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All posts by Michael Purdy

Student Spotlight: David Austin Willis

Adult Education

David is currently seeking his MS in educational psychology with a concentration in Adult Education. Originally from Parsons, TN, he received his BA in psychology and political science from University of Tennessee, Knoxville and joined EPC in 2015. We asked him to reflect on some of his past and current experiences. Read his responses below.

  • Selected to join the academic honor society Gamma Beta Phi
  • Appointed to the professional development chair in Gamma Beta Phi

Since I joined the Adult Education program I have created my own company, Davonos LLC. A consulting business that focuses on training and education system design. Davonos LLC is working with virtual reality to provide innovative learning for companies and educational systems.

Refer to Resume for more details.


Current Occupation

CEO and Lead Training Consultant
Davonos LLC

Personal Interests

I am a vested volunteer at Harmony Family Center at Montvale. I am recently engaged to the most wonderful woman on the planet. A day on the water and a night on a dock with some music is a perfect day. I love the mountains. I love the outdoors, especially golf. I am a sports fanatic. I love to put myself in uncomfortable situations because I believe that is how we learn the best. I am a passionate person that gives everything to what I am doing. I believe in love and try to make every person I interact with, see love. I want to be a professor in higher education and I hope to continue to a PhD Program. I am dedicated to creating innovative approaches to learning with my company. I am dedicated to the American system and I seek to serve the system in the future.

Future/Vocational Goals

I want to be a professor in higher education and I hope to continue to a PhD program. I am dedicated to creating innovative approaches to learning with my company. I want to build a learning platform that utilizes virtual reality to increase learning outcomes. I want to be a leader in technological learning solutions. I am dedicated to the American system and I seek to serve the system in the future. I strive to be the best husband I can be, and the greatest father once I have kids.

Group photo of students and faculty from adult learning and applied educational psychology.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program/department?

I will quote the great Martin Luther King Jr. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Get out of your comfort zone, do things that scare you. I would look into research and all that it offers. Talk to your teacher and your advisors, for they are wonderful people. Get used to proving yourself wrong, and making a habit of it. If we can’t see what we are doing wrong then how are we to better ourselves. Don’t stay locked in your belief that there is one way to do something. Find the intrinsic motivational value that drives you to challenge yourself and find the uncomfortable areas of life. For if we can operate in the unknown, then we should be fine in the known.

What do you think has been the most rewarding/challenging about this program?

The most challenging aspect of the program is getting used to writing a specific way: APA. The change for me from business writing to formal scholarly writing was very hard. I thank the lord that the teachers have been hard on me because as I move on to go to a PhD program, and work towards writing research, I now have a very solid base to fall back on. The most amazing teachers you will have are in this program. Listen to them and never be afraid to ask questions.

The most rewarding part of this is the connections I have made with staff, peers, and people around the program. What a strong community this program has. I didn’t expect in a online master’s program to have such a wonderful learning community. If you need anything, someone is there to help and guide you. The teachers go well beyond their job descriptions to make sure you have the tools you need, and that you feel comfortable and safe.



Everett Painter accepting the CSI Leadership Fellowship award.

Painter received these honors and accepted his CSI Leadership Fellowship at the American Counseling Association (ACA) Annual Conference & Expo in Montreal, Canada.

When asked how he found out about these opportunities, he said, “our professional organizations regularly publicize opportunities for grants, workshops, and other ways to engage in the profession.”

The AHC Emerging Leaders Program opens applications up yearly to new professionals and students at the master’s and doctoral level.

Painter said, “I value humanistic philosophy and strive to make it an integral part of my professional life. The emerging leader position will help me grow in leadership and advocacy by allowing for interaction with AHC leaders, mentorship, support, and a deepened awareness of governing structure and processes. I believe my goals relative to full engagement in our field will be uniquely informed by the opportunities provided by this experience.”

As an Emerging Leader, he must provide at least fifty hours of service to an AHC committee or task, will receive free registration for the 2016 AHC Conference, and can learn what responsibilities are associated with elected officials in the organization.

Everett Painter accepting the AHC Emerging Leader award.

The CSI/CACREP Leadership Essay Contest had a topic of transformational leadership.

Painter explained, “In the case of transformational leadership we first work on ourselves as we are the primary instruments of change in lives we encounter. It behooves us to recognize we are forever on the pathway of becoming. There is no end point. If we are to inspire others we must always be mindful of constantly improving ourselves. Fully engaging in our profession and investing in this way is done from a position of service, not personal gain or promotion. The stronger we can be the better we may serve.”

Along with second place came two hundred dollars, a one-year membership renewal in CSI, and his essay was published on the CSI website.

Everett Painter“I am grateful for these opportunities and deeply appreciative of the support and encouragement provided by faculty and peers at UT Knoxville.”

Educators Hall of Honor on March 31, 2016.


She said, “I feel incredibly fortunate to have my academic home in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling and in the unit of Counselor Education. Where one works influences the quality of work, the motivation to contribute, and, most important, the help one may provide students. My research, teaching, and service has always involved collaboration both within Counselor Education and the larger department. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support during my years as a teacher, researcher, and scholar. I am fortunate to have received this award and humbled by the honor. Although it is presented as an individual honor, it reflects the positive contributions we all make as a department and as a program.”


Joel F. Diambra, associate department head and director of graduate studies, nominated her for this honor and said, “Marianne Woodside is an exemplary educator with a long-standing and distinguished record.

She has positively impacted thousands of students through teaching and mentoring over her professional lifetime and impacted hundreds of colleagues through her mentoring and positive spirit and infectious optimism.

She is an outstanding scholar and prolific writer and presenter – it is impossible to determine the vast number of additional lives she’s influenced through her publications and presentations.”

The Educators Hall of Honor was founded in 2002 by late College of Education Dean Rowell. It recognizes the impact of professionals established in the field of education, while supplementing the education of future students. Nominations are made with a minimum contribution of $1,000.

Jennifer Ann Morrow, hosted a Grant Writing Tips workshop on April 4th, 2016 that drew in more than twenty-five students and faculty members from six different departments at UT Knoxville and the UT Institute of Agriculture.

Grant Writing Tips_040416_SClark_11_web

The Grant Writing Tips were presented by research assistant professor, Harold A. Richards, who works in the College of Engineering as a grants program coordinator. Morrow said, “We knew that Richards would provide excellent resources and his extensive experience in this area is why the students requested this workshop from him.”

Grant Writing Tips_040416_SClark_13_web“I had a great time interacting with the students and faculty, and I applaud Morrow for supporting her students’ curiosity. A successful research endeavor requires being familiar with how to fund the work and graduate school is an ideal time to begin learning about the process.” – Richards

On a usual night, the ESM Seminar consists of six students and three faculty members. But, they decided to open this specific class meeting to the department and beyond. Morrow explained, “We wanted to open it up to all of EPC, because there are many students and new faculty that have minimal experience with grant writing and we thought this would be beneficial to them.”

Grant Writing Tips_040416_SClark_16_web

The workshop was highly attended and well received. Richards gave a power-point presentation styled as a Q&A. Richards said, “I was happy to share my own experiences and excited by the numerous and thoughtful questions.  It is my hope that the seminar provided context and scope so that students can expand their knowledge and awareness in ways that fit their own interests and needs.”

Jennifer Ann Morrow“I was impressed by the turnout and the questions asked by the audience were relevant and showed to me that this is an area that we really need additional education for our students.”

You can see more photos from the event in our Class Happenings 2016 photo album on the EPC Facebook page.

Alumni Spotlight header for Yvette Prinsloo Franklin.

Cultural Studies of Educational Foundations

Franklin earned an MS with the Cultural Studies of Educational Foundations program in 2008 and went on to earn her PhD with the Learning Environments and Educational Studies program in 2012. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa she now lives in Lenoir City, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Yvette Prinsloo Franklin at graduation.

Current Occupation

Adjunct Faculty at two regional state universities:

  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN – Lecturer for Learning Environments and Educational Studies Program
  • Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN – Instructor for Department of Educational Research and Foundations
Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods in Education – A graduate certificate may be earned by successful completion of a series of specific courses. A candidate for a graduate certificate program must be a fully admitted graduate student who has satisfactorily completed the minimum requirements for a certificate as described in the Graduate Catalog. (2010, University of Tennessee)
  • Kin Takahashi Award for Young Alumni – Officially called the “Kin Takahashi Award for Young Alumni of Maryville College,” the recognition is for “any alumnus/alumna who has, within 15 year of his/her graduation of Maryville College, lived a life characteristic of College legend Kin Takahashi, who, in his 36 years of living, worked tirelessly for the betterment of his alma mater, his church and his society.” (2009, Maryville College)
Accomplishments since Graduating

For me, the greatest professional and personal accomplishment since receiving my MS and PhD from UT has been continuing to be active in my field in a diversified way while balancing a rich family life and community service commitment. I have been thrilled to publish and present and just as excited to share my passion for education with graduate students, young learners, and schools and parents seeking educational guidance.

Recent Publications/Presentations
  • Franklin, Y. P. (2014). Virtually (un)packing your backpack: Educational philosophy and pedagogical praxis, Educational Studies, 5(1), 65-86.
  • Franklin, Y. P. (2011). Journey into critical consciousness, Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice, 24(4), 46-49.
  • American Education Studies Association Conference 2015 (panel presentation, San Antonio, TX)
  • American Education Studies Association Conference 2013 (paper presentation, Baltimore, MD)
  • American Education Studies Association Conference 2011 (panel presentation, St. Louis, MO)
  • Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society Conference 2011 (paper presentation, Dayton, OH)
  • Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference 2010 (poster presentation, Cedarville, OH)
  • American Educational Research Association 2009 Conference (invited to present paper, San Diego, CA)
  • Mid-South Educational Research Association 2008 Conference (paper presentation, Knoxville, TN)
Personal Interests

I volunteer tutor a wonderful fourth grade boy 12-15 hours a week and do pro bono curriculum and professional development for a local private school. I also teach a class at my church one morning a week.

My greatest delight is my family – a busy doctor husband, three children, four chickens, and a golden retriever! We enjoy traveling, working hard, and serving together!

Yvette Prinsloo Franklin and young boy.

What sold you on this program?

What sold me on the graduate program in Cultural Studies of Educational Foundations was the synergy found between the disciplines of anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, as well as multiculturalism, ethnography, and other critical theories that helped me find a way forward as a teacher. As a South African, and then transplanted southern-American, educator faced with student achievement gaps, diverse populations I felt ill-equipped to engage, and social justice concerns, the program helped develop me professionally by connecting social foundations theory to my practice life.  Now I teach in Cultural Studies and Social Foundations of Education within higher education helping other teachers apply vital theory to their own practice life.

What do you think was the most rewarding/challenging about this program?

The most rewarding part of this program is the personal attention and mentoring I received from my advisor, professor Barbara Thayer-Bacon. She helped me adjust to life as a graduate student juggling a family. An excellent teacher, I enjoyed her classes immensely and the community spirit that was fostered. Additionally, I was encouraged and supported to publish and present and this meant a great deal coming from a woman who has published many books, been all over the world to present her work, and is a well-respected scholar in our field.

Is there anything else you would like to say as an alumna of this program/department?

Whenever I come back to campus – after wishing there was more parking 😉 – I always feel like I am coming home as I walk the department hallways. This is a special place where educators, counselors, and researchers converge to share and grow. We alum are just basking in the reflected light of the scholars and educators gathered here to help us on our way. They are who deserve the real spotlight!

Yvette Prinsloo Franklin on shoreline.

Educational Psychology & Counseling Department
College of Education, Health & Human Sciences

535 Bailey Education Complex
1122 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-3452
Phone: 865-974-8145 Fax: 865-974-0135