Tennessee Governor's Academy for Math and Science

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tennessee Governor's Academy for Mathematics and Science (TGA)
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Type Public Residential
Motto Latin: Veni, Vidi, Duci. English: I came; I saw; I calculated.
Established 2007
School district Knox County
Staff Six residence hall directors
Faculty Two mathematics teachers, one science teacher, two humanities teachers, one Mandarin teacher, one Physical Education teacher, one counselor, one graduate assistant.
Enrollment 22 seniors
Number of students High school seniors from across the state
Color(s) Crimson and Silver
Mascot Spartan
Affiliations University of Tennessee at Knoxville

The Tennessee Governor's Academy for Mathematics and Science, commonly Tennessee Governor's Academy or TGA, is a residential high school located in Knoxville, Tennessee on the campus of The Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD). It was founded in the fall of 2007 by Governor Phil Bredesen as part of an effort to provide challenges for students across the academic spectrum. Its inaugural class consisted of 24 high school juniors from throughout the state. Though the school plans to expand in the future, the current enrollment of 48 will be kept until a permanent campus is found.


The Tennessee Governor's Academy closed May 31, 2011 due to lack of state funding. Many government officials feel that a residential high school program is too costly and that it siphons money from other schools.

List of Module Questions[edit]

Inaugural Year: 2007

  • Module 1: Who are we?
    • The students defined who the student body is as a whole. Students decided on a school mascot (Spartans), school colors (crimson and silver), and motto (the Latin "Veni, Vidi, Duci," meaning "I came; I saw; I calculated").
    • Students worked in six groups of four, and each group came up with its own ideas for the school mascot, etc. The student body then voted on each group's idea to choose the final name.
  • Module 2: What is a civilization?
    • Students explored the definition of a civilization through a series of personal journals and guest lectures. Guest lectures included Dr. Jan Simek, a professor of anthropology at the University of Tennessee and Russell Townsend, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.[1]
  • Module 3: What can we learn from a bone?
    • This module highlighted Jon Bethard, a residence hall director, and his specialty in Anthropology. Mr. Bethard led a series of two "bone labs" in which students explored the practical uses of Anthropology in forensics including determining the age, sex, stature, and manner of death from a skeleton. Students also heard a guest lecture by Dr. Jan Simek about his interest in cave drawings in Tennessee.
    • Students read the novel Death's Acre by Dr. Jefferson Bass as part of their cross-subject study of bones.
    • Students and faculty traveled to Gray's Fossil Site to learn about the modern excavation of fossils. The staff at the site in partnership with Mr. Bethard's expertise provided the students with a broad definition of anthropology and its applications
  • Module 4: How do we create a module?
    • Referred to by the students in retrospect as the "fun module," this module highlighted some of the cultural high points of Knoxville and its surrounding areas. Students attended to Tea at the Gallery in Knoxville, as well as celebrating Halloween by pumpkin carving and attending a corn maze in East Tennessee.
    • In preparation for their trip to the tearoom, students attended an etiquette-training dinner, led by the residence staff, in which they learned about proper dinner manners for tea-time.
    • During this module, four students also gave a presentation to the Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. Topics included:
      • Life at the cottages
      • Academics
      • Oak Ridge National Lab experience
      • Students overall view of TGA
    • And the students received a standing ovation from the committee for their maturity and intelligence.
  • Module 5: How do war and genocide affect the national and international communities?
    • During the "War Module," students explored war and genocide through a series of lectures, projects and films. The primary guest lecturer was Dr. Tricia Hepner from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Hepner has extensively studied the country of Eritrea in northeastern Africa and the effects of the political turmoil in that country. Dr. Hepner spoke about the trips that she has taken there over her career to study the individual citizens of the country. Dr. Hepner fielded many questions from the students regarding the Eritrean economy and political system.
    • Students watched two feature films during the module, Blood Diamond and Hotel Rwanda. These films augmented students projects in their humanities class on the topic of genocide.
    • For a humanities project, groups of four students studied and created presentations on genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries. These were presented to the class as a group, and a wide range of implications were discussed.
  • Module 6: Creation of the Spring modules.
    • In the last module for the first semester, students were assigned the task of creating some of the modules for the Spring semester. There were no guest lecturers and students had less module work because exams would be given during this module.
    • Possible module topics included:
      • Space
      • Chemistry
      • Cultures and Religions
      • Environmental
    • Students prepared worksheets on their topic and submitted them to Dr. Hopkins for consideration.
  • Module 7: Cars
    • Over the holiday break, students were assigned a car part to research and present to the student body. During the first weeks back at school, students presented their parts and discussed how the parts worked together to make an engine work. Students also gained a working knowledge of an internal combustion engine as well as rotational motion


Pre-Calculus serves as the introductory mathematics class at TGA for those who have not taken the course elsewhere or those who are not prepared to take Calculus upon arrival at TGA. This course is similar in content to the Math 130 course offered at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The text used for the course is Precalculus with Trigonometry: Concepts and Applications by Paul A. Foerster. Generally speaking, the course content serves to prepare juniors to take Calculus during the Spring semester of the junior year. Content includes a review of algebraic, logarithmic, exponential, and trigonometric functions.


The calculus course was designed by professors at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and based on Math 141 for the first semester and Math 142 for the second semester of the TGA calculus course. The text used in this course is Calculus Concepts & Contexts, 3rd Edition by James Stewart.[2] Topics covered in this course include:

Mathematics for the Life Sciences[edit]

Mathematics for the Life Sciences, commonly MLS, was designed by professors at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and based on Math 151. MLS provides an introduction to a variety of mathematical topics of use in analyzing problems arising in the biological sciences. It is designed for students interested in biology, agriculture, forestry, wildlife, pre-medicine and other pre-health professions. The general aim of this course is to show how mathematical and analytical tools may be used to explore and explain a wide variety of biological phenomena that are not easily understood with verbal reasoning alone.[3] Course content includes:


Also designed by university professors, this course was modeled on Physics 135,[4] an introduction to Physics for Math and Physical Science Majors at the University. The course is calculus-based, but because most students entering TGA have no prior knowledge of calculus the year begins with topics for which the calculus is either unnecessary, not required by the curriculum set by the state, or easily taught around. The text used in this course is Understanding Physics by Karen Cummings et al.[5] Topics covered in this course include: simple harmonic motion, including springs and pendulums; waves, including sound, electromagnetic, transverse, and longitudinal; and optics, including reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light.

  • Simple Harmonic motion
    • Springs
    • Pendulums
  • Waves
    • Sound
    • Electromagnetic
  • Optics
    • Reflection
    • Refraction
    • Diffraction
  • Newtonian Motion
    • Displacement
    • Velocity
    • Acceleration
  • Expansion into two dimensions with vectors
    • Vector sums
    • Vector components
  • Energy
    • Kinetic energy
    • Potential energy
    • Work
    • Power
  • Rotational motion
    • Angular displacement
    • Angular velocity
    • Angular acceleration
    • Moment of inertia
    • Torque


At TGA, the Humanities course is designed to fulfill the requirements for the curriculum of the State of Tennessee for American History and English III. The class is held for at least 7.5 hours a week, usually 1.5 hours Monday through Friday. Topics covered in this course include:

  • American history
    • Discovery of the New World through the Cold War
  • American Literature
    • Early writings
    • Enlightenment influence
    • Romanticism
    • Dark Romanticism
    • Transcendentalism
    • Antebellum and Civil War era writings
    • American Indian affairs
    • Immigration

Student life[edit]

Cottage life[edit]

The students at the Tennessee Governor's Academy live in cottages on the Tennessee School for the Deaf campus. The facilities are furnished by the University of Tennessee and the State. Each cottage consists of six student rooms and two hall director rooms. The cottage is divided into two wings, each consisting of three bedrooms which are shared by two students each. Each cottage has a full kitchen, dining area, classroom, and living room, and classes are held in the cottages.

House system[edit]

During the early first semester, the students were divided into four "houses," modeled after residential housing systems. TGA's houses were named Copernicus, Divinitus, Illuminati, and Renaissance, and each was headed by a hall director or assistant hall director. Though meant to be a long lasting legacy, the housing system served only as a temporary chore-organizing plan.

Over the 2007/08 winter break, a change in housing staff caused the house system to be reformed from four to three houses, each with new leadership. The three houses were headed by one of the full-time teachers until the end of the 2007/08 school year, but served the same purpose as before. This abrupt change has disrupted the legacy that the houses were meant to stand for.

At the beginning of the 2008/09 school year, the house system (along with most of the structure of TGA) was completely reorganized. The teachers assigned the names to the houses, which are all named for deceased mathematicians or scientists. The four houses are named Cannon, Drew, Von Neumann, and Tesla. The houses are headed by a full-time teacher but housing staff also lead the houses when needed.

Faculty and staff[edit]

Academic faculty[edit]


  • Dr. Vena Long, Executive Director
  • Dr. Theresa Hopkins, Director
  • Mr. Bennett Adkinson, Instructor of Physics
  • Mr. Richard Robinson, Instructor of Calculus
  • Mr. Elton Lewis Freeman, Instructor of Pre-Calculus
  • Ms. Shannon Suddath, Instructor of English
  • Dr. Patricia Rutenberg, Instructor of American History and Government/Economics
  • Ms. Michelle Tai, Instructor of Mandarin Chinese.
  • Mr. Joao Barros, Instructor of Physical Education
  • Ms. Nyle Stark, Instructor of Physical Education

Other faculty[edit]

  • Mrs. Sarah Gilpin, School Counselor
  • Mr. John Breckner, Counseling Graduate Assistant.
  • Mrs. Amy Sullins, Program Evaluator


  1. ^ "Contacts For Section 106 Consultation – Federally Recognized Tribes – Appendix "D"". State of Tennessee. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  2. ^ Stewart, James (2005). Calculus Concepts & Contexts, 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Bob Pirtle, Thompson Brooks/Cole. ISBN 0-534-40986-5. 
  3. ^ "Course Syllabus, Mathematics Department". University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  4. ^ "Course Descriptions, Physics Department". University of Tennessee at Knoxville. p. 16. Retrieved 2007-09-26. [dead link]
  5. ^ Cummings et al., Karen (2004). Understanding Physics. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-37099-1. 

External links[edit]