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The Office of Community Engagement and Outreach is pleased to host our 4th annual Engagement and Outreach Conference and 2nd annual Engagement and Outreach Week from October 18-22, 2021. This year’s theme is “Engagement Without Borders: Collaborative and Intentional Placemaking.”

Registration is free and open to all faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders. Through a variety of events, workshops, panel discussions and presentations, participants will learn about projects and initiatives that highlight our land-grant mission of teaching, research, and service. 

Click Here to Register            View Conference Schedule


Featured Speakers

OCEO is honored to host these guest speakers for our opening plenary and panel session on Wednesday, October 20.

Dr. Ashley Stokes
Dean of UT Extension

Rev. Renee Kesler
Beck Cultural Exchange Center

Dr. Latif Lighari
Tennessee State University

Dr. Javiette Samuel
UT Diversity & Engagement

E&O Week Events

Oct 18
9:00 AM
UT Leadership West Tennessee Visit
Oct 18
9:00 AM
Center for Global Engagement Global Gallery Viewing
Student Union Gallery
Oct 19
9:00 AM
UT Engineer’s Day for High School Students
Oct 20
8:30 AM
Engagement and Outreach Conference (view agenda)
Oct 21
9:00 AM
Lightning Talks: Diversity & Engagement Grantees
Oct 21
3:00 PM
Special Session: Social Impacts of Civil Rights and Public Safety
Student Union 270
Oct 22
9:00 AM
Nonprofit Day
Oct 22 
3:30 PM
UT One Health Initiative: Graduate Student Research Swap & Social
Student Union 260


Concurrent Sessions and Speakers

Zoom registration links for concurrent sessions are listed below. Please register for presentations individually.

Concurrent sessions present research and engagement surrounding civic and community engagement, regional engagement, international engagement, and scaling community engagement. 

Community and Civic Engagement 


Stefanie Benjamin
Assistant Professor, Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Management

Stefanie Benjamin’s research lies within the nexus of social equity and critical tourism scholarship exploring marginalized populations’ lived experiences and counter narratives. She is interested in producing and promoting social advocacy while amplifying underrepresented voices within the tourism landscape through practice, research, and education. Link to full bio 

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Misty Anderson 
Professor, English

Misty G. Anderson is Professor of English, the James R. Cox Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and holds courtesy appointments as an Adjunct Professor in both the Theatre and Religious Studies departments at the University of Tennessee. Link to full bio

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Joy Radice
Associate Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs

Joy Radice joined the UT College of Law faculty in August 2012, and became director of the UT Legal Clinic in 2019. Professor Radice’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of criminal law and the administrative state, and the gap in access to civil counsel. Link to full bio

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Katie Cahill 
Associate Director, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

Dr. Katie Cahill is the Associate Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Director of the Center’s Leadership and Governance Program, and holds a courtesy appointment as an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. She holds a PhD from Purdue University and her expertise is in health policy. Link to full bio

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Regional Engagement


Craig Pickett
UTIA Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Craig Pickett serves as the UTIA Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Through respect and advocacy for all individuals in each of our communities, we can model positive behavior to others. Whether those communities are Tennessee or global, composed of rural areas, towns, and cities; or are communities of our students, peers, professions, and the clients we serve, together we can show that all members matter. All are welcomed. All are served. Link to website

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Justin Crowe
Director / 4-H State Program Leader | Extension Administration

Justin Crowe began his 4-H career as a nine year member of the McNairy County 4-H program. During his time as a participant in the 4-H program, Crowe participated in a variety of projects, judging team competitions, and held leadership roles on the county, regional, and state level. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Crowe went to work for UT Extension, serving as a 4-H agent in Metro Nashville/Davidson County where he spent almost five years engaging urban youth in hands-on learning experiences.  Currently, Crowe serve as Director and State 4-H Program Leader for 4-H Youth Development with the University of Tennessee Extension. In addition to his work life, he and his wife Julie love to volunteer and travel. Link to full bio
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Thura Mack
Professor & Coordinator of Community Learning Services & Diversity Programs, UT Libraries

As Coordinator of Community Learning Services and Diversity Programs, Thura Mack leads the Libraries’ outreach to schools in Knoxville and the surrounding community. Link to full bio


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Laura Knight
Assistant Professor of Practice and Outreach & Engagement Coordinator

Laura Knight is an Assistant Professor of practice in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and an advocate for expanding the numbers of future industrial engineers through education and community outreach.  Collaborating across communities, industries, and academic disciplines is a vital part of her endeavors and success. Link to full bio

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Megan Venable 
Manager, UT Libraries

Megan Venable is a manager for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries. A Knoxville native, Megan earned her BS (broadcasting) from UTK in 1996. She returned to the university in 2005 as assistant to the director of development for the College of Communication and Information. During that time she began studying for her master’s degree in communication studies, which she received in 2007. Prior to her current appointment, she served as executive director of the Hearing and Speech Foundation in Maryville, Tenn., where she served in numerous administrative capacities including media relations. In her spare time, she enjoys writing monthly articles for VIP Knoxville magazine about social happenings in the area.

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Lynn Hodge
Department Head and Professor, Math Education; Director, Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences

Lynn Hodge is a professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Tennessee where she serves as the Director of the Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences (CEEMS), and the Director of STEM education programs. Link to full bio

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Nick Kim 
Postdoctoral Research Associate
CEEMS Research & Project Coordinator



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International Engagement 

Samara Akpovo
Associate Professor, Child and Family Studies

Samara Madrid Akpovo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her research has focused on the intercultural and emotional lives of adults and children in early childhood classrooms using collaborative ethnographic methods and discourse analysis. Link to full bio

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Lauren Wood
Interim Assistant Director, International House




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Rachel Rui
Director, Office of Asia Engagement
Director of Communications

Rachel Rui joined CGE in September 2019. As the communications director, her responsibilities include strategic planning and execution of communication strategies to build a global brand for UT and providing services to CGE units for their communication needs. Link to full bio

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Kumi Alderman
Executive Director, Asian Cultural Center

Kumi Alderman has been a real estate investor to make Knoxville community better place to live. She was involved in two automobile accidents. She had to concentrate on recovering her health for almost 2 years. Since then, she has discovered a passion to educate and share Asian culture through organizing the Asian Festival and other educational activities. She believes the festival inspires the public, especially younger generations, to learn about and appreciate the richness of traditional Asian arts and culture.

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Sara Easler

Director, International Programs & Study Abroad,  Haslam College of Business

Sara Easler, PhD is the Director of International Programs & Study Abroad (IPSA) for the Haslam College of Business, responsible for the development of international strategy, relationships and identifying international education opportunities for students. She manages the IPSA unit as part of the Center for Student Engagement & Success, serving as a resource for students, faculty and staff.  Link to full bio

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David Gras 

Assistant Professor, Management & Entreprenuership

David Gras holds a PhD in Entrepreneurship from Syracuse University, an MS in Marketing from Clemson University, and a BA in Management from Texas A&M University. His research focuses on the antecedents of business performance and competitive advantage. Link to full bio

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Scaling Community Engagement 

Aaron Dixon 
Program Director, UT Success Academy

Aaron is the inaugural program director for the UT Success Academy and will lead the initiative designed to increase retention, persistence, and graduation rates of underrepresented students, particularly Men of Color. Link to full bio


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Frances Harper 
Assistant Professor of STEM Education

Frances K. Harper is an assistant professor of STEM (Mathematics) education at the University of Tennessee. Her research and scholarly program focuses on under-recognized dimensions of equity in mathematics education, namely identity and power, in mathematics teaching and learning.Link to full bio

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Stacia West 
Assistant Professor of STEM Education

Stacia West is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee’s College of Social Work and the co-Founder and Director of the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Link to full bio


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Kimberly Hill 
UG Leadership Studies Instructor, Project Excellence Lead Instructor

Kimberly R. Hill, a ’96 graduate of Knoxville College and a triple U.T. Volunteer (M.Ed ’01, Ed.S ’10 and PhD Candidate ’21) is a native of Knoxville and has her EdS in Educational Administration. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration and an instructor the Leadership Minor Programs at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. Link to full bio

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Track A: Civic and Community Engagement

Voter Restoration Project

(special 1-hour session)

Track B: Regional Engagement

Track C: International Engagement

Track D: Scaling Community Engagement

Questions? Email