Governor Bill Haslam has signed a bill designating the University of Tennessee Gardens as the official botanical garden for the Volunteer State. The UT Gardens are operated by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and can be found in three locations: the UTIA campus in Knoxville, the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, and the recently added location at the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center in Crossville. The new location was formally announced April 26 at the Cumberland County 2013 Flower and Garden Show.


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

Dr. Parwinder Grewal will be joining UT on May 1 as Professor and Department Head of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Lori Gibson joined the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science August 1, 2012. Her support area is in row crop sustainability

Dr. Mark Morgan will begin serving as Food Science and Technology Department Head on June 1.
Dr. Morgan received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from The Ohio State University. He is currently a professor at Purdue University.

Dr. Scott Senseman has been named Plant Sciences Department Head effective July 1. Dr. Senseman comes to UT from Texas A & M University. His undergraduate work was done at Wilmington College of Ohio, where he received a B.S. degree in Agricultural Business. His M.S. and Ph.D. in Agronomy were obtained at the University of Arkansas.

Dawn Hawkersmith, accounting specialist in the Extension Dean’s Office, has received a promotion. Effective May 1, she will be leaving UT Extension for the UTIA Office of Sponsored Programs.


CASNR Teaching Awards

John Riley, professor of agricultural economics, has been a member of the UT faculty since 1995. After serving almost four years as dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, he returned to the classroom, where he teaches courses about the job search process and marketing and sales communications in addition to agricultural economics. Riley dedicates a lot of time to advising, with forty-five undergraduate students and two at the master’s level. He also coaches UT’s National AgriMarketing Association (NAMA) Student Marketing team, which competes with more than thirty teams from the United States and Canada. He is the longest-serving coach for this competition and has received two NAMA outstanding advisor awards. In fact, the organization recognized his commitment by renaming the award in his honor. In the words of one of his students, “Dr. Riley is disciplined and dedicates his time and efforts into making sure that every student succeeds. He’s a good man and a great professor. I wish every single one was like him.”

An award-winning educator and researcher in Food Science and Technology, David Golden infuses his courses with humor and real-world stories. His students say this style of teaching helps them remember what they have learned. He teaches about the impact of people and historical events on the production, distribution, and consumption patterns of food as well as the role of food in society and culture. His lessons have titles like “Two All-Beef Patties, Special Sauce…A History of Hamburgers” and “Got Milk? Louis Pasteur’s Contributions to Food and Society.” He invites guest lecturers from other UT departments and from food companies like Bush Brothers. Golden’s light-hearted approach and sincere interest in his students and their lives have earned him teaching evaluations that are positive nearly across the board. Golden’s professional experience includes work for the US Food and Drug Administration and as a visiting research scientist for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia. He is a faculty fellow for the Haslam Scholars Program and will serve as president of the Faculty Senate next year.

2013 Ready for the World
Michael O. SmithMICHAEL O. SMITH
Michael O. Smith, an animal science professor, helps his students get Ready for the World while also leading them in research to help solve many global food problems. He’s taken nearly 100 students to Jamaica, Thailand, Vietnam, and Ghana during the past decade. He teaches International Experience in Agriculture and Natural Resources, a class that involves a semester of coursework on a country’s agriculture, government, and culture followed by a two-week study tour of the country. Smith also has won two federal Higher Education Challenge Grants to coordinate international experiential learning for students. One of those grants funds programs focusing on minority, low-income, and first-generation students. An expert on the effects of heat stress on poultry production, he also has consulted in Egypt, Jordan, Romania, Thailand, and Turkey.

Professional Promise and Creative Achievement Award

Qixin Zhong’s research program focuses on improving our food’s safety, quality, and healthfulness through the application of biophysics and nanotechnology. Specifically, the associate professor of food science and technology’s research program focuses on the discovery of physically inspired materials and processes through the creation and understanding of nanoscale materials. Zhong’s research has so far generated a total of eight patents and invention disclosures. His accolades include the Institute of Food Technologists 2012 Samuel Cate Prescott Award for outstanding work in food science research, one of the highest individual honors presented by the organization. Additionally, Zhong has mentored nine doctoral students and seven master’s students and helped establish the Food Biopolymers Research Group in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Zhong serves as an associate editor of the journal Food Biophysics and is an editorial board member for three other journals.


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