Updates and news for the week of April 30-May 6, 2024

The UTC Campus Weekly newsletter is distributed every Tuesday morning. If you have news, events or announcements you would like shared with campus, please submit your information to chuck-wasserstrom@utc.edu in the Division of Communications and Marketing by 3 p.m. on Friday for placement in the following Tuesday’s newsletter.

UTC News  UTC Events Calendar  |  Campus Updates

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The Roundhouse will be rockin’: McKenzie Arena set for commencement

For the first time since May 2019, McKenzie Arena will be filled to the rafters for commencement. More than 1,300 undergraduates and nearly 300 graduate students will receive their degrees. Included in those numbers are approximately 250 first-generation college students and 90 military-affiliated students (consisting of veterans, spouses and dependents).

Graduate School commencement takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday (May 3).

  • Dr. Edna Varner, a UC Foundation Board of Trustee and longtime member of the Public Education Foundation, will deliver the graduation charge. Livestream link

Two undergraduate commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday (May 4).

  • The College of Arts and Sciences/College of Engineering and Computer Science ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Livestream link
  • The Gary W. Rollins College of Business/College of Health, Education and Professional Studies ceremony starts at 1 p.m. Livestream link
  • The featured speaker for both undergraduate ceremonies is UTC alumnus Richard Zhang, who graduated summa cum laude in 1992 with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, economics and accounting.

The McKenzie Arena doors will open one and a half hours before every ceremony at Gates 1, 2 and 3 with easy access to the floor via the elevator.

This will be the 263rd overall commencement for the University, founded in 1886 as the then-private Chattanooga University. The first UTC graduation ceremony took place on Aug. 23, 1969, at the Tivoli Theatre in downtown Chattanooga.

Get your Exclusive Gold Cord Today

To all our Spring 2024 graduating Mocs, congratulations from UTC Advancement. As your status advances from student to alumnus, you have the opportunity to create a lasting impact here at UTC. By donating just $5 or more, you can receive an exclusive gold cord to wear at commencement that signifies your commitment to future Mocs. This small donation can go a long way in helping to fund scholarships and enhance academic programs all over campus. Plus, wearing the gold cord at commencement will set you apart as a proud UTC supporter. Donate today and leave a legacy for future students at your alma mater.

Students can pick up their gold cord at the Alumni House (551 Oak St.) weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

A first for UTC

Photo credit: Ray Soldano/GoMocs.com

Photo credit: Ray Soldano/GoMocs.com

The Mocs beach volleyball team won its first-ever Ohio Valley Conference tournament title on Saturday, earning the program’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA beach volleyball tournament is set to take place Friday-Sunday (May 3-5) at Gulf Shores (Alabama) Public Beach.

After a historic regular season that culminated in Chattanooga beach volleyball capturing the team’s first-ever Ohio Valley Conference title, the Mocs came away with 14 honors and awards—including a sweep of the conference’s four major awards in Player of the Year (Neva Clark), Freshman of the Year (Corina Vale), Pair of the Year (Clark and Vale), and Staff of the Year (head coach Darin Van Horn and assistant coach Juliana Van Horn).

The outstanding people of UTC

Vinny Nguyen and Lauren Graves

Vinny Nguyen and Lauren Graves

A pair of UTC students have created paths to learning new languages after landing national competitive scholarships. Lauren Graves, a senior English major and Brock Scholar in the UTC Honors College, has received the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) scholarship, which brings university graduates to Japan as assistant language teachers. Vinny Nguyen, a sophomore political science and public service major, is the recipient of the CLS Spark scholarship. He will spend eight weeks in an online course learning Mandarin Chinese.

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The premiere of music composition/instrumental music education major Tyler West’s three-movement work, “The Empress of Ireland,” highlighted the UTC Symphony Orchestra’s recent spring concert in the Fine Arts Center’s Roland Hayes Concert Hall.

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At the recent Tennessee Geographic Information Council annual meeting, the IGT Lab was recognized with several awards. Student Mimi White received second place in the “TNView” remote sensing competition, and won “Best Spatial Analysis” in the map gallery for her work analyzing land cover change in the Chattanooga region from 2001-2022. The IGTlab also won first place for best web map with its ongoing work with the city.

In addition, at the Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, Assistant GIS Director Nyssa Hunt presented a poster on her work within GeoAI for predictive modeling on barking tree frogs and GIS Director Charlie Mix had a paper presentation on using GeoAI to assess urban tree canopy and tree equity for Chattanooga.

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Dr. Angelique Ramnarine, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, was the 2024 recipient of the Outstanding Teaching in General Education award.

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Mckenna Menard works with children in the Downside Up class at White Oak Methodist Church in Red Bank.

Mckenna Menard works with children in the Downside Up class at White Oak Methodist Church in Red Bank.

UTC occupational therapy doctoral students spent the spring semester on their capstone projects throughout the Chattanooga area.

Mark your calendar

The Walker Center for Teaching and Learning’s 2024 Instructional Excellence Conference will be held on Tuesday, May 7, and we still have plenty of room for the UTC community to register to attend the keynote address at 10 a.m. Click here to register.

The keynote speaker is Dr. James Lang, professor of practice at the Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Notre Dame and an emeritus professor of English at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts. A sought-after speaker and author of six books, he has given talks and workshops on teaching for faculty at more than 300 colleges, universities and schools in the U.S. and abroad. His talks focus on topics such as the science of learning, distraction in the classroom and academic integrity.

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Human Resources’ May staff development opportunities includes an online workshop titled “Understanding Your Individual Conflict Dynamics Profile,” taking from from 2-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8. Click here for the Campus Updates post.

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The UT System Business Intelligence (BI) team is here to support UT employees across the state. The BI team gathers, warehouses, models and visualizes data from multiple information systems across all University of Tennessee campuses and system administration. This team provides data for institutional research, strategic planning and assessment purposes.

The BI team now hosts a monthly drop-in session for UT System and campus colleagues. You’re invited to connect every third Thursday of the month at 3 p.m. ET. Feel free to drop-in to ask questions, run an idea by the team, ask for help or just to chat. This Zoom link will be used each month: https://tennessee.zoom.us/j/86317402797. You can also find more information on the drop-in sessions here. The next BI drop-in session is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, at 3 p.m. ET.

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UTC Campus Recreation will kick off the summer with battleship, log rolling, pool games and snacks/drinks at Family Fest: Splash Into Summer, which will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the Aquatics and Recreation Center. Come on out and meet Campus Rec staff while learning about Mocs Adventure Camp, swim lessons and family memberships.

Tickets are required for the event regardless of membership status, and everyone is welcome to attend. The cost is $12 per person. Click here to purchase tickets. Waivers are required for all attendees.

Please direct questions to colleen-demarco@UTC.edu or call 423-425-5672.

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Please join UTC’s Interdisciplinary Geospatial Technology Lab (IGTLab) for a free GIS workshop from 10 a.m.-noon on Thursday, May 30, in the Multidisciplinary Research Building. During the workshop, attendees will learn how to access free GIS resources available to campus; how to implement GIS in the classroom, research or work activities; and connect and learn about other available services offered by the IGTLab.

This workshop, led by UTC GIS Director Charlie Mix and Assistant GIS Director Nyssa Hunt, is open to all user skill levels.

Space is limited, so make sure to click here and register.

Campus Updates

Search committee orientation is a critical component of UTC’s hiring process. What was previously conducted via Zoom as search committee training has transitioned to a new and refreshed self-paced asynchronous online training module that can easily be accessed in K@TE through this link: Faculty and Exempt Staff Search Committee Orientation.

This shift ensures a more streamlined process, consistency in content, accessibility and convenience for all participants. It emerged as a collaboration between the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Human Resources and underscores our institutional commitment to continuous improvement in fostering an inclusive and equitable hiring environment at UTC.

Faculty and exempt staff members serving on search committees must undergo search committee orientation every two years if they plan to participate in the hiring process for positions at UTC. It is not required for non-exempt staff searches but is highly recommended. For more information, click here. Email oei@utc.edu with questions, comments or concerns.

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Save the date! UTC is excited to participate in the United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s city-wide “Day of Caring” volunteer service initiative on Friday, September 20. Your serving hands are needed to represent, bring together and impact the residents and partners in Chattanooga.

Indoor or outdoor projects may include painting, moving debris or gardening. Interested students, faculty and staff will be able to indicate a preferred volunteer site, and transportation will be available. Additional details, including registration information, is forthcoming.

Email Daniel-Grzesik@utc.edu, the director of Leadership Development and Programs, if you have any questions about getting involved with this volunteer service initiative.

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Walks just got more spirited for you and your furry friend with our limited-edition Power C Leash and Collar set. Whether you’re strolling through campus, exploring the city or just enjoying a quiet walk in the park, let your Chattanooga pride shine.

Limited edition Power C pet collars ($12) and leashes ($16) are available individually or purchase a set for $25. With each purchase, you’re contributing to the UTC Campus Excellence Fund which fosters student aspirations and nurtures a brighter tomorrow. Your support enables students to access exceptional learning experiences, learn from renowned faculty and engage in top-ranked academic programs. Click here for more information and purchase options.

Looking back

Scrappy and University Archivist Noah Lasley

Scrappy and University Archivist Noah Lasley

University Archivist Noah Lasley works to acquire, arrange and describe official UTC records and other valuable materials for documenting the University’s history and functions—such as the history of campus mascots. The library’s current exhibition, titled “‘Crowd-Energizing Mission’: A UTC Mascot Retrospective,” brought Scrappy to Special Collections and the display cases in the UTC Library’s Roth Grand Reading Room that Special Collections curates.

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Senior Lecturer Meg Kiessling’s path to math began after obtaining electrical engineering degrees from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Here are some other recent UTC stories featured in the Newsroom:

WUTC Spotlight: May Pang on her photos of John Lennon

John Lennon with his son, Julian, a photo taken by May Pang; WUTC's Richard Winham with May Pang

John Lennon with his son, Julian, a photo taken by May Pang; WUTC’s Richard Winham with May Pang

Last week, May Pang—a former music executive and writer—was in Chattanooga for a special ArtsBuild exhibit showcasing her private candid photos of John Lennon.

While in town, she visited the WUTC-FM studio for an extended conversation with host Richard Winham.


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