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ELI Faculty & Staff

Em Turner Chitty, Interim Director

Em Turner Chitty is the Interim Director of ELI and has taught English language, literature, and composition for over 35 years. “Helping students prepare to realize their dreams and ambitions is my primary goal,” she says. She has taught English in Tennessee, Virginia, Switzerland, and Italy, and is the author of How We Really Talk: Using Phrasal Verbs in English and Spelling and Sound. She holds master’s degrees in English literature and public administration, speaks Italian and French, and is learning Spanish. 

What do you enjoy most about working at ELI?

Helping students follow their paths to success.

What advice do you give to new ELI students?

Surround yourself with English. Watch movies, find friends, read books, join clubs. Talk to yourself in English as you walk down the street! Use every opportunity to grow a “new brain” in your new language.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

The UT Gardens. From a few plants 20 years ago, the Gardens have developed into a magical place to walk and enjoy hundreds of species of flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees.

What is something you love about Knoxville?

The exciting new shops and activities in downtown Knoxville.

What are a few of your favorite books?

Composing a Life, The 11 Nations of the United States, Start Where You Are 

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy making music; I play violin and guitar when I can; and enjoy gardening when the weather is warm. I also enjoy bicycling on Knoxville’s many greenways and road trips! I love road trips!


Education

MPA, Public Administration, emphasis economic development 2011

Lyndhurst Teaching Fellowship, 1986

MA, English literature, specialty in English as a Second Language, 1981

BA, Comparative Literature in French and Latin, 1977

Contact Information: 

Email: echitty@utk.edu

Doug Terry, Teaching Associate

Doug Terry, MA TESOL Education, is a teaching associate at ELI. Deeply interested in helping UT become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus, he also coordinates the Academy for Global Scholars in addition to his teaching work at ELI. The Academy helps first-generation college students—students who are the first in their families to attend college—travel abroad and see the world. Before joining ELI, he worked with Knox County Schools and Pellissippi State Community College’s Adult Education program.

What do you enjoy most about working at ELI?

I always say that I’m so blessed to have the best job in the world because I get to work with the best people in the world – our students! Whether they are at a basic, intermediate, or advanced level, I’m continually impressed by how much our students teach me through sharing their life experiences and cultures. Additionally, I’m always in awe of their courage and resilience in taking on the challenge of advancing their English language skills.

What advice do you give to new ELI students?

I encourage our students not to be shy. I tell them to let any of us faculty or staff know how we can be of service to them—we can always do our very best to help! In terms of language learning, I let students know that learning a language is not a linear process, where every day you can obviously tell that you are improving. Instead, I tell them to think of their English language development as learning to incorporate a healthy habit.  Some days may seem to be more of a struggle than others, but over time, you can truly see growth.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

I love The Hill, where Ayres Hall, with its clock tower, looks down on a lush green hill that slopes downward to Cumberland Avenue. This is the spot where I asked my wife to marry me.

What is something you love about Knoxville?

I love living in a small city that has access to so many wonderful places to go hiking and experience the outdoors! We’re very close to the Smokies, various scenic state parks, and, of course, Ijams, our urban wilderness!

What are a few of your favorite books?

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby, and the Harry Potter series.

What are some TV shows you enjoy?

Most of my favorite shows are older ones such as Parks and Recreation, The Office, and early seasons of American Idol.

Do you have a podcast recommendation?

Conan O’ Brien Needs a Friend is a good choice if you’re looking for something funny, O’Brien, the host, interviews famous people. Another is Fresh Air if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of politics, entertainment, or other aspects of U.S. culture.


Education

Doug Terry earned his MS in ESL Education from the University of Tennessee in 2003 and has been teaching international students for almost 20 years. Terry also earned his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1995.

photo of Doug TerryContact Information: 

Email: dterry1@utk.edu

Hunter Baird, Administrative Assistant

Hunter Baird arrived at ELI in September 2021. Hunter manages applications, oversees finances, assists with immigration issues, operates our social media, corresponds with students, and deals with daily student support services.

What do you enjoy most about working at ELI?

I enjoy building relationships with students and helping them adjust to life in Knoxville and East Tennessee. I admire the tight-knit community we have. Also, I’ve enjoyed being a key member in helping to revamp the institute after a very challenging time.

What advice do you give to new ELI students?

Find out as much as you can before you arrive so you will have the least surprises. I would recommend immersing yourself in all the ELI, UTK, and Knoxville events that you can.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

(Surprise!) The English Language Institute’s location downtown, close to cool restaurants and opportunities to get involved…and Starbucks, just around the corner!

What is something you love about Knoxville?

I love that Knoxville is a big city with the vibe of a small city. There’s diversity around every corner and not to mention, there are hiking opportunities all around.

What are some TV shows you enjoy?

The Squid Game, Prison Break, and All American.

Do you have a podcast recommendation?

I enjoy listening to Ted Talks because there are so many topics to find out about.


Education

MA (in progress) in Second Language Acquisition, Policy, and Culture
BA (double major) Spanish and Global Studies, with a minor in Marketing

 

Contact Information: 

Email: hbaird1@utk.edu