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Five Faculty Members Named 2020 Chancellor’s Professors

Dear faculty and staff,

I am thrilled to introduce the 2020 class of Chancellor’s Professors, recipients of one of the highest faculty honors bestowed by our university.

These five exceptional scholars, researchers, and professors represent the best of what the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has to offer. With expertise spanning humanities, forensic sciences, engineering, and geography, they represent our university with distinction and are doing work that improves lives and our understanding of the world.

These faculty members were nominated by their college deans and chosen for recommendation to the provost and chancellor by the current Chancellor’s Professors.

Amy Elias

Amy EliasAmy Elias is a Lindsay Young Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and has served as director of the UT Humanities Center since 2017. She authored Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), and won the George and Barbara Perkins Book Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative (ISSN). She is the principal founder of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP) and has served in a variety of roles for that organization. She hosted the association’s launch conference in Knoxville in 2009, featuring work by 115 speakers from China, the UK, the US, Japan, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. She is also the founding co-editor-in-chief of ASAP’s scholarly publication, ASAP/Journal. She has served on the executive boards of both ASAP and ISSN, and on book prize committees for ASAP, ISSN, and the Modern Language Association. She has a bachelor’s from Wilkes University and a master’s and PhD from the Pennsylvania State University, all in English.

Matthew Mench

Matthew MenchMatthew Mench most recently served as interim vice chancellor for research and engagement, leading the department through the COVID-19 pandemic initial response before returning as head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering in the Tickle College of Engineering. His research focuses on electrochemical power conversion and storage including polymer electrolyte fuel cells, flow battery systems, and biological energy systems. He has also studied computational simulation of electrochemical power conversion and storage systems as well as simulation of the influence of rapidly evolving sociocultural factors on decision-making dynamics. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and has held multiple leadership positions within the society. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate at the Pennsylvania State University and has been awarded numerous honors and recognitions over the years.

Shih-Lung Shaw

Shih-Lung ShawShih-Lung Shaw holds the Alvin and Sally Beaman Professorship and Arts and Sciences Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geography. A Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), he is a recipient of the Edward L. Ullman Award for outstanding contributions to the field of transportation geography and the Outstanding Scholar Award in Regional Development and Planning, both from the Association of American Geographers (AAG). His research specializes in transportation, geographic information sciences, space–time analytics, human dynamics, and spatial data science. Shaw earned his undergraduate degree from National Taiwan University and has a master’s and PhD in geography from the Ohio State University.

Dawnie Wolfe Steadman

Dawnie Wolfe SteadmanDawnie Wolfe Steadman is director of the Forensic Anthropology Center and a professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a past recipient of the Betty Lynn Hendrickson Professorship. Her primary role at the Forensic Anthropology Center is to generate and facilitate research—particularly novel technological applications—using the center’s resources, including the Bass Donated Skeletal Collection and the Anthropology Research Facility. Her research interests focus on forensic anthropology, bioarcheology, and human rights investigations. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and has served the board as vice president. Steadman earned her bachelor’s at the University of Arizona and both her master’s and PhD at the University of Chicago, all in anthropology. Before coming to UT she was a professor at Iowa State University and Binghamton University–State University of New York.

Leon Tolbert

Leon TolbertLeon Tolbert is the Min H. Kao Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Tickle College of Engineering and a faculty member in the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. He is an adjunct participant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and conducts joint research at the National Transportation Research Center. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Tennessee, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a member of the IEEE Industry Applications Society, IEEE Power Electronics Society, and IEEE Power Engineering Society, with numerous professional awards and service honors. His research specializes in the areas of electric power conversion, application of wide bandgap power electronic devices, multilevel converters, electric vehicles, interface with renewable and distributed energy resources, and reactive power compensation and active filters. He received his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD, all in electrical engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Please join me in congratulating these deserving members of our faculty. I appreciate all they do for our campus community, state, and world.

Donde Plowman