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Chad Luke, associate professor, won the Tennessee Technological University (TTU) Outstanding Faculty Award in Teaching and the College of Education Research and Creative Endeavors Award. Luke is an alumnus of the Counselor Education program and has been at TTU, in the Department of Counseling and Psychology, for six years.

Chad Luke

“I’m grateful to receive these awards in the same semester (while also being awarded tenure!), as I think it could highlight the complimentary nature of teaching and scholarship.”


The TTU Outstanding Faculty Award in Teaching requires both faculty and student nominations. Luke was a finalist out of 800 nominations, and a committee selected him based on his portfolio submission. Their award announcement cited his humanistic approach to challenging students.

He said, “This particular award was a career goal of mine that I had kept to myself. To be recognized for my teaching at a place that is recognized historically as a teaching institution is quite sobering.”

Chad Luke at the College of Education Awards Ceremony

The College of Education Research and Creative Endeavors Award requires a demonstrated active research agenda in publishing, producing, and performing. When asked what made his nomination for this award stand out, Luke explained that he teaches 11 courses a year, on average, so to also have about 20 publications, including refereed journals, book chapters, and a book, seemed to exceed expectations.

He said, “I am proud to receive this kind of recognition in a college that has so many faculty working so hard and achieving so much!”

Adult Learning

Steven earned a PhD in educational psychology and research with a concentration in the Adult Learning (formerly Adult Education) program in 2007. He is originally from Altoona, PA and currently lives in Cookeville, TN. We asked him to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where he’s at now. Read his responses below.

Current Occupation

Associate Professor & Interim Director
School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Tennessee Tech University (TTU)
Cookeville, TN

Interdisciplinary Studies majors create a customized/personalized major built upon two emphasis areas. Because of the nature of our department, I have the opportunity to teach a variety of courses: Adult Learning; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Introduction to Religious Studies; Introduction to Honors; Academic and Community Connections (a summer course for student-athletes); Introduction to the University Experience (freshman student-athletes); and even an honors colloquium – Intro to Ancient Greek!

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • #1 – Finished my Dissertation!!
  • Phi Kappa Phi – 2007
  • Chair of the Graduate Student Group, American Association for Adult and Continuing Education
Accomplishments since Graduating
  • Receiving the TTU Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, and the Award for Excellence in First-Year Experience Instruction in 2016 – teaching is somethings I am passionate about.
  • Serving as the current president of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
Personal Interests

I am passionate about family. My wife Becky and I have been married for 32 years. Jordan and Taylor, our two sons, both graduated from TTU, and live in Knoxville. I enjoy traveling with Becky and any family members we can bring along, fishing (especially in my Kayak), fixing things, playing guitar, and hanging out with special friends.

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

My experience at UT Knoxville truly prepared me for my career at TTU. I was honored to work with some amazing faculty who pushed me and challenged me to branch out and grow: Ralph Brockett and Mary Ziegler in Adult Education, John Peters in Collaborative Learning, Sandra Thomas in Nursing, Howard Pollio in Psychology, and Kathy Greenberg in Educational Psychology. UT Knoxville also gave me opportunities to teach in Educational Psychology and Career and Personal Development that greater prepared me to be a university professor.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I took a position at TTU teaching Educational Psychology courses to undergraduate teacher education students while in the dissertation process. After three years on an that annual contract, I became the first faculty member in the new College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Everything happening in this new program fit my background, experience, and training. Within the past three years we were able to create courses and a minor in Religious Studies, the area of my first three degrees. Did I expect this? No. But it is wonderful to end up exactly where you belong!

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

My relationship with professor Ralph Brockett has continued on in my career beyond UT Knoxville. He has been a constant encourager and colleague, supporting me along the way and still mentoring me as only Ralph Brockett can! At the end of my time as a student I became friends with Jonathan Taylor, who followed me as the Program GA in Adult Education. Over the past few years we have researched, presented, written, and traveled together. On top of that, together with our wives and children we have developed a very special family friendship. Another amazing gift received because of my time at UT Knoxville.

“I am truly grateful for my time at UT Knoxville, and would consider myself a proud product of the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling. My experiences at UT empowered me to grow academically and professionally, and led me to my current position (Steve McCallum recommended me to TTU). Whenever I have the opportunity, I encourage potential students to take a strong look at the Adult Learning program at UT.”

Adult Education

Linda earned an MS in educational psychology with a concentration in the Adult Education program in 2015. Originally from Cleveland, TN, she now lives in Chattanooga, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Assistant to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN

I support the efforts of the staff, faculty, and students of the College of Arts and Sciences in a variety of roles.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

While in the program, I was honored to receive nominations for membership to Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society.

Accomplishments since Graduating

This semester finds me in a new role – college professor – as I am teaching as an adjunct at both UTC and Chattanooga State. My course at UTC is a First Year Experience class, which is aimed at helping first year students acquire the tools needed to successfully transition to college life. My course at Chattanooga State is an online section of Educational Psychology, and I am thrilled to be able to have an impact on students who aspire to be teachers. I have always wanted to teach and, now, thanks to my time in the program at UT Knoxville, I have the credentials, knowledge, and experience to revel in the accomplishment of this long-held goal.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy reading, expanding my culinary skills, and putting my Netflix subscription to good use watching movies and catching up on those TV series I missed while in school. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends and getting some exercise walking Daga, my German Shepherd.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

After going back to school and finishing up my undergraduate degree in psychology when my youngest child went off to college, I felt that there were other educational endeavors to be explored and conquered, so I started examining possibilities. The EdPsych Online MS degree program at UT met all of my requirements. It combined both my field of work and my undergraduate field of study; it was online, so it was easily accessible; with my fee waivers as a UTC employee, the expense did not create a stumbling block; and the curriculum looked diverse and challenging. It was a great decision.

What was the most memorable experience during your time here?

While I had many wonderful experiences over the span of my two years in the program, some stand out more than others. Overall, the two courses I had spring semester of 2015 combined together to make the best learning experience of my life.

I had Survey of Adult Education with clinical assistant professor, Cathy Hammon, and we studied thought leaders, pros and cons, and key ideas of each of the seven philosophies of adult education. I came out of this course feeling a true scholar of adult education.

My other course that semester was Program Development and Operations with professor emerita, Mary Zeigler. The highlights of this course revolved around developing a new educational program from the ground up and learning about the amazing life of Myles Horton and the life-changing work done at the Highlander Folk School. And, yes, there was a field trip. Over half of our online class made time, on a Saturday, to travel to New Market, Tennessee for a day of work and conversations at the Highlander Research and Education Center.

What would you tell an incoming/current student in the program/department?

Some important thoughts I would like to offer:

  1. Discard all of your preconceived notions of online classes because these are designed to allow for the benefits of sitting in an actual classroom with your colleagues and professors while in any variety of settings.
  2. Learn your APA Manual forwards and backwards and make it your friend.
  3. Share your strengths with your classmates and allow their strengths to buffer your weaknesses, especially during group work (and there will be plenty of that).
  4. Be an active and engaged participant in the learning communities of your classes because you share in the responsibility for not only your learning, but your classmates’ learning as well.
  5. It’s OK that you don’t know what you don’t know—everything will fall into place along the way.
  6. Reflection is one of the strongest learning tools you have at your disposal, so do it often.
  7. Walk at graduation. You worked hard and deserve the pomp and circumstance.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of the wonderful people who made my grad school experience such a life-changing experience. The administration and staff who serve as the backbone of program were friendly and always readily available. I never had to wait long for a call or returned email. The professors shared their wisdom and demanded high-quality effort in an encouraging and accepting environment. They provided me with a vision of what I want to be as a teacher. My classmates grew from comrades in arms to good friends. I look forward to following where their lives go in the future. Finally, I need to give a shout out to my good friend and colleague Susan Long. We applied to the program together and spent most class nights over two years sitting together in an office or study room in the library at UTC with our laptops and a stash of treats. We shared the ups and downs of graduate school and talked each other off the ledge more than once. I know the experience was richer and definitely more entertaining because of her.”

Counselor Education

Luke earned a PhD with the Counselor Education program in 2009. Originally from Charlotte, NC, he now lives in Cookeville, TN. We asked him to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where he’s at now. Read his responses below.

Current Occupation

Associate Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Tennessee Tech University
Cookeville, TN

Practicum/Internship Coordinator; Teach Multicultural Counseling, Career Development, Theories, Neuroscience for Counselors, Internship

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Became Director of Career Center at Maryville College
Accomplishments since Graduating
  • Publication of Neuroscience for Counselors: Integrating the Sciences of Mind and Brain (SAGE, 2015)
Personal Interests

Car shopping (not buying 🙂 )
Taking walks with my 7-year-old daughter
Evening Netflix events with wife of almost 17 years
Basic wood-working (and then throwing it out and buying from store)

What was the most memorable experience during your time here?

Failing comps because I had a brain freeze 🙂

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I haven’t ended yet (as far as I know), but teaching is a good fit. More than that, clinical supervision is some of the most rewarding work I’ve done.

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

I worked hard in the program, which prepared me to work hard as a faculty member.

“This is an up and coming program, moving quickly into perhaps the top 10 (if not there already), so I feel a sense of pride having gone through it.”