Welcome and Introduction
Dixie L. Thompson, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Hunter Hammock, President of the Graduate Student Senate
Creating an Effective Teaching Practice
Robert Jacobsen, Teaching and Learning Innovation
Robert Jacobsen, PhD, wears many hats around the university. As a lecturer in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Jacobsen teaches introductory geology and geoscience education. Through his course on planetary geology, students learn to use Earth’s geology to understand the geology of our solar system. Jacobsen also works with Teaching & Learning Innovation as the UT Institutional Leader of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, & Learning. In this role, Jacobsen leads programs for graduate students and postdocs focused on evidence-based teaching practices in STEM. Through these programs, participants become more authentic and effective instructors. Finally, Jacobsen is the Assistant Director of the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. The consortium exists to support STEM learning opportunities at UT and in the community. Each year, Jacobsen coordinates funding for undergraduate research and community partnerships focused on K-12 education.
Title IX: Your Role as a Mandatory Reporter
Laura Bryant, Office of Title IX
Laura Bryant, Ph.D., MSSW serves as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Prevention, Training, and Evaluation in the Office of Title IX. In her role, Laura oversees the university’s comprehensive approach to preventing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Laura has worked at the university for eleven years, and before serving in her current role, Laura was the Director of the Center for Health Education & Wellness in which she directed student prevention efforts, care, and support via 974-HELP, and threat assessment. Currently, Laura serves as a member of the Commission for LGBT People and serves on the College of Social Work Advisory Board where she is also an adjunct professor.
Student Success Center
Amber Williams, Division of Student Success
Vice Provost Amber Williams leads UT’s Division of Student Success and develops programming and initiatives that enhance students’ strengths in alignment with their goals and dreams. During her first year at UT, Vice Provost Williams initiated the New Vol Experience, a reimagined six-week experience to transition new Vols to UT. UT also launched Vol Success Teams, where each new student was assigned a three-person network to help navigate their UT experience. And finally, the Vol First-Year Experience is a transformative academic opportunity for first-year students to engage with faculty, staff, and peers. Students who participated in these programs reported higher academic and social belongingness levels and are more comfortable utilizing UT resources.
Disability Related Accommodations
David Ndaiye, Student Disability Services
David Ndiaye serves as the director of Student Disability Services at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In this role, David oversees the overall function of the department and collaborates with other units to ensure equitable access to the university’s experience for students with disabilities. He began his career in the disability field as a graduate assistant, coordinating testing accommodations for registered students with disabilities. After spending some time in the private sector, he joined Student Disability Services at UT in 2008.
Anna Sandelli, UT Libraries
Anna Sandelli is Associate Professor and Head of Teaching and Learning Programs at the UT Libraries, where she oversees a department focused on information literacy, online learning, and student success. Her teaching has included first-year and transfer student undergraduate instruction, as well as graduate student instruction for the School of Information Sciences, and workshops for a variety of student and faculty audiences, in in-person and online environments. Anna has served on a number of university-wide and professional committees involving experiential learning, inclusive teaching, and transfer student initiatives. She recently served as a faculty leader for the inclusive teaching track of UT’s 2021 Course Redesign Institute and has been recognized as an American Library Association Emerging Leader. She has published and presented on transfer student initiatives, using ethnography to explore student-created learning communities, and the development of a library certificate focused on cultural competency and inclusive teaching.
Academic Integrity & Classroom Behavior
Shaun McComas, Student Conduct and Community Standards
Shaun McComas has served students at UT in Student Conduct & Community Standards since 2016. Shaun’s primary focus has been working with faculty, staff, and students to address behavioral and academic misconduct on campus while maintaining responsibility for office assessment, evaluation, and administration of Maxient’s student conduct database software. Prior to joining the office, Shaun worked as a counselor for a local alcohol and drug treatment facility providing treatment and counseling as part of a multidisciplinary team to individuals with substance use disorders. Shaun’s professional experiences paired with his Social Work education allow him to approach Student Conduct with compassion, understanding, and attention to environmental factors to promote student development.
Bryan Blackwell, Student Conduct and Community Standards
Bryan has a passion for serving, assisting, and working alongside students as they navigate UT successfully. Bryan joined the Student Conduct & Community Standards team in March of 2021 and serves as a coordinator. In this role, he provides oversight to graduate assistants and adjudicates academic and student misconduct with a functional area of athletics. Bryan is committed to fostering a culture of accountability and integrity for all students’ interpersonal growth and development. Bryan’s mantra is all about helping students overcome barriers as they matriculate into well-rounded adults embracing new challenges in the world.
Policy, Privacy, & Instructor Responsibility
Jennifer Hardy, Office of the Registrar
Jennifer Hardy is the Deputy Registrar and Residency Coordinator at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her work history includes administrative experience at public and private schools and at small and large institutions. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Classics from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in Classics from Vanderbilt University. She has been at UT since 2006.