The Communities of Scholars (CoS) Program was launched by the Office of Research and Engagement as a way to encourage the growth of research affinity groups that cross disciplinary boundaries. Each CoS is composed of UT researchers from multiple departments, colleges, and/or units, united by a shared research theme or topic area, and organized to share research capabilities, assess collective research strengths, and explore opportunities for collaboration. Objectives of CoSs may include identifying funding opportunities relevant to the CoS and to move toward designation as an Organized Research Unit (ORU).
Current UT Communities of Scholars
UT’s Appalachian Community of Scholars will coordinate and conduct research and engagement throughout the Appalachian region to better understand its resources, people, culture, opportunities, and challenges and to help promote its equitable and sustainable development.
Faculty Contact: Tim Ezzell
The purpose of the CoS for Biomembranes is to bring together scientists from across multiple disciplines to address the challenges that exist in understanding: 1) how biological membranes are formed and maintained; 2) how membranes impact essential cellular processes such as signaling, secretion, energy production, and drug delivery; and 3) how membrane dynamics can impact cellular behaviors relating to infection, cancer, and growth. The disciplines represented in our group include microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, synthetic chemistry, analytical chemistry, computational modeling, and engineering, with interests focused on proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates associated with membranes. Our goal is to bring together these disciplines to help tackle 21st century challenges in understanding biomembranes as well as provide better opportunities for training the next generation of scientists in multidisciplinary approaches to science.
Faculty Contact: Todd Reynolds
The mission of the brain-computer interface (BCI) community of scholars (CoS) is to gather scholars and researchers from across the Knoxville-area campus to create an interdisciplinary community to pursue novel research related to BCI. We aim to advance patient care and applications to neuroprosthetics and neurorehabilitation through basic and translational BCI research for the betterment of society. We will develop collaborative, well-funded research teams yielding research that is nationally and ideally internationally recognized for its success through interdisciplinary insights.
Faculty Contact: Xiaopeng Zhao
The mission of the Cancer Community of Scholars is to enhance cancer prevention, early detection, and survival by cultivating and facilitating multidisciplinary partnerships in research, education, mentorship, and community outreach at the Medical Center, Institute of Agriculture, and the main campus of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.
Faculty Contact: Steven Ripp
The Critical Race Collective Community of Scholars brings together faculty across the campus who are committed to critical race and ethnic studies research and scholarship. Critical race scholarship encompasses research that seeks to reduce and ameliorate racism, prejudice, and discrimination at multiple levels (individual, institutional, structural) and in a variety of sociocultural settings. As a Critical Race Collective (CRC), our goal is to conduct collaborative interdisciplinary critical race scholarship and create a supportive community of scholars to enable this important and meaningful work.
This CoS serves to inspire interdisciplinary collaboration, spark cross-campus creativity, build a community of practice, and raise the profile of digital scholarship support services on campus. Collaboration, networking, hands-on training, and cross-pollination among faculty, librarians, artists, technologists, and alternative academics are among the core work of this group, which seeks to advance arts, humanities, and social science research into new digital realms.
This CoS tackles complex issues of social justice by studying the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality and other dimensions of social inequality. It seeks to establish the University of Tennessee as a nationally regarded center for scholarship and creative activity on this critically important area of social, political, and cultural research.
Simulations + Gaming + Role-Playing (SGR) brings together members of the UT community who share an interest in researching the use of simulations, gaming, role-playing, and similar strategies for teaching and learning. Such strategies are among the latest developments in higher education, and have been shown to create interactivity and collaboration, increase engagement and retention, deepen reflection and understanding, engender positive values and thoughtful behavior, and open authentic spaces for real-world problem-solving.
Faculty Contact: Ryan Windeknecht
The mission of the Substance Abuse Community of Scholars is to lead efforts to mitigate the consequences of the opioid crisis and substance abuse issues in Tennessee through collaboration with faculty from multiple disciplines across the UT Knoxville campus, the UT System, and within our Tennessee communities. The goal of this Community of Scholars is to utilize the various experts and resources available at UT to conduct research and foster faculty and community engagement to rebuild the areas of our state that have been disproportionally affected by the recent increase in substance abuse related problems.
Faculty Contact: Jennifer Tourville
For more information on the Community of Scholars program, contact Diana Moyer at email@example.com.