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Our Team

TLI Staff

Chris Lavan Chris Lavan
Executive Director of Teaching & Learning

  • Serves as the lead administrator for Teaching & Learning Innovation
  • Cultivates and maintains campus partnerships to further faculty development initiatives and therefore enhance student learning opportunities at UTK
  • Responsible for leading the development and implementation of strategic direction for TLI, in alignment with the Chancellor’s, Provost’s, and Vice Provost for Faculty Affair’s priorities for faculty development at UTK
  • Leads all aspects of the university’s current QEP, Experience Learning
  • Serves as an ex-officio member of the university’s Undergraduate Council, undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the S, R, and N subcommittees that review and recommend courses to carry the campus’s experiential learning designations, and all TLI Advisory Boards

Ferlin McGaskey
Director of Faculty Development

  • Provides guidance to TLI’s Faculty Consultant for Inclusive Teaching and additional direction for TLI’s inclusive teaching interventions
  • Oversees TLI’s “Developing Future Faculty” program (Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow teaching support)
  • Maintains expertise in best practices for effective course design and pedagogy in the field of faculty development
  • Leads and supports TLI’s work in large classroom teaching strategies and programming for instructors
  • Provides guidance and support to instructors related to active, engaged, and evidence-based teaching strategies

Virginia Stormer
Assistant Director for Experiential Learning

  • Leads and provides day to day management of TLI’s experiential learning and service-learning initiatives
  • Leads and convenes TLI’s High Impact Practices Advisory Group
  • Serves as chair of the university’s S designation subcommittee, as well as manages the review, initial approval and recommendation of courses submitted to carry the S designation to the university’s Curriculum Committee, and the review of previous courses that already carry the designation
  • Provides strategic management of TLI’s Teaching Support Awards program, which is intended to support UTK instructional faculty related to participating in professional development experiences in the areas of teaching and learning
  • Provides guidance and support to instructors, and other campus partners, related to managing risks often associated with experiential learning, service-learning, and other off-campus learning opportunities

Yujie Huang
Faculty Consultant for Inclusive Teaching

  • Develop, implement, and facilitate all of TLI’s Inclusive Teaching programming and intervention strategies for UTK faculty, such as TLI’s Diversi-Tea program, and the forthcoming Inclusive Teaching certificate program
  • Represent TLI on all diversity and inclusion related committees, university groups, and advisory boards
  • Provide consultation support related to best practices for building inclusive teaching and learning environments for UTK faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars
  • Lead and convene TLI’s Inclusive Task Force to advance inclusive teaching efforts at our university
  • Collaborate with other campus units on professional development activities and opportunities regarding inclusive teaching

This is a picture of John Walker, QEP assessment coordinator John Walker
TLI Research & Assessment Coordinator

  • Serves as TLI’s assessment expert in all areas related to course-based assessment
  • Manages the completion of the Assessment Plan for the university’s QEP, Experience Learning, including annual data collection from the administrative units and centers that lead and offer 1 or more of the 12 types of experiential learning recognized at UTK
  • Leads and convenes the Experience Learning College Baseline Data group, with the purpose of collecting and maintaining up to date and accurate information pertaining to the implementation and use of experiential learning within the university’s 9 undergraduate serving colleges
  • Maintains expertise and can provides guidance to instructors in the areas of exam design and development, experiential learning assessment, rubric design and development, and survey design and analysis
  • Represents TLI on the university’s Assessment Steering Committee, which provides strategic direction for university accreditation needs pertaining to assessment for the university

Headshot of Chris Kilgore Chris Kilgore
Special Programs Coordinator

  • Leads TLI’s new Scholarship of Teaching & Learning initiative, and provides additional support to instructors on teaching-related writing projects
  • Has expertise in writing instruction, writing across the curriculum, and writing in the disciplines, and can provide individual and group support
  • Has expertise and can provide support on effective faculty-to-faculty mentoring relationships and networks, as well as faculty-to-student mentoring needs and responsibilities
  • Maintains expertise and can provide guidance related to faculty worklife support, adjunct faculty resources, and launching and developing faculty research agendas in specific academic fields
  • Serves as TLI’s representative related to the campus invisible labor project and Diversity Action Plans, with the UT Division of Diversity & Engagement
  • Leads and supports TLI’s response to in-person teaching during COVID-19, as well as best practices for teaching in physically distanced classrooms

Robert Jacobsen headshot Robert Jacobsen
Post-Doctoral Scholar for Developing Future Faculty

  • Co-leads advisory board and faculty support network for the Developing Future Faculty initiative
  • Teaches the seminar Facilitating Undergraduate Evidence-based Learning (FUEL) for graduate students and postdocs.
  • Co-leads advisory board and faculty support network for the Developing Future Faculty initiative
  • Expertise in evidence-based practices applied to STEM labs
  • Provides GTA training in best practices for departments
  • Available for consultations with GTA’s and postdocs

Photo of Wes Romeiser Wes Romeiser
Administrative Specialist
(865) 974-3807

  • Provides administrative support to TLI by scheduling meetings, organizing internal record keeping, managing internal unit practices, and calendar management for all TLI staff members,
  • Provides direct support to unit directors, and other members of TLI, regarding the management of records, communication, and distribution of TLI award funding. Examples of support include TLI’s Teaching Support Awards program and the First Year Course Academy.
  • Supports the unit with initial monthly ledger review, internal expense reconciliations, and entering information into IRIS
  • Provides administrative support for departmental searches
  • Coordinates reservations for TLI workshops and advisory board meetings with campus event services, as well as serves as a point of contact regarding logistical needs for general TLI programming
  • Provides additional research support to unit directors, and other members of TLI, related to TLI workshops and meetings, as well as developing innovative strategies and interventions for future faculty development opportunities

Melissa Hinten
CIRTL Institutional Leader

  • Serves as Sustainability Program Director for the campus, and a lecturer in the Department of Geography
  • Co-leads and convenes TLI’s CIRTL Advisory Board and provides strategic planning and implementation support regarding board recommendations that support GTAs and post-docs on our campus
  • Develops programming with TLI’s Postdoctoral Scholar that is intended to equip and support university GTAs and post-docs related to the responsibility of teaching
  • Co-create and co-presents a course, workshop, or event to offer as UT’s in-kind contribution for CIRTL Central as required by the university’s membership in the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning.
  • Serves as TLI’s representative at all formal CIRTL meetings and planned events

TLI Graduate Research Associates

Amber Giffin, M.S. 
Doctoral Candidate in Educational Psychology & Counseling
TLI Graduate Research Associate | Faculty Development

Josie Andrews, M.S.
Doctoral Candidate in Educational Psychology & Counseling
TLI Graduate Research Associate | Faculty Development

Karen Richters
Masters Candidate in Communication & Information | Journalism Concentration
TLI Graduate Research Associate | Communications & Marketing