The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Lupton Renaissance Fund Update

Lupton Renaissance Fund Provides State of the Art Classroom Technology

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is on the fast track to implementing state-of-the-art multimedia technology podiums, a classroom transformation made possible by an award from the Lupton Renaissance Fund, the largest unrestricted cash gift to public higher education in Tennessee history. The fund was established in September 2001 with an initial gift of $25 million to the University from Chattanooga philanthropist John T. Lupton and his wife, Alice. The purpose of this initiative is to enhance the teaching and learning opportunities across the campus.

Dr. Michelle Vineyard, Human Ecology, began using the equipment in May to show videos, Power Point presentations, and to go online for web sites associated with the subject area.

“I didn't have to worry about scheduling the equipment ahead of time and wondering if it would work. It eliminated a lot of wires and connections. It reduced classroom set up time for the PowerPoint presentations and the need to track down a laptop computer,” Vineyard said. “We took a virtual tour of a museum in France--the Agropolis Museum had a comparison of food intake in different countries. The students each had to do a group presentation and several of them did PowerPoint and brought music associated with the culture they presented to use for background.”

As a result, Vineyard says her students have given her a lot of positive feedback on the materials she was able to present.

“Many of the students will be using equipment such as this on the job and it gives them a hands-on opportunity,” Vineyard said.

"To date, 37 of the 75 designated Lupton podium installations have been completed," said Tekelia Kelley, IT Lupton Project Manager. Four skilled podium technicians: James Spruill, Shannon "Skip" Prather, Tony Boydston, and Erick Baird, will complete the installations over three years.

With the input of Dr. Karen Adsit, Director of the Walker Teaching Resource Center; Monty Wilson, Assistant Vice Chancellor of IT Division, and Rodger Ling, Director of Technology Support Services of IT Division, the UTC podium has been customized to suit the classroom, lab, and conference room needs of the University.

“With permanent installations, faculty will be more inclined to use visual imagery and electronic resources as a regular part of their teaching, which can help all students to learn content in a variety of ways,“ Adsit said.

According to Kelley, the UTC podium was modeled after a podium at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Mike Berger, Chief Engineer of UTK's Information Technologies Engineering Services, designs and develops the podium. Berger was brought on board at UTC to make the concept of the technology-integrated podium a reality.

"We have managed to reduce the cost significantly by internalizing our operations, using local small business vendors and leveraging the multimedia knowledge and technical expertise of our existing employees,” Kelly said.

A standard podium room installation includes a ceiling mounted LCD projector, switcher, VHS VCR, amplifier, speakers/audio system, wall mounted screen, computer connected to the network with zip, CD, floppy drives, and a document camera. External mounts are available for laptop computers and other external devices.

The podium team will also equip the University’s new Engineering, Math, and Computer Science (EMCS) building. This project includes a high-tech room; two major auditoriums, studio rooms, and 23 classrooms and labs that will have either stationary or moveable podiums. The new Engineering, Math, and Computer Science building is scheduled to open August 15 of this year.

For more information, please email or call (423) 425-4468.