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2020 CCI Faculty & Staff Awards

Five faculty and two staff members earned 2020 College of Communication and Information annual awards. They will be honored at the end of the virtual CCI Faculty/Staff meeting on Nov. 20 at  10:30 a.m.

Faculty award winners included: Communication Studies Assistant Professor Jenny Crowley (Faculty Research Award), Information Sciences Associate Professor Devendra Potnis (Faculty Teaching Award), Communication Studies Assistant Professor Emily Paskewitz (Faculty Service/Outreach Award), Information Sciences Clinical Associate Professor Cindy Welch (Non-Tenure Track Faculty Service/Outreach Award), and Information Sciences Lecturer Scot Smith (Part-Time Lecturer Teaching Award). 

The Non-Tenure Track Service/Outreach Award and the Part-Time Lecturer Teaching Award are new categories for 2020. The Lecturer Teaching Award was renamed the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Teaching Award. 

CCI also created two new staff awards: the Big Orange Award, given to Coordinator of Student Services Tanya Arnold (Information Sciences); and the Volunteer Spirit Award, given to Administrative Specialist II Pamela Durban (Information Sciences). 

Faculty Research Award

Jenny Crowley

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies        

Dr. Jenny Crowley has a well-articulated research statement and a well-focused research agenda. She has published journal articles in top tiered peer-review journals, including New Media & Society, and presented several research papers at the annual National Communication Association Conference. Notably, she is a co-PI on a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (amount=$1,000,000). Her research combines quantity with high quality, and, as a junior faculty member, her research trajectory is very promising.


Faculty Teaching Award

Devendra Potnis 

Associate Professor, Information Sciences

Dr. Devendra Potnis has a strong student-centered teaching philosophy. He has excelled at teaching his courses, especially Social Informatics, for which he received exceptional evaluation scores in 2019. He connects well with students and delivers quality learning experiences online in both synchronous and asynchronous modes. One of his students wrote: “Dr. Potnis could teach a course on teaching excellence.” He was also named the 2020 ASIS&T SIG Member of the Year. 


Faculty Service/Outreach Award

Emily Paskewitz

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

Dr. Emily Paskewitz’ service goes beyond her assigned service duties as a faculty member. In addition to providing service at the school, college, university, and professional levels, she has served on the Tennessee Farmer Suicide Prevention Task Force since its inception in fall 2018. In this capacity, she serves on the research subcommittee where she and other researchers incorporate research findings on suicide and suicide prevention into the efforts of the Task Force. Her service and outreach efforts are dynamic and meaningful at all levels.


Non-Tenure Track Faculty Service/Outreach Award

Cindy Welch 

Clinical Associate Professor; Coordinator of Youth Services, Information Sciences         

Dr. Cindy Welch created a program called Best of the Best, which showcases the best new youth-focused books, and presented this program in five regional library systems in Tennessee. Besides serving in leadership roles for The Tennessee Association of School Librarians, she chaired the national Association for Library and Information Science (ALISE) Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019. Her service at the school, college, university, and professional levels continues to have a significant impact on UT’s service and outreach missions.   


Part-Time Lecturer Teaching Award

Scot Smith 

Lecturer, Information Sciences

Scot Smith has been a part-time lecturer for the School of Information Sciences for around 20 years and has taught 33 courses for the school. In addition to his ongoing dedication to lifelong learning, he brings to the classroom rich experience as a school librarian which affords him multiple opportunities to connect concepts to practice. He is committed to high quality teaching and creating open, exploratory learning environments. Students rave about Scot’s teaching style, his love and passion for the course content area he teaches, and his highly engaging lectures. As one student noted, “His teaching is impeccable.” 


Volunteer Spirit Award

Pamela Durban 

Administrative Specialist II, Information Sciences

Pamela Durban truly enjoys helping others and understands how tremendously important this is in helping SIS and CCI move forward. She is a team player, who is equally comfortable as a follower or leader, and has a genuine interest in serving others and the school. Her excellent customer service, positive and collegial attitude, and strong work ethic enhances the productivity of the School of Information Sciences and the College of Communication and Information.


Big Orange Award

Tanya Arnold 

Coordinator of Student Services, Information Sciences

 Tanya Arnold has been a model team player, politely negotiating roles, generously making space for new staff to thrive, and creatively finding new ways to contribute. She welcomes the opportunity to better equip students and faculty for success, whether in the area of advising, registration, engagement, or any other aspects of what she does. She is compassionate, diligent, thorough, organized, and creative.