Join the Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials project team as a Graduate Assistant in 2020-2021!

Two Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions have been funded through a One UT Collaboration Grant, the Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials (TOACM) grant. GRAs from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK) will collaborate to complete the grant projects to create a system-wide open and affordable course materials web resource and form a system-wide Open and Affordable Course Materials Council. 

This grant project builds on the success of the Affordable Course Materials Initiative at UTC and UTK’s UT Open Textbook / OER Grant program. GRAs will become familiar with Open Educational Resources, Affordable Course Materials, and course affordability initiatives. GRAs will design and build a web resource to support the growth and development of UT System affordability initiatives and promote those initiatives. Experience with web development and/or knowledge of open education and course affordability topics is strongly preferred. 

In consultation with the project team and their campus-based direct supervisor, GRAs will work on grant projects structured around the student’s learning objectives and career goals as well as project needs. GRAs will gain important transferable skills and exposure to professional software applications, professional collaboration, the complex University of Tennessee System, and data management strategies that help prepare them for further study or careers in a wide range of fields, including English, Psychology, Public Administration, Criminal Justice, and Education.

Position Details

The Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials Grant Assistantship spans the 2020-2021 academic year during the Fall and Spring semesters. This is a one-year term position. Graduate Assistants are expected to work 20 hours/week for a total of 280 hours/semester. The successful applicant will be awarded a $6,000/semester stipend and maintenance fee waiver (nine hours per semester) for the fall and spring semesters.

Information about graduate assistantships, including compensation, eligibility, and requirements to remain eligible for is available for UTC students on the UTC Graduate School’s Opportunities of Assistantships and Internships page, and for UTK students on the UTK Graduate School’s Graduate Assistantships page.

Duties and Qualifications

The individual filling this GA position will collaborate closely with the individual filling a second Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials (TOACM) graduate research assistant (GA) position to perform the following tasks 

  • Develop structure and content for and build a web resource to publicize and promote Open and Affordable Educational Resources (OER/AER) initiatives at UT System institutions.
  • Facilitate communication for and organization of TOACM Council meetings, including developing agendas, taking notes, and communicating action items.
  • Complete self-paced training on OER/AER and UT System Institutions as assigned by the TOACM Project Team.
  • Research the availability and use of OER/AER at institutions in the UT System, including collection of use and impact data.
  • Assist in publicizing and promoting the identified instances of use of OER/AER in the UT System.
  • Research and keep current on developments and best practices in the field of OER/AER and open source educational tools and materials. 
  •  Identify and evaluate OER/AER and open source educational tools being used outside the UT System to recommend consideration of those materials in UT System institutions.
  • Curate and promote instructional and outreach materials related to OER/AER use and development for UT System faculty and staff.
  • Communicate with stakeholders across the UT System to identify OER/AER champions.
  • Be mentored and directed in their efforts by the TOACM Project Team, including meeting weekly with their campus-based direct supervisor and participating in Project Team meetings.
  • Produce quarterly reports of accomplishments, outstanding tasks, and potential barriers to their work. 
  • Assist Project Team with coordination of any events, training, webinars, and meetings.
  • Optional but not required opportunities for travel to OER conferences and meetings (pending funding, interest, availability); Additional (optional but not required) opportunities to participate and present and conferences and meetings

Required qualifications include:

  • Ability to work with a group and independently and produce high quality, thorough, and accurate work;
  • Strong organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills as well as demonstrated initiative and adaptability;
  • Working knowledge of office productivity suites, such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive;
  • Effective written and oral communication skills to effectively interact with faculty and staff in a positive and professional manner;
  • Ability to prioritize and follow detailed written instructions within a multitask environment; and 
  • Ability to work 20 hours/week 

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience in communication, program planning, advocacy, or student government. 
  • Knowledge of or interest in issues of access and equity in higher education
  • Knowledge of or interest in Open Educational Resources / affordable course content
  • Demonstrated web development skills and experience


Interested parties from both campuses should apply for a Graduate Assistantship for Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials for the 2020-2021 academic year by submitting a cover letter, resume, and application to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Scholarly Communications Librarian, Rachel Fleming, at by Monday, July 20, 2020.

The cover letter should provide: 

  • A description of the applicant’s relevant experience and expertise
  • What the applicant hopes to gain from the assistantship, including learning objectives and how the assistantship would meet the applicant’s career goals. 
  • A description of how they would like to positively contribute to the project goals of advancing open and affordable course materials programs in the UT System

We encourage all applicants to think broadly about what they hope to accomplish in their practical experiences.

History of Protest and Activism in Chattanooga

Black and white photograph of high school students participating in a sit-in at a lunch counter in downtown Chattanooga in February 1960.

Black and white photograph of high school students participating in a sit-in at a lunch counter in downtown Chattanooga in February 1960. Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.

The city of Chattanooga is no stranger to nonviolent protest. From the Howard High School students who led sit-ins and look-ins in downtown Chattanooga during the Civil Rights Movement to contemporary activists advocating tighter gun controls and inclusivity, our city has a rich history of fighting for social justice. Explore our content in UTC Digital Collections and CHC Online to learn more about how Chattanoogans have fought for equality.

  • February 1960 Civil Rights Demonstrations photographs
    This digital collection documents the sit-ins and marches organized by Howard High School students in February 1960 in downtown Chattanooga. Included in the collection are images of demonstrators demanding equality at department store lunch counters in S. H. Kress & Co. and Loveman’s.
  • Black United Front newsletters
    This digital collection documents the Black Power movement in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1969 to 1971. The newsletters include powerful language and imagery that preserves African American voices of the early Post-Civil Rights era. Created by Ralph Moore, a native Chattanoogan and member of Black Knights, Inc., the newsletters are a product of Moore’s vision and his collaboration with other local activists, many of who had been involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
  • Chattanooga Women’s oral histories
    This digital collection features interviews with women activists, leaders, and community organizers. Of particular note is an interview with Maxine Cousin, which details the murder of her father at the hands of the police and the creation of Concerned Citizens for Justice, a grassroots organization with a history of advocating for the victims of police brutality.
  • Chattanooga Gun Violence Activism oral histories
    Four interviews in this digital collection document the efforts of Chattanooga Students Leading Change (CSLC), a grassroots organization that participated in the local demonstrations as part of the March For Our Lives movement, which was organized by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who led a historic march for gun control in Washington D.C. on 2018 March 24. CSLC advocates for legal and policy changes at local and state levels.


ReSEARCH Dialogues 2020: Now on UTC Scholar

ReSEARCH Dialogues 2020 Logo

The 2020 ReSEARCH Dialogues in-person events in April were cancelled in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, Lisa Piazza, Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor, wanted to create another opportunity for participants to be recognized for their work and showcase their scholarship. Piazza reached out to Scholarly Communications Librarian Rachel Fleming, and they collaborated on creating an online opportunity for all ReSEARCH Dialogues participants using the UTC Library’s UTC Scholar platform. UTC Scholar provides open access to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s research, creative works, and publications.

ReSEARCH Dialogues is the largest academic conference on the UTC campus. Each spring, the event showcases the scholarship and creative endeavors of more than 750 UTC faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff, as well as members of the local Chattanooga community in a two-day event. Fleming quickly developed a new UTC Scholar home for ReSEARCH Dialogues Conference proceedings to house the conference schedule and host the research and creative works of participants. The site was populated with the conference schedule of nearly 350 posters and presentations, providing a lasting record of presenters, session or poster titles and abstracts.

Presenters were invited to submit their works – posters, presentation slides or papers, and even recorded presentations – for inclusion in the proceedings. Submissions are now posted on the 2020 ReSEARCH Dialogues Conference proceedings UTC Scholar site. In less than a month, abstracts have been viewed nearly 1,500 times, and posters and presentations have received over 150 downloads from 19 countries.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor and the Library hope to build on the partnership. ReSEARCH Dialogues will continue to offer conference proceedings online through UTC Scholar, and the collaboration hopes to develop other avenues for sharing undergraduate research and creative works at UTC through UTC Scholar.

Explore Popular Magazines on Flipster

tiger king article from People MagazineThe UTC Library has access to nearly 1,500 magazines on Flipster through June 30, 2020.

Download the Flipster app for an improved magazine reading experience on your mobile device! In the app, click “get started,” search for “Chattanooga” and select “Univ of Tennessee-Chattanooga” and then sign in with your UTC ID and password.

Read digital replicas of popular magazines to de-stress during a challenging time.

Start Flipping

Titles Include:

  • The Advocate
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Essence
  • GQ
  • Outside
  • Oxford American
  • People
  • Southern Living
  • Yoga Journal
  • Do It Yourself
  • Rolling Stone
  • People
  • …and many more!

Intern Perspectives: Riley Grisham

This blog post was authored by Riley Grisham, an intern in the Library’s Special Collections unit from the UTC Department of English in Spring 2020.

Mary Lumpkin correspondence with William Crutchfield, 1845 December 19. Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.

Mary Lumpkin correspondence with William Crutchfield, 1845 December 19. Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.

I chose to intern with UTC Special Collections because it seemed like a meeting point of sorts between my two fields of study: English and Art History. Initially, I thought I would only be able to pursue one of these fields in graduate school, but librarianship offers an outlet in which my experience in writing, research, and historical knowledge can culminate. That said, I had only a vague idea of what librarianship and archival work actually entailed, and wanted to have real, working experience in the field before considering graduate schools or future careers. I entered into my internship with the goal to gain an understanding of the processes involved in archival work and the hope that I could successfully apply that understanding not only to my project, but to decisions about my academic future, as well.

The project I chose to focus on was metadata writing and finding aid creation for the Thomas Crutchfield papers, a collection of letters, notes, receipts, and other documents belonging to the Crutchfield family. The Crutchfields were a prominent family in early Chattanooga: two of the subjects of the collection (Thomas Crutchfield, Sr. and Thomas Crutchfield, Jr.) served as mayor of the city, as well as building the Crutchfield House Hotel (now known as the Read House Hotel). The Crutchfields were also slaveholders, and several of the documents in this collection contain information that sheds light on the slaveholding practices that existed in Antebellum Chattanooga. Documenting this history and making it easily accessible to the public and to researchers has become very important to me.

Thomas Crutchfield record of slaves, circa 1848. Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.

Thomas Crutchfield record of slaves, circa 1848. Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.

Working with the actual letters was, perhaps, the most interesting part of the entire process for me. Most of the letters are dated within the late 1840s, meaning that they are around 170 years old—reading, titling, and describing each of them allowed me to gain a pretty significant perspective regarding the way we communicated at that time. Sometimes the letters were silly family exchanges, sometimes long-winded political discussions. One letter features a splatter of ink and the thumbprint of the author, who must have spilled his ink in the process of writing. Several of the letters were extremely sombering to read: discussions about the lease of a slave or notice that a slave was being sent with packages are peppered throughout this collection. One document in this collection is a list of the slaves owned by Thomas Crutchfield at his two properties. These documents are, obviously, troubling, and while I didn’t enjoy working with them, preserving this aspect of Chattanooga’s history is vitally important because it allows us to remember our failings and ensure it does not happen again.

Watching as my work slowly came together was immensely rewarding. Thanks to the guidance of the incredible Special Collections staff, I was feeling quite confident about what I had achieved by the time Spring Break rolled around in March—and, then, abruptly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UTC’s campus was closed, meaning Special Collections was closed along with it. Thankfully, a significant amount of my work can be done remotely, so I was able to hammer out a new plan for moving forward with my supervisor and resume my project. Some aspects of my work, like the ability to pull the physical objects from the stacks and analyze them in-person, were no longer possible. Nevertheless, I still feel incredibly lucky to still be able to contribute in this way. Transitioning to a work-from-home setup has been the most difficult challenge of this internship so far, but it is one that almost everyone else I know—including some of my coworkers—is going through as well.

Currently, I am in the final stages of my internship. I achieved metadata completion just last week, which was an exciting milestone to hit. I can confidently say that I’ve learned a great deal: I now have experience using controlled vocabularies, writing historical and biographical notes, and creating finding aids in ArchivesSpace. I understand a great deal more about the process of making collections accessible in an organized, concise manner. This experience has allowed me to turn my passion for history, art, and writing into an actual skill set. After graduation, I plan to pursue further education in Library Science and Art History.