Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

March 2020

A Message from the Dean

Dear CCI alumni and friends,


This is a time of great challenge but also of great opportunity. If someone had told me at the end of February that all of CCI’s courses would be moving online on March 23, I would not have believed them. But, thanks to the incredible dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff, coupled with the resiliency of our students, that is exactly what has happened.


UT’s campus leadership, under the direction of Chancellor Donde Plowman, has done an excellent job of planning for and communicating about the crisis in which we find ourselves. We are telecommuting, holding Zoom meetings (including a CCI Town Hall Meeting via Zoom) and doing everything we can to use online technology to help our students learn and prosper.


Please know that we are thinking about all of you, our alumni, during this very difficult time as you deal with layoffs, business closures, illness and a variety of other economic and social dislocations. We are all feeling stressed, worried and distracted. It’s hard to concentrate. We’re worried about family members and friends, and we cannot do our work in the way we normally do. I’m feeling all of these emotions and worries, too.


Right now, our main job is to get through this and to help everyone around us get through this. Chancellor Plowman has asked us all to be “creative, compassionate, and flexible.” These are good principles to live by all the time, but never more so than now.


The College of Communication and Information is a creative, compassionate, and flexible family (students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends). We are all Vols, and we pull together to support one another, particularly during times of crisis. Because of this, we know we can get through this, and, to quote our chancellor, we will “emerge from this moment stronger than we were before.”


Until further notice our mantra is: be safe, be healthy, be helpful, be optimistic, and, to quote Pat Summitt, “right foot, left foot, breathe, repeat!”


Thanks for all you’re doing to support each other, your communities, and your university!


Go Vols!

Peyton Manning Surprises Online Class

Communication studies students received a big surprise when Peyton Manning dropped in on Director John Haas’ Communication Studies Senior Capstone class.

Watch the Video!

CCI 50th: Favorite Moments

To celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary, we asked alumni about their proudest accomplishments. Before beginning professional careers, they learned to deliver speeches, meet deadlines, and tell stories about the Knoxville campus and beyond. Read More

CCI 50th: Professors Who Made an Impact

CCI alumni also shared memories of professors who made a difference. From genuinely caring to fiercely motivating, these educators shaped students’ careers and lives. Read More


Reporting on a Galaxy Far, Far Away

After graduating from the University of Tennessee where he served as editor of The Daily Beacon, John Jackson Miller (JEM ’90) set his sights on the stars. Today, he is a New York Times bestselling novelist and comic writer for Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel. Read More


Student Feature: Lauren Reed

Communication studies major Lauren Reed is making the most of her college experience, from volunteering at the Tennessee School for the Deaf to serving as president of the Student Alumni Associates to running social media accounts for UT athletics. Read More



2020 Addy Awards

Fifteen students from the School of Advertising and Public Relations and a graphic design major earned 24 honors at the Knoxville American Advertising Federation (AAF) awards. Read More

2020 CCI Research Symposium

CCI held its 42nd annual Research Symposium on March 2 in the Patrick Auditorium and Scripps Lab Theater, highlighting research work from graduate and undergraduate students and faculty. Read More


Guest Speaker Explores Diversity in Information Sciences

It was by chance that Aisha Johnson-Jones found information about the historic Julius Rosenwald Fund Library Program while she was doing research on increasing African-American diversity in archives. Read More

Class Notes

Kristina Birkhead (PR ’10) was awarded the Tennessee Lottery March Educator of the Month. She is a 6th grade English Language Arts teacher at Winfree Bryant Middle School in Lebanon, Tennessee.


J. Phenise Poole (JEM ’95 & CCI Honorary BOV) was a 2020 Leadership in Action Honoree by Career Mastered, the diversity summit and women’s history month leadership in action award organization.


Cecelia Prewett (PR ’93 & CCI BOV) was promoted from managing director to managing director and president of DC Public Affairs at SKDKnickerbocker.


Isaac Wright (PR ’03 & ADPR BOV) and his firm, Forward Solution Strategy Group, won five honors at the 2020 Reed Awards, an awards show and conference produced by Campaigns & Elections, the leading journal of the political campaign industry.

Vols Help Vols

Support students affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

GIve to the Student Emergency Fund

Campus updates and information on Coronavirus