Focus on Faculty - Summer 2007

248 Paul Meek Library

Martin, TN 38238


(731) 881-7877


Craig Ingram, Director

Focus on Faculty - Summer 2007

The Instructional Technology Center picks one faculty member (or several members) each semester to be our "focus". Thus we like to call this feature of our website the 'Focus on Faculty''. They are chosen based on their use of technology and how they incorporate that technology into their teaching.


Dr. Richard Chesteen

Professor of Political Science


Dr. Richard Chesteen


During the summer of 2007 Dr. Chesteen grabbed a valuable prize.


He was selected as one of the Statewide winners in the Tennessee Sandbox Podcasting Competition, where he competed against other faculty members from other universities across the state in both the UT System and TBR System. Despite having no knowledge of podcasting or how to get started, he educated himself and created an original podcast that addressed the topic of comparing the current generation of college students with those from back in the 70s.


So because of his desire to step out of his comfort zone and try something new with technology, Dr. Chesteen was selected as our ITC Featured Faculty Member for Summer 2007!


Dr. Chesteen's Bio:

  • Grad-BA Delta State University 1962;
  • MA Ole Miss 1964;
  • PhD Ole Miss 1976;
  • Taught Mississippi Delta Community College 1964-69;
  • UTM 1969-present;
  • Pacer adviser 1971-74;
  • Academic and Faculty Senate president;
  • Post-doctorate Education Leadership award from Institute for Educational Leadership 1977-78;
  • History & Political Science Department chair-1989-94;
  • Obion County Commissioner 1982-1994;
  • President of Tennessee County Services Association (some 2000 county officials)1989;
  • Member of Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations 1989-1994;
  • Candidate for governor in the Democratic Party primary - 1994;
  • Former president of the Tennessee Political Science Association;
  • Recipient of UT National Alumni Association Teacher Award 1991;
  • Recipient of Love Public Service Award 2002;
  • Regan Research Leave 2001;
  • US Army National War College Seminar Summer 2006

1. What types of technology do you think helps you teach better?


That is difficult to say. I use the internet constantly to keep updated on political information. A scanner is very valuable for capturing images for PowerPoint. Acrobat is valuable because it makes saving information that can be distributed very easy. PowerPoint does help presenting information in a more interesting format. Cheap laser printers make the printing of information from the internet more affordable and now color laser printers are becoming very inexpensive.


2. Is there anything at UTM in regard to technology that you would like to mention that makes a difference for you as you do your job?


Having multimedia equipment in the classroom is very important for teaching, both for student and the teacher. Being able to go to websites and do this while projecting the movements on the screen is most helpful. Computers with accessible USB ports are important. Flash drives make transferring files very convenient for faculty and students. The training provided by ITC is very helpful. With time faculty websites will be more common and ITC can help in that area. All faculty should be provided with modern website building software at the department level. It is very expensive to purchase.


3. You are retiring this year so you can say whatever you want now! So what advice would you like to give all of us in regard to using technology to enhance and improve education?


I received my Ph.D. in political science from University of Mississippi in 1976. I have been on the faculty at UTM since 1969. I started using the Mac in 1991. I learned desktop publishing when I ran for governor in 1994. I designed all of my campaign literature and ads and used mass mailing features for communicating with others. A campaign video was done with David Gatwood, son of UTM faculty member Dwight Gatwood, who is now employed by Apple in program development with a desktop computer and video camera and using mostly still photos. It was pretty good. I began to use the computer to develop PowerPoint slides for class when UTM introduced the first COWS. Shortly after that the publisher of the text book for American government I used paid me to develop a PowerPoint slide series for all its text chapters. The result was a CD of over 1,000 slides.


As the internet began to come on line in the early 1990s, I used it as a research tool. It was evident that political science and political related activities were going to be tied to the internet. My interest in the internet and politics grew. Then came internet voting and the use of new electronic voting technology.


I received a Reagan leave in 2001 and had as my research goal looking at how the internet was impacting electoral politics. Because of my interest in the controversial 2000 presidential election I began to look at the federal Help America Vote Act and the growing controversy over electronic voting without a paper trail. The controversy between computer scientists and the voting machine manufacturers and state and local election officials has been intense. The result of my research was three lengthy papers - two at the Midwest Political Science Association and one at the Southern Political Science Association. Along with Dr. Chris Baxter, we are preparing a paper on ex-felon voting restoration in Tennessee and the problems with implementing HAVA in Tennessee, particular the electronic voting machine systems, for the Southeastern Public Administration Conference in Nashville in late September.


I have scanned thousands of photos, charts. tables and other material over the last ten years. I have used some of that material in class under what I understand is fair use allowance. I have never published any of my PowerPoint slides to an external server that had public or university access and have not sought to produce any thing for commercial use other than the CD for the text book i mentioned earlier. Those slides used clip art rather than copyrighted material.


I now have computer equipment and software that allow me to download news programs and special shows on political related topics from such places as The History Channel and A & E. I can convert those programs into a format that can be viewed on my IPOD and by connecting it to a TV I can project the show there.


I want to get into doing QuickTime, iMovie and iDVD movies on my Macs but that requires a great amount of time. Too, iPhoto has a lot of potential along with Keynote and PowerPoint.


Perhaps the greatest value to me from the computer is simply the access to information through various online sources. In some cases I teach directly from the internet. Too, I try to get my upper division classes to use the internet for class assignments and projects.


In looking to the future I see the faculty member serving more a role of facilitator than lecturer. Students should be encouraged to learn on their own. The classroom should be more a place for sharing. It is not easy to let go of that role of informing and becoming more a technocrat. I am very much concerned with the emphasis we now place on faculty publishing at UTM. Faculty only have so much time. Developing good multimedia project for students is very time consuming. UTM cannot be all things to all people. If we really are what we claim to be-a teaching institution-then we should encourage not discourage teachers who want to make learning more exciting, interesting and accessible.


Focus on Faculty - Previous Semesters

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