McKee Chair of Excellence in Learning

History of Chair

The O.D. McKee Chair of Excellence in Learning was established in 1998 in honor of the late O.D. McKee, founder of McKee Foods Corporation, makers of Little Debbie snack cakes. The chair of excellence was originally funded by an endowment from the McKee Foods Corporation and a matching grant from the State of Tennessee for the purpose of providing leadership and direction in research, teaching, and outreach programs for the study of dyslexia and related exceptional-learning conditions.


Current Chair Holder

In 2001, Dr. James A. Tucker became the first professor to fill the position, and he continues to do so. Dr. Tucker is a member of the faculty in the College of Health, Education, and Professional studies, and he teaches specifically in the School-Psychology Program. Prior to arriving at UTC, Dr. Tucker was Professor of Educational Psychology at Andrews University. He formerly served as Director of the Bureau of Special Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Director of Federal Programs for the Department of Special Education, Texas Education Agency, and perhaps most importantly, was a high-school and elementary-school teacher in Florida.

Dr. Tucker is one of the leading authorities in North America on the subject of integrated educational program-development for at-risk students, including students with disabilities. He has served as a consultant and trainer in hundreds of school systems, both public and private, in more than 40 states and provinces in North America, as well as in school systems in Brazil, Canada, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, the Philippines, and the West Indies.


 18th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Talent Development in Chattanooga PDF

17th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Chattanooga at the Crossroads PDF

16th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Equity in Schools PDF

15th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Inclusion PDF

14th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Chattanooga's Engagement in Eldercare PDF

13th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Latino Post-secondary Training & Workforce Development PDF

12th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Pre-school Outdoor Education PDF

11th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Core Knowledge PDF

10th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Chattanooga Values PDF

9th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Chattanooga 2.0 PDF

8th McKee Learning Lunch Video - School Start-Time PDF

7th McKee Learning Lunch Video - Post-traumatic Stress Disorder PDF

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Response to Intervention (RTI)

How Global is Local?

Chattanooga Values I

The Influence of Student-Organization Participation on African-American Male College Retention

Dsylexia: Disability or Blessing?


Current Initiatives

Below is a set of current initiatives plus descriptions and resources possible through the McKee Chair of Excellence.

In order to explore the elements of engagement that enhance and develop the capacity of our community, the office of the McKee Chair of Excellence in Learning has launched a series of “Learning Lunches.”  The lunches exemplify what we have come to call “learning encounters,” and they incorporate interactive learning processes.  

Learning-lunch participants represent a wide range of civic connections, age groups, and interests.  Reflection on the interaction is woven throughout the experience. Each lunch is developed around a theme.  Themes vary with each lunch, giving participants a number of ways in which to engage with each other and to reflect on their experiences.  We see this interactive learning activity and exchange of ideas to be an integral part of developing a strong and prospering community, and we intend to model a community-learning style that will both inform and inspire.

Each session begins with participants writing down a question related to the theme.  At the end of the session, they respond to these two final questions:

  1. What is the most important thing you learned today?
  2. What is the primary question that remains unanswered for you as you leave today?
Link to McKee Learning Lunches Youtube Playlist

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Personal Message from Dr. Tucker

"It is a very serious honor to hold this position. Not only does this chair bear the responsibility for adhering to the vision and mission of the University of Chattanooga, the position is directly responsible for honoring the vision and mission of O.D. McKee, who, having developed an internationally prominent company that upholds the highest standards of quality and service in all aspects of its business, was, and continues to be, one of the premiere visionaries of the Chattanooga region. 

It is my goal to represent these values both in the academics supported by the McKee Chair and to provide a dynamic platform of service that encourages engagement between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Chattanooga regional community."