Faculty, staff and students from EEB gathered on May 18, 2023 to celebrate the end of the semester, recognize award-winners, and honor retirees. Check out this YouTube video to see all of the winners, along with some photos from the celebration.
EEB Graduate Student Maryrose Weatherton nominated for Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence Award
The Jimmy and Ileen Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The award is given to a student pursuing a PhD and has completed at least four semesters of study. Nominees are considered for their high academic potential and achievement, leadership and community involvement, commitment to and passion for the chosen field of study, personal sacrifice for their education and effort above and beyond the call of duty.
Maryrose Weatherton, a PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, was among the nominees honored last Thursday, April 27 in the Mary Greer room in Hodges Library. Maryrose was one of only four nominees from the College of Arts and Sciences. Maryrose works in Dr. Elizabeth Schussler’s lab, and her research interests include education research, student success, and resource use. The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology looks forward to celebrating Maryrose’s accomplishments at the Spring Semester celebration later this month.
The 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Awards banquet took place Thursday, December 5 at the Holiday Inn Downtown. From Diversity Leadership to awards in research, advising, and teaching, the annual awards banquet honors faculty excellence in all areas of the college mission.
Elizabeth Derryberry, Charlie Kwit, and Beth Schussler received awards for their work in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
“As we recognize particularly outstanding faculty this evening, I want to thank all of our faculty in the college, individually and collectively, for everything you do— your teaching, research, service on college and university committees, thesis committees, and tenure and promotion committees, and service to the public through community engagement,” said Theresa Lee, dean of the college and emcee for the awards ceremony. “A college can be no greater or stronger than its faculty and the College of Arts and Sciences is a college of excellence because each of you has a passion for our profession and you work selflessly to make our students, departments and university the best they can be.”
Elizabeth Derryberry, associate professor, received a Mid-Career Award for Research and Creative Achievement. Derryberry’s research focuses on passerine bird evolution and bird songs – important topics that are notoriously difficult to study. Her exciting project on the effects of human-mediated noise in urban environments on bird song demonstrate both changes in song parameters in response to noise and consequences for ecosystem fitness. Derryberry is the author of more than 50 highly cited papers and an associate editor for two prestigious journals: Evolution and Journal of Animal Behavior. Her work is top-notch, broad-thinking, impactful science at its best. She is an outstanding student mentor and passionate about her outreach to increase opportunities for girls and women in science.
Charlie Kwit, professor and joint faculty in EEB and the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries in the Herbert College of Agriculture, received the Academic Outreach Award for Teaching. His work to promote natural history knowledge in the Southeast exemplifies academic outreach in teaching. This year, he received a grant to increase HBCU representation to the Southeastern Chapter of the Ecological Society of America and support students engaged in the work of the Society. He also organized a session at the annual ESA meeting that spotlighted the biodiversity of the Southeast and the challenges we face in maintaining that rich biological heritage. Kwit also fosters UT students in outreach through clubs and courses. Students in his class experience the very best of what is intended as part of the new Experience Learning efforts. They see the utility of what they are learning, enriching their engagement with the material, while also helping to build relationships between UT and the community that strengthen the institution.
Beth Schussler, professor, received the James R. and Nell W. Cunningham Teaching Award, the college’s highest teaching honor. There are no specific requirements listed for the award, but there are some things that are typical of the winners. One, excellence in the classroom. Schussler is highly praised by students and peers for her work in some of the more demanding biology courses. Two, contributions to excellence in others. Schussler supervised the lecturers and GTAs in the general biology courses, and helped train the GTAs, which came from all three of the departments in the Division of Biology. Finally, contributions to teaching beyond their courses and department. Schussler has organized workshops on teaching for STEM departments, and continues to be involved with nation-wide efforts and grants helping to improve biology and STEM instruction.
Congratulations to our Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology faculty award winners.
Congratulations to EEB graduate student Miranda Chen. Miranda was selected as a recipient of the 2018–2019 Shipley-Swann Graduate Fellowship. By receiving this fellowship, Miranda is being recognized as one of the most promising graduate and professional students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The Graduate Student Senate Awards were held on April 4. Check out all the winners from EEB!
Graduate Research Mentor of the Year: Associate Professor Elisabeth Schussler
Excellence in Teaching: Justin Hendy (Small Lab)
Excellence in Research: Sara Lipshutz (Derryberry Lab)
Excellence in Service: Alannie Grant (Kalisz Lab)
Two members of EEB received awards at the Chancellor’s Honors Award Banquet on April 19, 2017: PhD candidate Cassie Dresser (Fitzpatrick Lab) & Associate Professor Beth Schussler
2017 Graduate Student Teaching Award
Unlike many PhD candidates who focus solely on research, Cassie Dresser has wanted to teach since arriving in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2013. In fact, she’s been teaching throughout her academic career. As an undergraduate at Hartwick College in New York, she was a tutor. As a master’s student at Central Michigan University, she was a teaching assistant. Before starting her PhD, she worked as an environmental educator at a state park in Michigan. Here, she’s been a lecture assistant, a teaching assistant, and now head TA. She excelled when given the rare opportunity to be the sole instructor of a 200-level course, and she is one of the first graduate students to complete UT’s Certificate in College Teaching program. Dresser has not only sought to improve her own teaching but also enhanced the teaching of other TAs in her department by researching and sharing best practices and by developing research-based scientific literacy coursework.
2017 Excellence in Teaching
Elizabeth Shussler, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, is described by her students as excited, enthusiastic, and committed to their success. “Beth must engage students at all levels, and she is wildly successful,” a colleague said. She finds ways to “really engage her students in learning how to do science, rather than just memorizing what science has already learned.” Schussler has been a pioneer in using active learning techniques—everything from clickers and Learning Catalytics to small-group discussions—to keep students engaged during large science lectures. She serves as director of teaching and learning for the Division of Biology and has been instrumental in improving biology courses at UT. She received the 2016 UT Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2012 College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.
Beth Schussler is co-PI on a $2,887,974 collaborative NSF S-STEM grant, which will provide scholarships and research opportunities for four cohorts of STEM-focused students from rural Appalachia to attend UT, Knoxville, or UT, Chattanooga. Beth will be working with PI Erin Hardin (Psychology), and co-PIs Melinda Gibbons, Marisa Moazen, and Denise Gardner, to provide students with research opportunities and cohort-building support programs to increase their success rate in STEM.
EEB’s GREBE (Graduate Researchers in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution) was featured in the Knoxville News-Herald newspaper for their recent outreach work teaching students at Greenback School. Sixth-grade students participated in hands-on tasks, including extracting DNA from bananas, watching termites follow different ink colors, and building miniature ecosystems.
Miranda Chen (Schussler Lab) and Dominique Hatton (Riechert Lab) are mentioned by name in the article.
GREBE is a graduate student organization in EEB at the UT that facilitates collaboration between graduate students and provides representation of graduate student interests to the department and college.