Emma Willcox named James R. Cox Professor for 2024

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Emma Willcox, professor in the School of Natural Resources, was named a James R. Cox Professor during the University of Tennessee Academic Honors Banquet on May 1.

The three-year award honors faculty members for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. It also includes a stipend for the recipient. Willcox becomes the third faculty member from the School of Natural Resources to receive the professorship.

“I am inspired every day by my undergraduate and graduate students’ passion and dedication to the field of wildlife management and conservation,” Willcox said. “Their excitement to learn makes my job a joy and encourages me to excel in my teaching and scholarship, as well as to engage in service where I can advocate for their success. I feel deeply honored to have received this award and thank my students for their inspiration.”

Willcox has also received the J.E. Achievement Award recognizing excellent achievements in teaching, research, and Extension, the B. Ray Thompson Sr. Award for Outstanding Faculty Performance, the UT Knoxville Chancellor’s Excellence in Advising Award, and the Herbert College of Agriculture Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.

Willcox has served on various committees to advocate for the benefit of students. She is a member of the School’s Access and Engagement Committee and Awards Committee and also serves on the Herbert Undergraduate Council. Willcox served as a temporary Student Success Advisor last fall.

Her research focuses on examining how mammals respond to anthropogenic stressors and the threats emerging infectious diseases pose to mammal populations. Since 2017, she has served as the Program Director for the North American Society for Bat Research. Willcox began organizing a Bat Identification Lab for UT students in 2018.

Knoxville native James Cox helped establish professorships in 2002 for faculty in the arts, theater, biological and physical sciences, architecture, and forestry industries. Previous recipients from the School include Scott Schlarbaum and Don Hodges.