UT–Extension has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of more than $987,000 to reduce the rate of chronic diseases in four West Tennessee counties: Lake, Lauderdale, Haywood and Humphreys. Tennessee State University Extension is a cooperating partner.  The targeted diseases are obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The effort will span age groups from kindergarten to seniors.

UT Gardens are listed among top university gardens.  The list includes internationally famous sites.  The UT Gardens were noted for being the official state botanical gardens of Tennessee and for their status among the 34 official All-American test sites in the U.S.   The UT Gardens ranked as number 46 by the Best Masters Programs in their online guide that helps students identify Master's degree programs that suit their goals. The notation also cited the Gardens' ability to mix beauty and utility. The research from the Gardens' three sites in Knoxville, Jackson and Crossville is used for evaluating and selecting commercial plants and seeds.

A new auditorium is currently under construction at the UT Arboretum at Oak Ridge site. It is designed to complement the existing outdoor pavilion, but will be a stand-alone facility capable of accommodating gatherings of up to 120 people.

The National Science Foundation is supporting the data-driven genomic science community with $31 million in awards to develop tools, cyber infrastructure and best practices for data science, and a researcher with the UTIA has been named as a co-principal investigator on one of the funded projects. Margaret Staton, an assistant professor of bioinformatics in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, will work with a team led by researchers from Washington State University, on a $1.3 million grant for the Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBS) program. The Tripal Gateway project, one of 17 awarded by the NSF, is expected to build on existing cyber infrastructure to enhance the capacity of genomic databases to manage, exchange and process big data.

Officials with the College of Veterinary Medicine, PetSmart Charities, Inc. and other animal welfare organizations gathered at the UT Agricultural Campus on November 5 to officially open the UTCVM Mobile Spay/NeUTer Clinic. The 36-foot unit includes three surgery tables, holding cages and an oxygenizer and was made possible with a $260,485 grant from PetSmart Charities, Inc. (PCI). Karen Walsh, LVMT, a field program manager with PCI, says the lifesaving unit will serve the college for many years.


Brief statements concerning UTIA personnel changes, faculty-staff awards, and other items of interest relating to current UTIA employees.


Dr. Richard W. Clark has accepted the position of Assistant Dean and Department Head 4-H Youth Development/Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.  Dr. Clark's appointment will be effective February 1, 2015.  Dr. Clark received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Horticulture, Human Resources Management, and Adult and continuing Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His Doctoral degrees in Research and Statistics, Educational Administration/Personnel and Agricultural Education/Extension Education were earned at the Ohio State University.  Dr. Clark comes to us from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, where he has served as Associate Director of the Agricultural Education Program since 2009.

Steve Sutton has agreed to continue serving as Director of the 4-H/ALEC Department in his post-retirement appointment.  We appreciate his willingness to provide continued leadership until Dr. Clark's arrival.  We are excited to welcome Dr. Clark to UTIA, and look forward to working with him as a member of our administrative team.

Izetta Slade has been appointed Interim Director, Extension Evaluation and Staff Development.  Ms. Slade comes to Extension with outstanding experience. is pursuing a doctorate in Learning and Leadership from the UT-Chattanooga College of Education.  She holds an M.S. degree in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A & M University and is a certified mediator.  This one-year appointment, which is being made to fill the position vacated by Dr. Herb Byrd III while he serves as Interim Director for the Institute for Public Service, began October 1, 2014. 

Eric Walker is a new assistant professor in the Plant Science Department. He is a tobacco and alternative
crops Extension specialist located in Springfield.  Eric started his duties in August, 2014 and is stationed at the Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center.

The forestry coordinator for the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, Mike Black, has been appointed as director of the Shortleaf Pine Initiative. Mike Black began his duties November 10, 2014.


On November 21 the Department of Animal Science hosted a retirement reception for Dr. Jim Neel and Dr. Jim  Godkin in Hollingsworth Auditorium.   Many well wishers and several retirees were on hand to extend congratulations to two faculty members who started their retirement on November 1. Professor Neel, an Extension Beef Specialist, and Professor Godkin enjoyed their last day of full time employment on October 31 and the department wishes them happy trails.  Dr. Neel will return in a partial appointment to work on developing a 4-H Livestock Endowment. Dr. Godkin will return in a partial appointment to assist faculty in their grant writing and applications.


The Institute of Agriculture has bestowed the title Institute Professor upon P. Michael Davidson, Ph.D. Davidson is a professor and former head of the Department of Food Science and Technology. He is the inaugural recipient of the honor. The designation recognizes a record of consistent outstanding performance as evidenced by excellence in teaching, research, extension or clinical practice. Leadership and reputation through service at the national or international levels within the faculty member's scientific discipline is also recognized.

UTIA faculty and staff who had completed 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of service during 2014 were honored with a reception on Tuesday, December 2.  Read more



Business. His M.S. and Ph.D. in Agronomy were obtained at the University of Arkansas.
Please join me in welcoming these new members of the
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