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Common Ground

Screen capture of the video shows a man standing in a field with the sun behind him

UTIA's Story, Told in Video, Wins a Grand Award

How do we tell UTIA's story? How do we convey the tremendous diversity of our programs and explain what we do and whom we serve? Last year, staff in the Department of Marketing and Communications took on the challenge, and the result is a video that features forty members of the Institute sharing their own perspectives about what makes UTIA special. We've presented the video, titled "UTIA: Real Life Solutions for Tennessee, the World & You," with friends at Ag Day, the President's Council showcase meeting, and at other events since last fall. It's also available for you to use in talks and presentations.

I'm proud to report that communications and marketing professionals in higher education endorsed this as an excellent video. The project will be formally recognized in February with a Grand Award for Marketing/Branding Video by members of CASE District III. CASE is the international Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Add Two-Factor Authentication for Your Email

A screen capture from the video shows Smokey the UT Mascot holding a smartphone, which is being used for two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, which Smokey demonstrates in the video above, is a powerful way to protect the security of our UT email and other university password-protected accounts. Two-factor authentication is now available for UT faculty, staff, and students to adopt. Besides offering extra security for both you and UTIA, 2FA enables users to create a strong password that will not expire. Learn more about 2FA.


White to serve on presidential council on combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria • Garland honored for service to US and world agriculture • Muhammad and Velandia are co-editors of a food distribution journal • Muhammad will contribute to leadership of a trade research consortium

Please alert us to honors like these when they occur.

Message from the Chancellor

Our Institute continues to receive support through USDA funding, so the federal government shutdown was an issue we tracked very closely. Federal appropriations provide about 15 percent of the UT Extension and AgResearch budgets annually, and we also receive significant competitive grant awards that provide funds for critical research and Extension programs. Thankfully, we experienced minimal disruptions during the shutdown, receiving only a handful of stop-work orders for specific projects. We're hopeful that a stable budget with continued funding can be realized in the months and years ahead.

We enjoyed an opportunity to showcase AgResearch and UT Extension programs recently during the statewide President's Council showcase meeting. The event included a three-hour visit to the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Spring Hill, where members of the President's Council learned about the outreach work we're doing with 4-H youth, value-added entrepreneurs, livestock producers, and others involved in agricultural production. I received many positive comments following the visit from council members indicating they were unaware of the breadth and depth of our AgResearch and UT Extension programs.

Photo of Tim Cross presenting for the President's Council

Planning and design work continue at a fast pace for an Energy and Environmental Science Research and Education Building to replace Ellington Plant Sciences. This ambitious project includes space for programs conducted by the Herbert College of Agriculture, the College of Veterinary Medicine, AgResearch, and UT Extension. Virtually every student in Herbert and CVM will take courses in the new building, and it will house faculty and staff from five different departments plus our Smith International Center and several other support units. The project will be the most ambitious capital construction project we've undertaken on our campus in many years, and it will impact our Institute for the next fifty to one hundred years.

From my chair, 2019 seems to be off to a fast and very positive start, and I hope the same is true for you. Finally, let me close with a reminder that I always try to keep my door open, and I welcome you to stop by when you're in Morgan Hall. It's always a pleasure to see faculty, staff, and stakeholders, and gain insight from your perspectives.


P.S. Be sure to follow me and the latest Institute developments on Twitter at @UTIAChancellor.

An architectural sketch of the new Surge Building

Construction Ahead on UTIA Campus

Design and planning are on schedule to replace Ellington Plant Sciences Building on the Institute campus in Knoxville. Taking its place will be an exciting new Energy and Environmental Science Education Research Building (EESERB), which is planned to open by August 2023. But before physical work can begin, the faculty, staff, and students served by Ellington must have temporary housing. Office and lab space for that will come in a Surge Building to be built behind the North Greenhouse. Construction of the Surge Building is planned to begin early this fall, with the building intended to be in operation late next year.

Sensitivity and Skill for Students with ACEs

A screen capture from the video showing an UT Extension expert teaching a class on ACEs

A difficult home life or past trauma can impact a child’s ability to perform in school—and even hinder the development of their brain. Family experts with UT Extension are working with Tennessee teachers to help them recognize signs of what are called "ACEs"—adverse childhood experiences. Charles Denney of UTIA Marketing and Communications has more about the training, which is designed to help a child grow. A transcript of the video is available.


Common Ground is published monthly by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Send comments and suggestions to commonground@tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.

Real. Life. Solutions.