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Community Engagement Academy

The Community Engagement Academy (CEA) is an interdisciplinary professional development program designed for new UTK faculty (0-3 years), postdocs, and graduate students who want to learn the foundations of community engagement and engaged scholarship and apply knowledge to research and practice. CEA provides background literature, facilitated discussion, mentoring, and presentations designed to increase their knowledge and enhance their practice of community engaged scholarship throughout Knoxville and East Tennessee by creating new partnerships and/or building upon existing ones.

Emerging engagement scholars will participate in seminars, with optional opportunities for engagement available through the Office of Community Engagement and Outreach (OCEO) initiatives. OCEO is committed to the principles of equity, shared governance, reciprocity, and mutual decision-making. Seminars are co-led by UTK faculty, staff, community partners, and national experts.


Congratulations to our 2021 Cohort! 

Janine Al-Aseer

Clinical Assistant Professor, Theory & Practice in Teacher Education

Director, University Assisted Community Schools

My research centers community voices around equitable access to high-quality education and providing holistic services to children and their families.

Temitayo Abayomi

PhD Student, Nutrition

My research explores the behavioural aspects of infant and young child nutrition and the development of interventions to positively modify those behaviours across the socio-ecological gradient, especially amongst vulnerable populations.

Jalen Blue

PhD Student, School of Communication Studies

My research interests include organizational communication, leadership, and DEI within the context of higher education.

DeLisa Hawkes

Assistant Professor, Africana Studies and English

I study literary depictions of the relationships between Black and Indigenous peoples in nineteenth- to twenty-first-century African American literature.

Morgan Fleming

PhD Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I aspire to leverage my research examining the impacts of climate change on salamanders to inspire students’ connection with the ecology of Appalachia and initiate conversations about practical conservation strategies for rural communities.

Joy Jenkins

Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Electronic Media

My research explores changing roles, routines, and practices in newsrooms with a particular focus on local media.

Miranda Rutan

PhD Student, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences

My research centers critical care and communities of care within formal and informal learning settings through a critical feminist lens.

Kelly Sauskojus

PhD Student, English

I’m a graduate student in the rhetoric, writing & linguistics division of the English department. I’m interested in how place, race & religion affect the writing that takes place at some of the community gardens I work at in East Knoxville.

Jennifer Smith

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

My research interest is investigating the cardiovascular disease risk factors in informal community caregivers caring for ill relatives.

Mary Terry

PhD Student, Theory & Practice in Teacher Education

I am researching the functions of racial identity and belonging in educational contexts.


Jillian Walton

PhD Student, Microbiology

My community engagement interests revolve around creating a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable community within the Knoxville area.


Kristen Wyckoff

Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

My current outreach efforts focus on assisting and providing training to small water and wastewater utilities in Appalachian areas of Tennessee. I am also actively participating in efforts in LGBTQIA topics.


Corey Day Entomology & Plant Pathology
Kimberly Mitchell Architecture
Jeremy Kanter Child and Family Studies
Rebekah Hermann Industrial Engineering
Jessica Jones Haslam College of Business
Kertesha Riley Counselor Education
LaTrice Wright Psychology
Kristen Ravi College of Social Work
Kiley Compton Educational Pyschology &  Counseling
Joseph Winberry Communication and Information Sciences
Paula Lazarim Counselor Education
Micheala DiPillo Psychology

2021 Schedule

Session 1
Tuesday, September 21 | 5 PM – 7 PM
Session 2
Tuesday, September 28 | 5 PM – 7 PM
Session 3
Tuesday, October 5 | 5 PM – 7 PM
Session 4
Tuesday, October 12 | 5 PM – 7 PM
Session 5
Tuesday, October 19 | 5 PM – 7 PM
Session 6
Tuesday, October 26 | 5 PM – 7 PM

*Schedule is tentative and subject to change.