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