Course Faculty & Afternoon Seminar Staff

Mr. Tim Barrington

Tim Barrington is the instructor/technical director and sound designer with the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts at UT Martin. While in graduate school at Memphis State University, he was selected as one of five honors students in theatre. A 40-plus year employee of UT Martin, he is also production coordinator for the office of student life, adviser to the Student Activities Council and technical director of the award-winning Miss UT Martin pageant. For the past 17 years, Mr. Barrington has also been entertainment/technical director of the Tennessee Soybean Festival. He has been the technical/sound designer for more than 250 theatre, dance and opera productions and has acted roles in more than 50 productions. He is a member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, The United States Institute of Theatre Technicians, Alpha Psi Omega National Honor Theatre Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha National Honor Music Fraternity, The National Association of Campus Activities and The Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. Mr. Barrington has worked with the Governor’s School for the Humanities for 20-plus years and is the public address announcer for UT Martin’s Skyhawk football and men’s and women’s basketball programs. He is also proud to say he is a 30-year veteran volunteer firefighter with the Martin Fire Department.


Dr. Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter is an associate professor of political science in UT–Martin’s Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science, teaching courses in public administration and American government. He graduated with a B.S. in political science from U.T.M. in 1994 and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Dr. Baxter also serves as a pre-law advisor. This is the ninth time he has participated in U.T. Martin’s Governor’s School for the Humanities. His research interests include constitutional law and judicial politics; his recent articles have focused on how interest groups attempt to influence judges’ decisions and the outcomes of judicial elections. In 2013 Dr. Baxter was one of two UTM faculty members to receive the Outstanding Teacher Award from the UT Alumni Association. His wife Lisa is also a UTM alumnus, and they have one son, Jake.


Dr. Chris Brown

Christopher M. Brown is a professor of philosophy at UT Martin, where he teaches courses in ancient and medieval philosophy, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. He received the bachelor of music degree in percussion performance from Western Michigan University, the M.A. in humanities from Western Kentucky University, and the Ph.D. in philosophy from St. Louis University. Dr. Brown's recent publications include journal articles on freewill in heaven and the logical problems that plague scientism. He is currently working on a book that explains and defends St. Thomas Aquinas' account of heaven. He enjoys living in Martin with his wife Merry Elizabeth and their three sons, Judah Christopher, Leopold Edward, and Thomas Patrick.


Merry Brown

Merry Brown is a full-time lecturer in philosophy at UT Martin, where she introduces students to the history of philosophical ideas and encourages contemplation of what it means to lead a good human life. She received the Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and psychology from Azusa Pacific University and the M.A. in humanities from Western Kentucky University. She participates in the UT Martin Philosophy Forum and enjoys meeting with her students outside of the classroom to do thought experiments and service projects. She is the author of several young adult books, including Gold Manor Ghost House and The Knowers, and loves small town life in Martin with her husband Christopher and their three boys.


Dr. David Coffey

Born in New Mexico and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, David Coffey holds a Ph.D. from TCU. He is professor of history and chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he offers classes in US, military, and Latin American history. His books include John Bell Hood and the Struggle for Atlanta; Soldier Princess: The Life and Legend of Agnes Salm-Salm in North America, 1861-1867; and Sheridan’s Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan, His Generals, and the Final Year of the Civil War. He is a co-author of Historic Abilene: An Illustrated History. Additionally, he has contributed chapters to well-regarded anthologies on Civil War, Mexican, and Texas history. He has contributed to ten major historical reference works and served as an editor on three award winning multi-volume projects: the Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, the Encyclopedia of American Military History, and the Encyclopedia of the North American Indian Wars, 1607-1890. Coffey is the assistant editor of the new six-volume American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, to which he contributed more than forty entries. He is the 2012 recipient of UTM’s prestigious Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award.


Dr. Carol Eckert

Carol Eckert, a professor of art at UT Martin, teaches all of the University's art history and several art education courses. She earned the BFA in sculpture from Austin Peay University, an M.A. in art history from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in art education from the Union Institute and University. Prior to coming to UT Martin, Dr. Eckert taught at Austin Peay State University and ran a private art studio for 10 years. She received the Higher Education Division Educator of the Year Award for 2005 and for 2013 from the Tennessee Art Education Association. In addition, she was recognized by the UT Martin College of Humanities and Fine Arts as Outstanding Junior Faculty Member of the Year for 2005. In 2010, Dr. Eckert published a text/workbook for introductory art appreciation courses entitled " Conversing in Art: Learning the Language of the Visual Arts." In 2013 she received the Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award at UT Martin.


Dr. Chris Hill

Chris Hill is a Tar Heel bred, having received an MA and a PhD in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005. Before that, he spent his college career at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He met his wife Weslee there, so naturally he remembers the place fondly. Dr. Hill is originally from Manila, Philippines, where he spent his entire childhood. He is an associate professor of English in his seventh year at UTM, and lives happily within biking distance of campus with his wife of 15 years, three little boys aged seven, two, and four, and a big tabby cat. He teaches Shakespeare, Milton, sixteenth and seventeenth century literature, and various composition courses. In his spare time, when not playing with the little boys, he likes to read anything he can get his hands on, and to ride his bike in the countryside around Martin.


Dr. Julie Hill

Dr. Julie Hill, Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Tennessee-Martin and President of the Percussive Arts Society, has received worldwide recognition as a performer and scholar. Hill has presented workshops, concerts, and lectures extensively throughout the United States on Brazilian Music and the topic of music and social transformation for black women and at-risk children in Northeastern Brazil. As a member of the acclaimed Caixa Percussion Trio, Julie has performed in Mexico, Brazil, France, Puerto Rico, South Korea, across the United States, and the Percussive Arts Society International Conventions (PASIC).


Julie is a winner of the prestigious University of Tennessee at Martin's Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award, the Hardy Graham Distinguished Professorship Award, and UT Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award.


Hill is the co-author of a collection of solos/duets entitled Music for Multi Percussion: A World View (Alfred Publications) and has numerous publications with Innovative Percussion and Row-Loff Productions, and her scholarly research has been published in Percussive Notes and the Garland World Music Encyclopedias.


She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin.


Julie Hill is an endorser of Pearl Drums / Adams Musical Instruments, Innovative Percussion, Evans Drum Heads, Zildjian Cymbals, and Grover Pro Percussion. For more information, visit Julie Hill’s website at or


Mr. Lane Last

Lane Last is a professor of art at UT Martin in the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts. He is an artist, graphic designer, and experimental filmmaker. Lane holds an M.F.A. and a B.S. degree in art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with primary concentrations in Painting, Digital Art, Video, and New Media, though he has worked in Film Production, Installation/Non-Static Forms, and Printmaking. He was previously on the faculty at Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin and Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois. Lane has been exhibiting his animations and media works in international venues and competitions for the past twelve years. He has also been exhibiting his paintings in international, national, and regional museums and galleries for the past twenty years. His works can be found in public and private collections across the United States, Italy, Korea, and Japan.


Dr. Robert Nanney

Robert Nanney, professor of journalism and Chair of the Department of Communications at UT Martin, teaches features/editorial writing, desktop publishing, and senior seminar. He received his master of journalism degree from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University. Prior to joining the UT Martin faculty, Dr. Nanney worked in the newspaper field for 15 years. He received the UT National Association Outstanding Teaching Award and has earned numerous other teaching recognitions at UT Martin. He has been with the Governor’s School as a faculty member or newspaper adviser since 1993. He and his wife, Jeanie, have two children, Emily, who is an Air Force flight nurse, and Ryan, who is a music writer, producer and performer in Nashville. Dr. Nanney and his twin are the youngest of seven children. He loves to travel and is a huge fan of “The Andy Griffith Show.”


Ms. Tomi McCutchen Parrish

Tomi Parrish is an instructor of communications at UT Martin. She holds two bachelor's degrees from UT Martin, in communications and geography, and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Alabama. She worked as a daily newspaper copy editor for more than 10 years, and she now teaches news writing, copy editing and reporting. As coordinator of the Office of Student Publications, Ms. Parrish advises the student newspaper, The Pacer, and the student magazine, The Spirit. She also coordinates the Department of Communications' internship program. She has received the 2004 UT National Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2005 Coffey Outstanding Teacher Award, and the 2012 Outstanding Advisor award. Ms. Parrish has a herd of cats and happily lives in the woods between Martin and Dresden.


All applications must be postmarked no later than December 7, 2015.

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General Information

The Governor's School for the Humanities is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Education.

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