he had the big idea to start a chapter. Sullivan now has the special distinction of being the first male president of a university chapter of She’s the First.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Steve McAmis

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Steve McAmis, a sophomore studying psychology, has the big idea of de-stigmatizing mental illness. Through the help he’s received at UT’s Counseling Center, he’s learned that mental illness is something you have, not who you are.

Big Idea: Freshmen Course Now Includes Alcohol Awareness, Financial Literacy

First-Year Studies organizers know that freshmen—many of them living away from home for the first time—face many challenges, not all academic. That’s why, starting this fall, online learning activities about alcohol awareness and financial responsibility will be part of FYS 100, the credit/no-credit course all freshmen must take.