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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Twice a year, the Office of the Provost will host Mic/Nite, a “Pecha-Kucha Powered” social gathering in order to enhance the intellectual, interdisciplinary, and cultural life of the faculty and staff at UT Knoxville.

One of the challenges of a large university is working across the silos that often separate disciplines. Mic/Nite offers an opportunity to build bridges and foster a deeper appreciation of the many facets of a large, comprehensive university. Presentations will offer a cross section of the intellectual life of the campus and provide an opportunity for social interaction among faculty members who may not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.

Parking will be available behind Relix on Anderson
Avenue  and on surrounding streets. RSVP

Free pizza and cash bar; please RSVP.​​​​​​​​

Joan Heminway
Mic/Nite Coordinator Email: Phone: 865-974-3813
Next Event: March 13, 2019
Social Hour: 5:30
Presentations: 6:30
Relix Variety Theatre
1208 N. Central St
Knoxville , TN 39717

 What is Pecha-Kucha?

Pecha-Kucha is a simple lecture format where presenters show and discuss twenty images for twenty seconds each. In this presentation format the images automatically forward while the presenter talks. To learn more, visit the Pecha-Kucha FAQ. Samples are posted on the Pecha-Kucha Presentations page.

The concept began in Tokyo, Japan, in 2003 and has spread to more than 400 cities around the world. The format allows presenters to show images and talk about everything from urban design or economic theory to a series of photographs. Mic/Nite is being held in cooperation with PechaKucha Night Knoxville, which was started in 2011 to encourage intellectual and cultural dialogue. Mic/Nites are special interdisciplinary events designed to foster dialogue between university faculty and staff.

Explore Pecha Kucha events from around the world: PechaKucha 20x20 - Official Site | PechaKucha 20x20 - Knoxville | PechaKucha 20x20 - FAQ

Fall 2018 Presentation Topics

Drawing of person singing
Music Analysis and Mental Health: A Closer Look at Popular MusicNathan Fleshner,  Assistant ProfessorCollege of Arts & Sciences  -  Music Theory

My research focuses on the analysis of music that depicts mental illness and trauma. I also explore connections between the music analytic process and the psychoanalytic and therapeutic processes. With the rising importance of mental health in our society, exploration of these topics has become increasingly critical. My presentation for Mic/Nite addresses popular music’s portrayal of the psychologically dark, particularly within the psyche of the individual, such as personal tragedy, direct portrayals and descriptions of mental illness and psychological trauma, suicidal thoughts, and songs that appear happy but reveal a dark understructure, hidden beneath the surface. Music covered includes the Dave Matthews Band, Linkin Park and Mike Shinoda, Kendrick Lamar, Logic, Eminem, The Civil Wars, and Tori Amos. These and other examples provide a musical picture of both dark psychological manifestations as well as the therapeutic process on the other side of trauma.​

Cat with chart of particle physics
Life and Death of a Free NeutronNadia Fomin,  Assistant ProfessorCollege of Arts & Sciences  -  Physics and Astronomy
Physicists have been working on a “grand unified” theory of everything we see in the universe for a long time.  The closest we have come is the Standard Model of Particle Physics that unifies everything but gravity.  So, we know it’s incomplete.  However, experimental results from the last few decades show that the Standard Model is also not entirely correct, giving rise to a set of experiments that search for “Beyond the Standard Model” physics.  Neutrons, which are a fundamental building block of matter, offer one such path.  While neutrons make up about half of all matter, once they’re free, they’re unstable and decay into other particles.   By studying this process, we can learn about the early universe minutes after the Big Bang as well as look for new physics Beyond the Standard Model.​
Illustration of person removing mask
What’s Real, What’s Fake? Unmasking Your True Potential as an Educator with Authentic LeadershipJames Arthur Williams,  Assistant ProfessorCollege of Education, Health & Human Sciences  -  Retail, Hospitality, & Tourism Management

Honesty is an essential characteristic of effective leaders, and many effectual leaders embody an authentic leadership modality.  An authentic leadership employs honesty as the foundation needed to build legitimacy between leaders and followers. Professors are leaders within their classrooms and throughout academic settings, and students are relegated to the role of followers. However, this current model tends to stymie growth by producing a superior-inferior relationship, and this proverbial learning environment suppresses the voices of students. The conundrum is that this fabricates a fake learning (e.g., does not promote lifelong learning) environment where the superior (educator) serves as the preceptor, with superior knowledge to the inferior (student). A real learning environment levels the playing field between instructor and pupil, inspiring a collective voice and an environment with mutual respect. Authentic leadership provides educators with a chance to build trust and to teach students to share their authentic voice by normalizing failure. Authentic leadership would teach individuals to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, to embrace failure, and to embrace conflict, to create a real learning environment rather than a transactional one (e.g., student receives degree in hopes of earning a high salary). Authentic leaders can mitigate classroom conflicts by implementing honesty, and my LRM (love, relate, and memorable) concept concocted from authentic leadership. This talk will edify educators to walk in their real version and to unmask their true potential in any learning milieu. ​ 

Signature of President Barack Obama
What Is the Affordable Care Act?Zack Buck,  Associate ProfessorCollege of Law

In 2018, just what, exactly, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)?  How is it working?  Is it working?


The ACA, the most important piece of health care legislation since the mid-1960s, has brought about positive change in millions of Americans’ lives.  But it has faced persistent political, popular, and policy-based challenges and an uninterrupted barrage of legal, administrative, and regulatory attacks that have exposed its weaknesses.  The ACA has become the posterchild of the intractable problems it presumably sought to solve, melting into a confusing hybrid of market-based solutions and state regulation, leaving conflicted health law and policy scaffolding in its wake. 


Now, in an effort to imagine the next field of debate in health care reform, this brief presentation takes stock of the ACA’s successes, failures, and unintended consequences.  Its experience is replete with lessons for future efforts.

collage photo of tired nurses with text I am tired
Fatigue in Nurses, and the Role of Sickness AbsenceKnar Sagherian,  Assistant ProfessorCollege of Nursing

Sickness absences are problematic and costly in healthcare that require 24/7 service coverage. For example, one nurse’s absence cascades into more work days, longer shifts, and elevated fatigued states for those that remain on hospital units. Nurse fatigue is common and a safety-concern to nursing practice, yet poorly managed by hospital administration. With strong evidence between fatigue and future absences in the European working population, my research aims to better understand this relationship in the nursing workforce. While we heavily rely on fatigue self-reports for information, also my aim is to incorporate practical objective fatigue measures and fatigue software programs as safeguards in day-to-day operations at work. These methods have proved to be effective in safety-critical industries. The aftermath from these studies is to develop a proactive sickness absence management program that targets fatigue among others (e.g., workload, sleep disturbances) through workplace countermeasures such as naps and working time arrangements. ​

Aging brick building and broken computer
Symbolic Gentrification and Learning from Pop CultureTyler Sonnichsen,  LecturerCollege of Arts & Sciences  -  Geography

Gentrification has been a concern of sociologists, geographers, and urban dwellers at large since the sociologist Ruth Glass coined the term to describe changes in 1960s London. Critical geographers have long assumed much of that mantel, particularly Neil Smith, whose "The New Urban Frontier" remains a cornerstone. However, understanding gentrification solely a process of city development leaves out much of the story.


My research argues that gentrification is not simply a process of what Smith calls "revanchist urbanism," but is, at its core, a greater dynamic that weaves geography together with multiple other fields within the humanities. Specifically, my experience teaching American Popular Culture has inspired me to approach what I call “symbolic gentrification,” a critical understanding of the relationship between urban space, capital, and the arts.

Chart of Treasury Yields
Treasury Yields and GDP GrowthMark Taranto,  Clinical ProfessorHaslam College of Business  -  Finance

Can we predict GDP growth by looking at the Treasury Bond Market?  Theory by Mark Rubinstein and Doug Breeden predicts that we can.  Campbell Harvey tested their theory.  He looked at the bond markets in several countries going back to the 1700s, and found that it has predictive power in determining economic growth.  One measure that he looked at was the yield of three Five Year Treasury Note vs the yield of Three Month Treasury.  In his sample, it had perfect predictive powers for recessions.  That is, when the difference, or spread, is negative, a recession follows in three to five quarters.  The relationship went the other way, as well.  For every recession during this time, the spread had gone negative first. This relationship has continued since the publication of his work.​

logo for Bridge app
Strengthening Recovery: A Mobile App for Burn PatientsTeri Abrams,  Assistant ProfessorCollege of Social Work

Discharge planning from regional burn centers are often complicated by shortened length of stay, limited time for patients and caregivers to absorb information regarding patient after-care, and lack of available, competent community resources.  The Bridge Mobile App for Burn Patients was designed to address the unique recovery needs of patients with burn injuries who are being discharged from a burn center to home.  App content was developed using three stakeholder focus groups to explore bio-psycho-social education, cognitive-behavioral messages, and information that could improve patient outcomes. The app will provide users with a password-protected, HIPPA compliant platform with accessible support 24 hours a day, seven days a week through original, recovery-stage appropriate content that is delivered directly to patients' smart phones for the first 90 days following discharge. Goals for the Bridge are to decrease unplanned hospital re-admissions, and increase quality of life and resilience in burn recovery.

Stressed person with pressure gauge on face
Impact of System Design on Workforce HealthRupy Sawhney,  Heath Fellow in Business and EngineeringTickle College of Engineering  -  Industrial & Systems Engineering

Today’s workforce is hampered by a sweeping level of substance dependencies. “Stress” is one of several variables which leads to dependency, and “work-related stress” is the number one causative agent for stress. Studies show that work-related stress is caused by the design of organizational systems, which value 100% utilization of machines and humans over all else. This results in a disengaged and stressed workforce. Our approach bucks the trend by emphasizing lower worker stress levels as an essential factor in system design. The approach is being simultaneously validated on site with our federal and industry collaborators.  

Zombie with text persistent digital ephemera
Dead, Dormant, Zoetic: Modeling the Blog LifecycleCarolyn Hank,  Assistant ProfessorCollege of Communication and Information  -  School of Information Sciences

For print ephemera, the ability to discard an unwanted photograph or tear out regrettable journal entries is easily achieved. Not so for digital equivalents distributed via social media. Producers may not even be aware of the extent or persistence of their respective digital ephemera. The blog is a salient form from which to examine the lifecycle of social media as a stalwart of the social media landscape, pre-dating other contemporary, albeit more popular, social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This presentation draws from quantitative analysis of about 1500 blogs over a five-year period, providing insight into the extent and characteristics of those blogs that are continuously and actively published (zoetic); those that are still publicly available but no longer actively published (dormant); and those no longer available (dead). Represented as well are the “undead,” blogs that rise again after several years of inactivity. 

View more Fall 2018 presentation topics