In alignment with the State of Tennessee’s Campus Free Speech Protection Act, the UT Board of Trustees Policy Affirming Principles of Free Speech for Students and Faculty, UT System’s BE ONE UT core values, and UTC’s Strategic Plan, our campus works together to ensure a climate welcoming of diverse viewpoints for all faculty, staff, and students.
Our mission guides what we do with integrity and civility. We achieve excellence by actively engaging students, faculty, and staff, embracing diversity and inclusion, inspiring positive change and enriching and sustaining our community.
Throughout the years, we have provided opportunities for our campus and community partners to hear viewpoints from national speakers such as Ann Coulter (2015), Dinesh D’Souza (2017), Cornel West (2022), Bill Kristol (2022), and Angela Davis (2023), to name a few.
Learn more about the initiatives, programs, and policies that enable UTC faculty, staff, and students to engage civilly and learn through meaningful opportunities and from diverse perspectives.
UTC Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise Speakers and Events
Dr. Claudia Williamson-Kramer, UTC’s Rollins College of Business Distinguished Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise, hosts multiple campus- and community-wide events throughout the year. Dr. Williamson-Kramer was recently appointed as a member of the Board of Fellows for The Institute of American Civics.
2022-2023 Probasco Chair event highlights
- The Probasco Chair hosted and co-sponsored the first Dr. Harold A. Black Academic Conference, September 8-10, 2022. Dr. Black is an emeritus finance professor at UTK. Black’s research focuses primarily on discrimination in the financial industry. Michael Munger, Duke University, opened the conference with a keynote address, “Race, Risk, and Greed: Harold Black’s Contributions to the Institutional Economics of Finance.” Over the course of two days, 10 scholars presented original research that directly examined, extended, or built upon Dr. Black’s work. Dr. Black presented a luncheon address where he asked, does discrimination in lending still exist?
- On September 14, 2022, the Probasco Chair co-sponsored Constitution Day speaker Anne Bradley who presented “Is Economic Freedom compatible with Christianity? in a small seminar. Anne also presented the 12th Annual Richard Gruetzemacher Constitution Day Lecture, “Religious Freedom, Economic Freedom, and the Constitution”. Over 100 students, faculty, staff and community members attended.
- Jason Riley from the Wall Street Journal and the Manhattan Institute presented “Why Thomas Sowell Matters” on September 22, 2022. Over 75 community members, students and UTC faculty and staff attended.
2022-2023 Burkett Miller Distinguished Lecture Series
The Burkett Miller Distinguished Lecture Series is a forum for scientific inquiry which brings internationally recognized scholars, practitioners, and thinkers to the UTC community to speak on topics critical to an understanding of the Market Economy. The series is organized and supported by the Probasco Chair to benefit students, faculty, business persons, and the community at large by providing opportunities to critically review controversial ideas. Peter Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy and George Mason University and Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advance Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, is the February 2023 Distinguished Lecturer.
UTC Political Science and Public Service’s (PSPS) Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government
Dr. Michelle Deardorff, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government and head of UTC’s Political Science and Public Service department has hosted events in collaboration with community and campus partners for nearly a decade. Dr. Deardorff was the 2020-2021 vice president of the American Political Science Association, the leading professional organization of political science scholars and students in the United States. Dr. Deardorff was presented with the first Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence by Chancellor Steven R. Angle during the Dec. 17, 2022, commencement ceremonies.
2022 Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government collaborative highlights:
- Last year, Dr. Deardoff co-sponsored several programs including the TN Democracy Forum Speaker Series that has brought in nationally acclaimed experts, such as: William Kristol, founding director of Defending Democracy Together, an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to defending America’s liberal democratic norms, principles, and institutions; Andrea Bernstein, Peabody Award–winning cohost of the acclaimed WNYC/ProPublica podcast Trump, Inc., which won the prestigious 2019 Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University award; Lisa Mensah, nationally recognized expert on rural poverty and was the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute former and former Under Secretary for Rural Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Robert Shrum, the Director of the Center for the Political Future and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC; and, Salin Geevarghese, expert on poverty and equity, is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and served in leadership positions in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- In February 2022, The UTC Department of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies and the Ochs Professor of Government sponsored internationally known environmental activist, Lois Gibbs, to give a keynote address and lead discussion. Lois is a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, generally recognized as the most prestigious annual award given to environmental activists, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and appeared on numerous television and radio shows including 60 Minutes, 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah Winfrey Show, and others. Her life was the subject of the CBS movie, “Lois Gibbs: The Love Canal Story”.
- The Ochs Professor of Government partnered with the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy to co-sponsor the Tennessee Campus Civics Summit on February 25, 2022. The student-led event featured a keynote address, engagement with civic leaders and elected officials, collaborative campus roundtables, and presentations.
Navigating Difficult Topics in the Classroom: Faculty Pedagogy Discussions
UTC’s College of Arts and Sciences is hosting a Fall pedagogy forum for faculty to share approaches on teaching controversial topics or difficult subjects. During the discussions, faculty will share and learn best practices for engaging students in material that challenges them to explore outside their comfort zone, to engage in civil discourse around diverse viewpoints, and to think critically about arguments explored in class and in readings.
TN Democracy Forum
The TN Democracy Forum is a series of hour-long discussions of economic and political democracy focused on ongoing national and statewide issues. The series launched in partnership with UTC’s Political Science and Public Service Department Head and Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government, Dr. Michelle Deardorff.
The Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy
The Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy You Might Be Right podcast is co-hosted by former Tennessee Governors Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam.
Simon Tam visited UTC on November 15, 2022, and spoke with students, faculty, and staff about his extraordinary journey to justice. Mr. Tam is best known for winning a landmark case at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2017. The case (Matal v. Tam) was named "Milestone Case of the Year" by Managing IP Magazine. His memoir, Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court was named "One of the Best Books on the Constitution of All Time" by BookAuthority and won an award for "Best Autobiography/Memoir" from the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Arthur Brooks Lecture
On December 6th and 7th, Dr. Arthur Brooks, Harvard professor, social scientist, bestselling author, and columnist at The Atlantic, visited UTC and UTK to deliver his message on “Providing Effective Leadership in Today’s Culture of Contempt”.
Dr. Angela Davis, a prominent educator, author, and public speaker, is the keynote speaker for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga MLK Day 2023 celebration taking place at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the UTC Fine Arts Center’s Roland Hayes Concert Hall. This will be the 10th year for UTC’s MLK Day keynote speaker series and the first in-person event since 2020. In 2022, Dr. Cornel West joined over 700 participants virtually, for UTC’s 9th MLK Day of Service event. His message was on “love and civility.”
MOC Forward Series
On April 17th, the Division of Diversity and Engagement hosted a Workforce Diversity Symposium in the UC Auditorium.
Purpose & Objectives:
A discussion where local experts share their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives on issues related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Panelists will identify challenges and opportunities, share best practices, and provide insights on how organizations can create a more diverse and inclusive environment. The panelists will address questions related to:
Benefits of advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Strategies for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce
Creating a culture of inclusion and belonging
Promoting diversity in leadership and decision-making
Supporting employees from underrepresented groups
Gail Dawson, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Management, UTC
Candy Johnson, CEO/President, Urban League
Ketha Richardson, Director Inclusion & Diversity, EPB
Deb Socia, CEO/President, Enterprise Center
Kris Swanson, Director of HR, Steam Logistics
Click below to Learn More about each of the panelists
What is Viewpoint Diversity: Heterodox Academy created a short video explaining the importance of viewpoint diversity and confirmation bias. Heterodox Academy is a nonpartisan collaborative of 5,000+ professors, educators, administrators, staff, and students committed to research, open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement.
- A Roadmap to Promote Campus Free Expression: This manual was produced by the Bipartisan Policy Center and offers helpful recommendations for college presidents and senior leadership teams, trustees, faculty, athletic directors and coaches, and student affairs staff.
- National Institute for Civil Discourse: A non-partisan organization based at the University of Arizona that promotes healthy and civil political debate.
- Promoting Civil Discourse in Troubling Times: American University provides suggestions for bringing civil discourse to campus classrooms.
- Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or Controversial Topics: University of Michigan offers guidelines to help instructors facilitate classroom discussion around controversial issues.
- Multicultural Education Program: Classroom Tools UC Berkeley provides tools for instructors compiled by its Division of Equity & Inclusion.
- UTC’s Grayson H. Walker Center for Teaching and Learning: UTC provides a number of faculty and staff resources to help cultivate student engagement, learning, and success.
- Difficult Conversations: Teaching Tolerance provides a toolkit for facilitating difficult conversations.
- Difficult Dialogues: Vanderbilt University shares this guide for teachers in leading difficult dialogues.
- Classroom Dynamics & Diversity: Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning includes tips for managing challenging conversations.
- The Lost Art of Democratic Debate: Michael Sandel, Professor of Political Philosophy at Harvard, delivers a TED Talk.
UTC's Center for Reflective Citizenship: UTC’s College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies is dedicated to the revitalization of civic education in American schools and universities, and the equipping of a new generation of thoughtful citizens for the practice of democracy.