Academic Speakers Program

Robert Duke: How We Learn … and How We Don't

Robert Duke

Robert Duke is the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Professor and Head of Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Elizabeth Shatto Massey Distinguished Fellow in Teacher Education, and Director of the Center for Music Learning. He is also an advisor to the Psychology of Learning Program at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. The most recent recipient of MENC's Senior Researcher Award, Dr. Duke has directed national research efforts under the sponsorship of such organizations as the National Piano Foundation and the International Suzuki Institute. His research on human learning and behavior spans multiple disciplines, including motor skill learning, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. His most recent work explores procedural memory consolidation and the cognitive processes engaged during musical improvisation. A former studio musician and public school music teacher, he has worked closely with children at-risk, both in the public schools and through the juvenile justice system. He is the author of Scribe 4 behavior analysis software, and his most recent books are Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction and The Habits of Musicianship, which he co-authored with Jim Byo of Louisiana State University.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Department of Music

Venue: Humanities Auditorium

Date: October 24th, 2013 @ 7:30PM


John W. Schmidt: Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance, Animal Agriculture, and Human Health: No Simple Answer at The Interface of Three Complex Systems.

John Schmidt

Dr. John W. Schmidt received a B.S. in Biotechnology from Rutgers University in 1997. In 2004, he received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Illinois, where his research focused on Bacteroides conjugative transposons (mobile genetic elements). Following post-doctoral appointments studying Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus at the University of Pennsylvania and antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at Duke University, he joined the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. He currently serves as a Research Microbiologist in the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit at the United States Meat Animal Research Center located in Clay Center, Nebraska. His research is focused on determining the impact of agricultural antibiotic use on the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria throughout the beef and pork production continuums.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Department of Biology

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: November 19th, 2013 @ 7:30PM


Dennis Walto: First Responder

Dennis Walto

Dennis Walto is Senior Advisor—Innovations and Revenue at International Medical Corps, a global, nonprofit humanitarian relief organization that has delivered $1.4 billion in lifesaving medical care and training to tens of millions of people across 70 countries since 1984. Mr. Walto is a senior development professional with more than 25 years of experience in executive management, fundraising and poverty eradication efforts in Africa, the Middle East and across the globe. Beginning with International Medical Corps in 1992, Mr. Walto has lived and worked in many of the world's most complex humanitarian emergency settings including Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. He went on to serve in myriad leadership roles at prestigious international non-profits, implementing critical health and development programs in the world's most underserved countries. He returned to International Medical Corps in 2012 to lead its efforts to broaden its funding partnerships. Before working overseas, Mr. Walto developed and managed health programs in the United States in such diverse places as the inner cities of New York and Dallas, and the rural poverty pockets of the Mississippi River Delta and the Appalachia Mountain region.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Center for International Education

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: December 3rd, 2013 @ 7:30PM


Peter Mahaffey: Climate Science, Powering our Planet, and Rare Materials: A Role for Visualization

Peter Mahaffey

Peter Mahaffy is internationally recognized for his deep commitment to helping students, scientists, and the general public see the intricate webs that connect chemistry to so many aspects of life. Professor of Chemistry at the King's University College in Edmonton, Mahaffy also co-directs the King's Centre for Visualization in Science ( and ), which provides digital learning resources used by a quarter million students, educators and the public from over 100 countries each year. He carries out research in the areas of chemistry education, visualization in science, and organic chemistry, and has strong professional interests and activities related to the interface between chemistry and sustainability, as well as the responsible uses of chemistry. He is co-author of an international 1st year university chemistry textbook published by Nelson/Cengage, "Chemistry: Human Activity, Chemical Reactivity."

Mahaffy recently completed six years of service as chair of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry's (IUPAC) Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) and membership on IUPAC's Bureau. In that capacity, he helped to facilitate the process to obtain UN designation of 2011 as an International Year of Chemistry and served on the IYC-2011 Management Committee. He was a charter member of the International Council of Science (ICSU) Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the Conduct of Science, and serves on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) working group on education and outreach and the American Chemical Society (ACS) presidential working group to help professional chemists communicate climate science to the public. He is also vice-chair of the Province of Alberta's Quality Assurance Agency for universities (Campus Alberta Quality Council).

Co-sponsored by: Student Members of the American Chemical Society

Venue: Humanities Auditorium

Date: January 23rd, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Carol Eckert: Applied Research: Pursuing the Art of Teaching Art

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." Dr. Eckert is the 2012-13 recipient of the James R. Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award.

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: February 5th, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Jeff Daniel Marion: The Journey a Poem Makes

A native of Rogersville, Tennessee, taught English and creative writing at Carson-Newman College (now University) for over thirty-five years until his retirement in 2002. There he was poet-in-residence, director of the Appalachian Center, and editor of Mossy Creek Reader. He has published nine poetry collections, four poetry chapbooks, and a children’s book, Hello, Crow. Poems have appeared in a variety of journals including The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, Epoch, Atlanta Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poet Lore, Vanderbilt Poetry Review, Greensboro Review, Southern Poetry Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, and Appalachian Journal and in anthologies such as HomeWorks: A Book of Tennessee Writers and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. In the 1970s and €80s, he worked as poet-in-the-schools in North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee and for decades has lectured and conducted workshops on teaching and writing throughout the southern Appalachian region. In 1975, Marion founded The Small Farm, a significant regional poetry journal, which he edited until 1980. In 1978, he received the first literary fellowship awarded by the Tennessee Arts Commission. For nearly ten years, he served as poet-in-residence for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Humanities. In 1993, he participated in the Distinguished Writers Reading Series sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and was the featured writer at Emory & Henry College's 13th Literary Festival in 1995. He presented the 1996 Palmer Memorial Lecture at Cumberland College (now University of the Cumberlands) in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and in 1998 served as Copenhaver Scholar in Residence at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. Marion’s seventh book, Ebbing & Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poems and Prose, 1976-2001 (Celtic Cat Publishing, 2002), won the 2003 Independent Publisher Award in Poetry, was a finalist for the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Aw Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association. Father, Marion’s eighth poetry collection, received the 2009 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize from Wind Publications. The Appalachian Writers Association presented him the 2002 Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award; in 2005 Carson-Newman College gave him the Educational Service to Appalachia Award; he received the 2006 Career Achievement Award from the Knoxville Writers’ Guild; and in 2007 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. Marion served as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence for the University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, from 2009€-2011 and was awarded the 2011 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In addition to his writing, he is a skilled photographer and printer. He operated Mill Springs Press on the Holston River for many years near New Market, Tennessee, where he produced chapbooks and broadsides from handset type on a Vandercook proof press. In spring 2013, his work and career were celebrated at a literary festival in his honor at Carson-Newman University (Jefferson City, Tennessee) and in a tribute at Walters State Community College (Morristown, Tennessee). Marion lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, poet and editor Linda Parsons Marion.

Co-sponsored by: Friends of the Paul Meek Library

Venue: Paul Meek Library

Date: February 13th, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Dave Dennis: Freedom Summer--Crawl Space to the Pathway to Freedom.

Dave Dennis

Dave Dennis worked closely with Bob Moses in Mississippi and was active in many Civil Rights organizations during the 1960's. He currently works for the Algebra Project, an organization founded by Moses to improve minority children's mathematics education. Dave Dennis was a Freedom Rider and Co-Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Mississippi. Dennis was the Mississippi director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), but he worked with SNCC members and other civil rights activists in Mississippi under the COFO umbrella to avoid intra-organizational conflicts. COFO organized activists for a Mississippi voter registration drive during "Freedom Summer." Dennis spoke at the funeral of James Chaney, and he worked closely with both Bob Moses and Medgar Evers.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Civil Rights Conference

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: February 27th, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Peggy and Murray Schwartz: Pearl Primus: Life, Work and Legacy

Peggy and Murray Schwartz

Photo courtesy of: Stan Sherer, photographer

Peggy Schwartz's career spans more than forty years. She developed a rhythm and movement program for the Pilot Program for Head Start in Berkeley, California (1960s); she was the founding Chairperson of the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts Dance Department (1970s) ; she joined the Five College Dance Department first at Hampshire College (1983) and then the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1991). She served as Chair of the FCDD and Director of the Dance Program at UMass Amherst and was the founder and artistic director of the Sankofa Dance Project: Celebrating African Roots in American Dance. Peggy has published, lectured, conducted workshops and consulted in dance education, curriculum design, national standards in arts education, and the work of Pearl Primus, nationally and internationally. A founding member and board member of NDEO and Founding Associate Editor of the JODE, she served as the National Representative to daCi and was a guest artist at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Israel, the Claremont Colleges and New York State Summer School of the Arts. In October, 2013, Peggy was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Dance by the National Dance Education Organization.

For over forty years, Murray Schwartz has taught Shakespeare, psychoanalysis and Holocaust literature. His writing spans a wide range of interdisciplinary interests and includes essays on Shakespeare's last plays, the work of Erik Erikson, applied psychoanalysis, modern poetry and trauma studies. He has also co-edited several anthologies, including Representing Shakespeare: New Psychoanalytic Essays (1980), Memory and Desire: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Aging (1985). He is President of the PsyArt Foundation and edits the online journal, PsyArt ( Murray was Dean of the Colleges at SUNY/Buffalo (1979-83), Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass Amherst (1983-91), Provost of the Claremont Graduate University (1991-97) and Academic Vice President at Emerson College (1997-99). He is a scholar member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and has participated in studies of the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the writing of psychoanalytic history. Currently, he teaches at Emerson College in Boston. In October 2013, Murray lectured on the Primus biography and the life of Shakespeare in Shanghai at the international conference, "Portraiture of Chinese Lives: Life Writing and the Current Trend."

Together, Peggy and Murray wrote "The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus" which was published by Yale University Press, New Haven, 2011. A paperback edition is now available.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Department of Visual and Theater Arts

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: March 18th, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Anthony Leiserowitz: Climate Change in the American Mind

Anthony Leisorowitz

Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D. is a research scientist at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. He is an expert on public opinion about climate change and the environment. His research investigates the psychological, cultural, and political factors that influence environmental attitudes, policy support, and behavior. He conducts research at the global, national, and local scales, including many surveys of the American public. He also conducted the first study of worldwide public values, attitudes, and behaviors regarding sustainability, including environmental protection, economic prosperity, and human development. He has served as a consultant to the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), the United Nations Development Program, the Gallup World Poll, and the World Economic Forum.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resource Management Ed Jones Lectureship

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: March 26th, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Sonja DuBois: Preserving the Legacy

Sonja DuBois

Sonja DuBois was born in the Netherlands. Shortly after the Nazi troops invaded the country in 1940, her parents were deported to a concentration camp and became victims of the Holocaust. She was less than two years old when she became an orphan, also known as a "hidden child". Clara lost her identity, renamed by her foster parents she became Sonja. She is committed to speaking especially to students in middle and high schools.

The Holocaust can never be forgotten. Our families paid the price for the hatred and racism instigated by one man. Only by speaking against racism can we change the future.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Department of History and Philosophy

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: April 9th, 2014 @ 7:30PM


Sara Gale: Non-Destructive Crevasse Detection in Antarctica Using Ground-Penetrating RADAR.

Sara Gale

Sara is an archaeologist recently turned Ground-Penetrating RADAR (GPR) technical trainer. After graduating from Martin Westview High School in 2000 she earned both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Anthropology, with a focus in the use of geophysical methods to map and study archaeological sites. At the University of Arkansas, where she received a BA, her studies included the use of ground-penetrating radar, magnetic gradiometry, soil resistivity, and electromagnetic induction as survey methods. While getting her undergraduate Sara worked on US Civil War battlefields, historic cemeteries, historic mills, and large-scale prehistoric occupation sites. After completing her BA, Sara focused on ground-penetrating radar methods and Southwestern US prehistoric architecture for her MA at the University of Denver. For her Master's thesis she used GPR to study population aggregation at a Pre-Spanish contact pueblo outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. While working on her MA she worked for Geophysical Investigations, Inc., an archaeology company that primarily used various geophysical methods in the Western United States to study a variety of historic and prehistoric sites.

After completing her MA and before coming to Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. (GSSI) as a technical trainer, Sara worked for the Georgia Department of Transportation for 7 years as a project manager and archaeologist. Sara also managed the Archaeology Unit's Geophysical Department. She started with GSSI in December 2012 and currently teaches in-house trainings, onsite trainings, and works on writing and updating manuals. Her classes focus on different applications including utility locating, concrete scanning, road and bridge scanning, geology and soils mapping, and advanced data processing

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Chapter of Sigma Xi

Venue: Watkins Auditorium

Date: April 21st, 2014 @ 7:30PM

University Scholars Organization

Learn about USO.

Visit USO >

Academic Speakers Program

Learn More >