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Welcome to UT Mic/Nite!

Next Event:
Thurs, November 10, 2022

Social Hour: 5:30pm
Program: 6:30pm
Location: Relix Variety Theatre


Patrick Grzanka,
Mic/Nite Coordinator


Twice a year, the Office of the Provost hosts Mic/Nite, a “Pecha-Kucha Powered” social gathering designed to enhance the intellectual, interdisciplinary, and cultural life of the faculty and staff at UT Knoxville.

One of the challenges in a large university community is working across the silos that often separate disciplines. Mic/Nite offers an opportunity to build bridges and foster a deeper appreciation of the many facets of a large, comprehensive university. Presentations offer a cross section of the intellectual life of UT Knoxville and provide an opportunity for social interaction among faculty and staff who may not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with each other.

For the Event:

We remind our guests that UT Mic/Nite is an event for UT faculty and staff and is not open to students or the general public. [Partners are welcome.] Relix Variety Theatre is located at 1208 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917. Parking is available behind the venue on Anderson Avenue and on surrounding streets.

Free pizza and a cash bar are available. Please complete the RSVP form by Friday, November 4.

RSVP for Mic/Nite on November 10, 2022


What is Pecha-Kucha?

Pecha-Kucha is a simple presentation format that features twenty images displayed for twenty seconds each. The images automatically forward as the presenter talks. To learn more, visit the Pecha-Kucha FAQ. Samples are posted on the Pecha-Kucha Presentations page.

The format originated in Tokyo, Japan. It was first introduced in 2003 and has spread to more than 400 cities around the world. The format allows presenters to depict and describe everything from urban design or economic theory to a series of photographs. Mic/Nite is held in cooperation with PechaKucha Night Knoxville, which was started in 2011 to encourage intellectual and cultural dialogue. Mic/Nites are special interdisciplinary events that facilitate dialogue between university faculty and staff by showcasing the academic pursuits of the campus.

Explore Pecha Kucha events from around the world: PechaKucha 20×20 – Official Site | PechaKucha 20×20 – Knoxville | PechaKucha 20×20 – FAQ


Previous Presentation Topics – Spring 2022

Seeking Health Care in Appalachia: “It’s far and it sucks. They don’t listen to you.” 

Amy Alspaugh, Assistant Professor; College of Nursing 

Interactions with your health care provider set the tone for your entire visit. In an ideal situation, your provider makes you feel heard, respected, and valued. Health care providers are, however, everyday people like you and I, prone to their own biases, judgements, and stereotypes, which can, in some cases, affect their care. Ironically, seeking care in this setting can cause incredible and long-lasting harm. 

Mistreatment at the hands of providers has been well-documented in birth settings and is attributed to the influence of power and gender. Power and gender are not confined to the birthing room, however. In this presentation, I will discuss findings from a study exploring bad experiences with health care providers among women of reproductive age in Appalachia. What is the nature of these bad experiences, and what do they tell us about the larger social stigmas and narratives around reproduction, gender, class, and health? 

Watch Amy Alspaugh’s presentation:

Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care

Wendy A. Bach, Professor of Law; College of Law 

Image of the cover of Wendy Bach's book titled "Prosecuting Poverty Criminalizing Care"

At the height of the opiate epidemic, Tennessee lawmakers made it a crime for a pregnant woman to transmit narcotics to a fetus. They promised that charging new mothers with this crime would help them receive the treatment and support they often desperately need. In Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care, Wendy Bach describes the law’s actual effect through meticulous examination of the cases of 120 women who were prosecuted for this crime. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, Bach demonstrates that both prosecuting “fetal assault,” and institutionalizing the all-too-common idea that criminalization is a road to care, lead at best to clinically dangerous and corrupt treatment, and at worst, and far more often, to an insidious smokescreen obscuring harsh punishment.

Watch Wendy A. Bach’s presentation:

Beauford’s Sound: Beauford Delaney’s Dark Rapture (1941) 

Mary Campbell, Associate Professor of American Art History; School of Art

Image of Beauford Delaney's painting Dark Rapture

In 1973, the French art critic Jacques Michel published a review of Beauford Delaney’s one-man exhibition at the Galerie Darthea Speyer in Paris. Although Michel praised Delaney’s work overall, he explicitly cast the Knoxville-born artist as a naïve painter, unaware of the larger histories of art swirling around him. “[Delaney’s] isn’t a ‘cultural’ manner,” Michel wrote. “Beauford doesn’t go to the Louvre to see how Rembrandt examined a face in order to transfer it to the canvas. Nor does he inscribe himself in the general development of artistic technique.” As this presentation discusses, Michel could not have been more wrong. Through a close reading of Delaney’s 1941 portrait of James Baldwin, Dark Rapture, I explore the complicated ways in which the painter engaged with the art historical canon decades before his arrival in France, transforming the aesthetic histories he inherited into a rich new visual language.

Image Credit: Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), Dark Rapture (James Baldwin), 1941, oil on Masonite, 34 x 28 inches / 86.4 x 71.1 cm, signed; © Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator, Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

Watch Mary Campbell’s presentation: 

Connecting with Customers in a Digital Age

Amy Cathey, Distinguished Lecturer, Graduate & Executive Education; Haslam College of Business  

Image of students on their phones

The marketing literature defines customer-centric organizations as those that: (1) take steps to understand what customers value and (2) act on that understanding by empowering employees to make win-win decisions that benefit both the customer and the company.  Customer centricity is thought to build customer loyalty, which ultimately leads to higher levels of customer retention, employee satisfaction, and corporate profitability. Rapid growth in online purchase behavior and digital communication tools are putting pressure on organizations across industries to seek a deeper understanding of how customers assess the value of their offerings.  The average person is estimated to make over 35,000 decisions per day, which means the choice of which product or company to use can made in seconds.  In addition, it is often made with no in-person interaction.  This presentation will summarize marketing thought related to understanding customer value and review best practices for connecting with customers in an increasingly digital world. 

Watch Amy Cathey’s presentation:

Harnessing Fusion Power is a Team Effort

David Donovan, Associate Professor; Nuclear Engineering, Zinkle Fellow

Image of fusion reactor

Countless scientists, engineers, and science-fiction enthusiasts have dreamed of harnessing the power of nuclear fusion for more than half a century. Fusion reactors promise vast amounts of energy from an abundant fuel source without emitting carbon or producing long-term waste. But why has the tagline for fusion always been that “it is just 50 years away”, even though the years keep passing and it seems no closer? It turns out that fusing particles together is the easy part, but making an economically viable power plant is quite a bit trickier. The world is nearing the completion of the largest ever fusion experiment, the ITER project, in 2027. ITER represents the culmination of decades of research, the combined knowledge of numerous fields of science and engineering, and the efforts of a global team. With this great leap forward, the world may finally find the power of fusion within reach. 

Watch David Donovan’s presentation:

The Disproportional Pushout of Black Girls from Schools – Re-envisioning Healing and Well-being for Black Girls 

Andrea Joseph-McCatty, Assistant Professor; College of Social Work 

Image of 4 young girls with hashtag "see the best in me"

Nationally, Black girls in the U.S. are disproportionately suspended compared to all other girls across the country (Crenshaw, Ocen & Nanda, 2015; US Department of Education, 2018). Data from the 2017-2018 academic year reflect that Black girls, compared to White girls, have 4.19 times the risk of receiving an out-of-school suspension, 3.99 times the risk for expulsion, 3.66 times the risk for school-based arrest (Epstein, Godfrey, González, and Javdani, 2020). However, poor behavior is not the singular factor leading to disproportional discipline. Many Black girls experience school discipline for subjective infractions such as tone of voice, hair styles (e.g. afros, braids, head wraps) and clothes that are considered suggestive on their bodies compared to other girls. To mitigate these factors, this presentation will discuss how school-based interventions can center Black girls’ healing and well-being by seeing the best in them and concurrently dismantling racist, sexist and trauma “un-informed” discipline practices. 

Watch Andrea Joseph-McCatty’s presentation:

Green with Arrogance: When Should Companies Brag About How Green They Are? 

Matthew Pittman, Assistant Professor; Tombras School of Advertising & Public Relations 

Image of Ayres Hall with text "Other SEC Schools have ugly people or idiots."

Arrogance is usually pretty repulsive. Conventional wisdom says thatpeople and companies should be humble, and this includes when talking about their sustainability efforts. However, our research found that people actually LIKE it when companies brag about how much they are doing for the environment—as long as they are a leader in their product market. Dr. Pittman discusses why this might be the case and what it means for green advertising in general. 

Watch Matthew Pittman’s presentation:

Like Pulling Teeth: Improving Access to Dental Care for Overall Health 

Kenneth D. Smith, Assistant Professor; Department of Public Health    

Drawing of dental care in the 19th century

Your mouth is the entry point to the digestive and respiratory tracks where oral bacteria can wreak havoc on your body. Oral bacteria can lead to infections and inflammation linked to stroke, heart disease, and clogged arteries. Despite the synergies between oral health and overall health, dental care is often seen as optional. The two have been separated and treated differently since the 19th century. In this presentation, I discuss the importance of dental care for overall health and the need for greater medical-dental integration. Using Texas and Tennessee as case examples, I present the promise and challenge of more equitable and integrated systems of care.

Watch Kenneth Smith’s presentation:

Goooooal!” UT Science Brings FIFA’s Soccer World Cup to North America

John Sorochan, Distinguished Professor; Turfgrass Science, Director; Center for Athletic Field Safety

Image of soccer goal an diagram of soil and infrastructure under the field.

Soccer is the most watched and largest participant sport in the world, and the FIFA World Cup is arguably the most coveted sporting event on the planet. Held every four years, the 2018 men’s FIFA World Cup, hosted in Russia, was estimated to have over three and a half billion people watch the event. In 2026, the men’s FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Canada, the United States, and Mexico. It will be the largest World Cup ever, increasing in size from 32 qualifying nations to 48. To prepare for this event, the University of Tennessee (UT) turfgrass team will provide the research for, and oversight of, all fields. With events spread across 16 stadiums and approximately 150 practice facilities in the three host countries, UT faculty, staff, and students (and subcontractor Michigan State University) will identify the best combination of grasses, soils, artificial lights, and management systems to provide excellent, consistent  and safe playing conditions to meet FIFA standards. The different growing environments will range from cool season arid and humid regions, to warm season arid and tropical regions, in both outdoor and indoor (shaded) environments.   The result will be a World Cup unlike any other, and offer a tremendous opportunity to showcase UT to the world.

Watch John Sorochan’s presentation:

Writing and Reading the Gospels in Arabic During the Early Islamic Period 

Phillip W. Stokes, Assistant Professor of Arabic; Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures

Image of ancient Arabic writing

Christian translations of the Bible into Arabic – especially the Gospels – are among the earliest texts written in Arabic from the early Islamic period (begins 7th century AD/CE). However, the form of Arabic in which the Gospels were written differs in numerous ways from the Classical Arabic standard that became prestigious in the medieval period. This has led scholars to treat Christian literature as linguistically substandard, the result of imperfect learning and scribal carelessness. In this talk, I will go on a whirlwind tour of the early history of Arabic – based on the latest research – in order to demonstrate that scholarship has approached Christian Arabic all wrong. I will argue that, when we get the story of Arabic right, we discover that, far from displaying carelessness, the linguistic variation attested in the Christian Gospels is patterned and testifies to a dynamic and intentional process of interaction with early Muslim readings of the Quran.  

Watch Phillip W. Stokes’s presentation:

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