Below is information about a very unique reading/discussion class. Some SIS students (both masters and PhD) have participated in the past and said it was an amazing experience.  As you can see, our unique perspective has been appreciated!  

Dr. Armsworth will be happy to answer any questions you may have and I am also willing to share what I know (I have attended some events). It is a great way to see how our discipline aligns with and can inform other disciplines!


Suzie Allard, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research, College of Communication & Information
Professor, School of Information Sciences
Director, Center for Information & Communication Studies

University of Tennessee
1345 Circle Park Drive | 423 Communications Building| Knoxville, TN | 37996-0341 | USA
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From: <Armsworth>, Paul <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Monday, January 5, 2015 at 1:50 PM
To: Suzie Allard <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: "LaRiviere, Jacob Sean" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Spring discussion group for interdisciplinary grad students

Hi Suzie,


Can you please send this out to grad students in Information Sciences? We've had information scientists in the discussion series before and a number of them have been regulars in the Baker Center Forum itself - it'd be great to pull in their perspectives again this semester..



Paul Armsworth



Dear all,


We are writing to let you know about an interdisciplinary for-credit reading group and discussion class for graduate students that will be offered in Spring semester.


We coordinate an interdisciplinary environmental and energy forum on the campus that focuses on interactions between science and policy. The forum meets 4-5 times a semester over in the Baker Center. We bring in outside speakers from a wide range of disciplines to present their academic research on environment and energy topics. The series is very well-attended and has attracted participants from every College on the campus and around 80% of all academic departments.


In conjunction with this series, each semester we run a discussion class and reading group for graduate students. In the class, we read and discuss papers picked by the upcoming speakers who will be visiting the forum as a group. Our goal in the class is to give graduate students a bit of a leg up with material that might be from outside their own disciplinary area so that they feel more confident asking questions of speakers and discussing topics with them when they visit. We also bring in additional outside speakers who only appear in the discussion class and reading group but whose expertise complements the sorts of topics that we are discussing in the forum itself.


The organizers of the discussion series have varied across different semesters. This spring, Jacob LaRiviere (Economics) will be coordinating the reading group discussions.  Outside speakers for the spring 2015 forum are:


Robert Dickinson & Rong Fu, Feb 12, Geosciences, UT Austin

Alex Camacho, March 12, Law, UC Irvine

Jennifer Dunne, March 26, Ecological Networks, Santa Fe Institute

Paul Ferraro, April 2, Economics, Georgia State


In addition, there will be outside speakers for the reading group from Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and Plant Sciences.


In past semesters, this reading group and discussion class has proven popular with students. In the past we had students from EEB, geography, law communications, math, economics and a number of other departments who have taken part before. We often have students from at least 5 colleges participate lending the student discussions themselves a very interdisciplinary flavor.


The timing of the forum and the reading group is moving earlier this year. We meet on Thursday afternoons from 1-2:30. In weeks where the Baker Center Forum is itself meeting, class will take the form of participation in the Forum and will be over in the Toyota Auditorium. In other weeks, class will meet in Stokely Management Center 701.


To make it easier for students from different Colleges to enroll, we have set up course numbers in different Colleges. For those able to enroll through Arts and Sciences, the course number is EEB 606: Advanced Topics in Conservation Biology for which Paul Armsworth is listed as the Instructor.  Students in the business school can enroll in Econ 693.  When trying to enroll through this course number, UTK’s system may offer you an option of how many credit hours to enroll for. Please only select 1 credit hour, which is most suitable for the model we envision running in class this semester.


While the timetable would have us meet in the first week of class, we will instead wait and class will meet for the first time on Thurs 1/15. However, we will be assigning a reading and things for that week ahead of time. Readings will be posted through the Blackboard site one week ahead of class actually meeting.


Please drop one of us an email if you have any questions about the reading group. We hope you will join us for another semester of interesting, interdisciplinary discussions.



Paul Armsworth, Jacob LaRiviere & Charles Sims