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2015-2016 Community Engagement Incentive Grant Winners

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville provides special project funding for proposals that specifically enhance the engagement mission of the university. UT Community Engagement Incentive Grants are allocated through a competitive annual process, subject to both academic and community peer review. Learn more here.

The following projects are currently in progress – we will publish results in January 2017!

Marleen Kay Davis


Marleen Kay Davis, ACSA Distinguished Professor for the School of Architecture

Proposal title: Priorities for Downtown Knoxville: Exploring Recommendations for the Urban Land Institute, 2015

Abstract: In 2014, the City of Knoxville engaged the Urban Land Institute as a consultant to make recommendations regarding five downtown sites, related to a process of input from significant stakeholders. The ULI submitted their final report in February 2015 to the City of Knoxville. Building on these recommendations, and in consultation with the City of Knoxville, I plan to conduct a research design studio course in the Fall of 2015, which could be leveraged to assist the City in building consensus for community decisions. Funding is necessary to include public outreach during the course and to extend course research beyond the classroom, with public events, exhibits, and a permanent publication. Students will gain insight into the public process related to urban design decisions.


Gale Fulton

Gale Fulton, Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Landscape Architecture

Proposal Title: Lonsdale Elementary Performative Landscapes

Abstract: This project will focus an ongoing collaboration between the University of Tennessee Landscape Architecture Program, the Great Schools Partnership, and several Knox County Community Schools. In this case we will be formally working with Lonsdale Elementary Community School where we have an ongoing project with them to establish some productive vegetable gardens and other performative landscapes on their site. Funds from the Outreach Incentive Grant program will be used for supplies and coordination of on-site construction of new gardens.



Hillary Herndon


Hillary Herndon, Associate Professor of Viola, String Area Coordinator in the School of Music

Proposal title: String Music Education in Moshi, Tanzania

Abstract: With regular cuts to Arts funding, today’s music students must learn to be advocates for their field. This program will allow UT students to realize the value of music education, even to those struggling with the most basic needs. Tanzania has been declared a “Least Developed Country” by the United Nation’s, with 68 percent of people living on less than $1.25 a day. This proposal is to fund UT student teachers this summer as they teach daily music lessons to Tanzanian school children, preparing our students to be leaders in the musical field while empowering the youth of an impoverished community.

Gary McCracken

Gary McCracken, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Proposal Title: Fostering Children’s Conservation Ethic Through A Bat-Centered Conservation

Abstract: We are constructing a community bat house that will provide a focal point for education and implementation of our conservation education curricula, as well as providing the opportunity for children and other community members to experience bats in the wild. The bat house we envision will be large, measuring 10 ft. by 10 ft., and accommodate many thousands of bats. The house will be located on an approved location at the UT Gardens, adjacent to the Tennessee River. With these Funds, we will erect the superstructure of the bat house and matching funds will be obtained to complete the construction.


Andrew Steen

Andrew Steen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Proposal Title: Root Mark Analysis Utilizing Citizen Science

Abstract: Citizen scientists represent an underutilized resource for crowd sourcing research. Previous attempts to incorporate citizen scientists into research on postmortem alterations to bone are rare, but yield promising results. This project will explore modifications to bone caused by plants, a commonly identified trace, but one that is also poorly understood. Datasets will be collected by the PIs and area middle school students for statistical comparisons. The results will serve as a method of engaging students in the scientific process, an exploration for the utility of citizen science in similar research, and a proof of concept for forthcoming National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) proposals.

To read more about previous Community Engagement Incentive Grant Winners and their projects, click here.