Skip to content

Welcome to UT Mic/Nite!

Next Event:
November 14, 2019

Social Hour: 5:30
Presentations: 6:30
Relix Variety Theatre
1208 N. Central St
Knoxville, TN 39717


Joan Heminway,
Mic/Nite Coordinator

Phone: 865-974-3813

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 members who may not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with each other.

Parking is available behind the venue on Anderson Avenue and on surrounding streets.

Free pizza and a cash bar are available. So we are able to make appropriate preparations, please RSVP!

RSVP for Upcoming Mic/Nite


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


Spring 2019 Presentation Topics

Interior Topographies: Towards a New Typology of Spatial Occupancy

Rana Abudayyeh, Assistant Professor; College of Architecture and Design – School of Interior Architecture

Watch Rana Abudayyeh’s presentation

abstract yellow map with text Interior Topographies

_INTERIORITY today is an exponentially evolving condition that requires invention to rethink the spatial environments we dwell in. This necessitates looking outside conventional design workflows. It is no longer sufficient to think about a mere visual connection between interior and exterior. Interior design concepts are to initiate an exterior/interior continuum, and position interior occupancy at the core of urban ecologies. Interior space is not autonomous; interiority thrives within the narratives it fosters, and amidst the milieus it occupies.

_INTERIOR TOPOGRAPHIES define a conceptual design framework, establishing an analogous link between interior and exterior while encouraging a unique receptiveness to occupancy. Here, inside and outside designations degrade, and a fertile elasticity between interior and exterior forms, ushering a liminal domain that demands the designer’s attention and imagination. Now more than ever, such a reciprocity is requisite in an era ubiquitous with the flatness of virtual imagery and an overall contextual banality. 

Neurological Disorders and Brain Plasticity

Keerthi Krishnan, Assistant Professor; College of Arts and Sciences – Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology

Watch Keerthi Krishnan’s presentation

cross section of tissue

Diagnosis and prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders are increasing in the United States and all over the world. Many factors including general awareness of symptoms, better tracking of developmental milestones and meteoric rise and easy accessibility of DNA sequencing technologies (23& Me,, genetic counseling etc.), contribute to this increase. I am interested in understanding the connections between neurological disorders and DNA. Specifically, we study how Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder, is caused by mutations in a gene called MECP2. Rett Syndrome has a higher prevalence in girls. Many girls with Rett Syndrome exhibit atypical speech and social communication, movement and sensory perception issues. How these particular features arise in girls with Rett Syndrome due to MECP2 mutations is unknown. In my talk, I share with you our approach and results in brain development and function that take us a step closer to solving this mystery.

You Know Those Nationwide Commercials with the People Singing Real Sincerely About Insurance? Why Are They So Heartbreaking?

Joshua Bienko, Associate Professor; College of Arts and Sciences, School of Art – Drawing and Extended Media

Watch Joshua Bienko’s presentation

broken heart emojis and man singing

This lecture poses a simple question. Why are Nationwide commercials so sad? Is it their form? Is it the relationship they have to sincerity? Is it the embedded hope of talent made manifest? Is it the antagonism that lies between art and commerce? Between music and emotions? Are the commercials actually sad? 

Attempts to find answers to these questions hold potential for revelation…far more than answers themselves. This pecha kucha is an exploration into forms of research that are as much inward looking as they are outward looking. Indeed, looking, listening, thinking and being are the foundations of Bienko’s artistic research, the output of which lies suspended in purposeful conflict with itself, somewhere between joy and pain. 

The Dark Side of Competition

Scott M. Gilpatric, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, John and Shirley Moore Scholar; Haslam College of Business – Department of Economics

Watch Scott M. Gilpatric’s presentation

monopoly game cheaters editionCompetition to win a prize is a great motivator, but nearly every competition has rules or norms that define prohibited actions as cheating. Doping by athletes, fraud by sales staff seeking a bonus or promotion, and even plagiarism by faculty competing for tenure, can all be seen as damaging behavior by contestants. Deterring such behavior is a challenge for any organization using competition to drive extraordinary performance.

Game theory can help us understand incentives for cheating and other strategic behavior in contests, and therefore how to more effectively deter unwanted behavior. Particularly in contests among small groups of fairly evenly matched competitors, it is crucial to model how players respond based on their beliefs about the cheating of others. Of course better policing—more frequent or more informative inspections of players’ actions—can deter cheating. But policing is limited by resources and technology for detecting cheating, and other factors are also important. If the top performer is caught cheating, should the prize be awarded to the second place finisher? If multiple contests are organized and resources limit the share of players who are inspected, is it better to inspect some players at every event or all players at some events and none at others? More fundamentally, what actions should be prohibited and trigger disqualification for cheating—is zero tolerance of harmful actions best, or might tolerating some bad behavior reduce more serious offenses?

Spending, Spinning, and Being Social: New Rules for the Persuasion Game

Sally J. McMillan, Professor; College of Communication and Information – Advertising and Public Relations

Watch Sally J. McMillan’s presentation

icons of chart, phone, person, money, newspaper

In the mass-media era, advertising spending has been linked to presidential election outcomes – the candidate who spends the most is highly likely to win the election. Furthermore, negative media coverage – often associated with personal scandals – has historically been shown to reduce a candidate’s likelihood of winning an election. In the U.S. election of 2016, the candidate who spent the least and who had significant personal scandals was elected president. This presentation examines digital persuasion strategies and uses big-data analytics to examine why. The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign may represent a “tipping point” between “old” mass media campaigning tactics such as spending on advertising and gaining positive media coverage and “new” approaches to winning elections and selling products and services by influencing the volume and valence of citizen/consumer digital engagement on social media.

Place-Based Art Education: Saving the World One Non-Place at a Time

Joy Bertling, Assistant Professor; College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

Watch Joy Bertling’s presentation

corner of school with parking signPlace-based education is an educational approach dedicated to instilling place-consciousness and, correspondingly, pro-ecological attitudes and behaviors by rooting education within the local environment. But how can education become “rooted” in place when place itself is increasingly ephemeral or nonexistent—as non-place? Augé defined “non-place” as space lacking meaningful relations with other spaces, historical presence, or concern with identity. Rather than space as historically-centered, non-place represents a de-centering of space, a movement away from cities, dwelling places and dwelling-in-places, into capitalist, often technologically-mediated, spaces of “circulation, consumption, and communication.” As non-place represents a form of easy transit, disembodiment, and pseudo-living, the arts might serve as a counterpoint, offering enhanced perception, feeling, and imagination. Through place-based art education, students might engage in place-identifying, discovering the uniqueness of their communities; place-connecting, forming aesthetic, empathetic relations with the human and more-than-human world; and placemaking, producing place through fresh artistic forms and relations.

Nuclear Power for the 21st Century: Not Your Grandparent’s Reactor

Jamie Coble, Assistant Professor; Tickle College of Engineering

Watch Jamie Coble’s presentation

snow scape with biodome

Despite significant growth in installed renewable energy capacity, nuclear power provides upwards of 60% of the carbon-free electricity generation in the United States. Our current fleet of large, light-water cooled reactors are likely to be retired during the first half of the twenty-first century. The next generation of nuclear reactors will be significantly different than our current fleet, with new coolants, new fuels, and new deployment scenarios. These innovative designs come with opportunities to operate, manage, and maintain our reactors in fundamentally different ways, improving the economic outlook for nuclear power while providing clean, safe, reliable electricity.

Low Cost Carbon Fiber and Polymer Reinforced Composites: Is this the Game Changer?

Dayakar Penumadu, Fred N. Peebles Professor; Tickle College of Engineering – Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Watch Dayakar Penumadu’s presentation

Images with text filament, composite, chopped for compound, prepreg, woven cloth

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation was established by The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a National Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop next generation composites for structural applications. Carbon fibers in composite form are targeted for high volume applications in wind, automotive, and compressed gas storage application space with infrastructure applications to follow. As these new materials evolve, characterization based manufacturing and optimization becomes a key for its rapid success and commercialization. Fiber reinforced polymer composites, especially carbon fiber reinforced materials, offer a number of opportunities to design light weight structures that are fatigue tolerant, corrosion resistant, cost effective. They offer the unique advantage to tailor the desired mechanical properties in target directions. This talk will introduce the audience to low-cost carbon fiber and composites, which are expected to be game changers for wide adoption in various light-weight engineering applications including your bicycles!

Virginia P. Moore: Tennessee’s First Home Demonstration Agent

Laura Romans, Manuscripts Archivist & Assistant Professor; University Libraries

Watch Laura Romans’ presentation

Historical photo of women canning outdoorsVirginia P. Moore was Tennessee’s first home demonstration agent. Moore began working with Tennessee’s Department of Education to improve the condition of the state’s rural public schools in 1909. She then became a State Collaborator, expanding her work to include the organization of canning clubs for young girls across the state where she taught them to grow and can their own produce. With the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, which established extension services at land-grant universities, Moore joined the Division of Extension at University of Tennessee’s College of Agriculture to oversee home demonstration work throughout the state. This support expanded her canning clubs to include broader home management skills like cooking, sewing, cleaning, and finances. Although relatively unknown, this presentation will show how Virginia P. Moore not only educated and empowered many young women but also influenced the educational and agricultural landscape of Tennessee in the early 20th century.

The Immune-Paradox of Pregnancy: What Can We Learn from Sheep?

Andrea Lear, Assistant Professor; College of Veterinary Medicine, Large Animal Clinical Sciences – Farm Animal Field Services

Watch Andrea Lear’s presentation

drawing of sheep with drawing of baby insideThe placenta is essential for development of the fetus and maintenance of pregnancy. Cellular communications between maternal and fetal tissues are critical to create an environment acclimated for fetal survival. Successful pregnancy requires modulation of the maternal immune system by the placenta, allowing survival of the genetically dissimilar fetus. Thus, dysfunction of maternal-fetal communication can contribute to detrimental effects and mortality of the fetus. Animal models of pregnancy have been used to elucidate the mechanisms of fetal-maternal interactions during times of both health and disease. Pregnant sheep are a long established model of human pregnancy due to similarities of nutrient transfer and fetal development that parallels that which is observed in the human gestation. These similarities allow the use of sheep to answer fundamental questions about fetal-maternal interaction during pregnancy including exploration of important human diseases such as zika virus infection.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.