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Common Ground

A collage of images including a field being harvested, a cluster of grapes, and a close-up of a cow

Celebrating at the Rock

Entering freshmen, transfer students, and residents of Herbert College of Agriculture's Living Learning Community all gathered at the Rock on September 6 to celebrate the new College naming. Painting of the rock began at midnight with students gathering for photos at 8:30 a.m. The early arrival was deemed wise to ensure their own message was still in place on the frequently painted campus landmark.

Two Favorite Events Just Days Away!

Screen capture from video about 4-H youth participating in a crime scene camp

We invite Knoxville-area faculty and staff to our annual appreciation luncheon this Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Brehm Animal Science Arena. Please join me and our Institute leaders for lunch, which will be sponsored by the Tennessee Cattlemen's Association and the Tennessee Beef Council. A vegetarian option will also be available. This is a great opportunity to preview our Ag Day exhibits and meet many of the faculty and staff who will represent their departments at Ag Day.

Ag Day will start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and last three hours, giving you plenty of time to get to your seat before the UT Volunteers take on the Florida Gators! Ag Day is a festive opportunity for us to showcase the important work being done throughout the Institute and to connect with alumni, students, parents, retirees, and stakeholders from across the state. We will also recognize Ed Carter with the Meritorious Service Award, Colleen Cruze Bhatti with the Horizon Award, and John Verell as the Farmer of the Year at a presentation starting at 4:00 p.m. The Ag Day exhibits will also be available for viewing on Friday, September 21, during the annual UTIA faculty and staff appreciation luncheon starting at 11:30. Join us for both events!

2018 Awards & Honors Presented

A photo of the 2018 award recipients and honorees

We honored some of our top faculty, staff, researchers, and Extension experts at UTIA's annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon in August. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni, and friends of the Institute. The people we recognized at our ceremony exemplify the Institute's commitment to our mission of providing Real. Life. Solutions. Their hard work and dedication inspire all of us to be our best.

Farm Dinner Theater Deemed a Winner

Screen capture from video about 4-H youth participating in a crime scene camp

While we are on the topic of awards, congratulations to members of a Tennessee-Kentucky Extension team for their selection as a national winner at the 2018 National Association of County Agricultural Agents annual meeting. The conference was held this year in Chattanooga with leadership and assistance from many UT Extension agents and specialists. The team of agriculture and family and consumer science agents coupled with a Kentucky researcher won first place in the Search for Excellence for Farm Health and Safety category for their program Farm Dinner Theater. The list of contributors that made the program possible is lengthy. The effort is described in a technical paper and in the PowerPoint presentation the agents gave at the conference.

Message from the Chancellor

Our leadership team recently completed a Title IX training focused on compliance with the UT policy on sexual misconduct, relationship violence, stalking, and retaliation. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for everyone and prevent these kinds of behaviors. When issues do occur, we're committed to responding effectively and in a timely manner to each and every concern that is reported, and we're asking all of our employees to complete the training to ensure Institute-wide compliance. Our objective is to uphold the core values, especially respect and accountability, that have made our UTIA family strong for many generations so that our future is as bright as our past for all our employees, students, and stakeholders. Look for details on how to complete the training in a postcard and email sent by the Office of Title IX.

I hope to see you at the 2018 Ag Day event on Saturday, September 22, beginning four and a half hours prior to the UT vs. Florida football game. There's something for everyone again this year. The event will feature exhibits as well as faculty and staff representing our colleges, departments, and centers; tasty rib eye sandwiches for purchase; a brief program to recognize the Tennessee Farmer of the Year and our two UTIA award winners, and so much more. This is always a great chance to connect with friends and alumni from across the state, and I look forward to it every year.

Working together, we'll all win, just like the Vols do when they meet the Gators.


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

Photo of a Herbert student being hugged by a kangaroo

Free Speech at the University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee is committed to an environment that supports free speech for all students and faculty. The University has addressed the many dimensions of free speech in a policy for students and faculty that affirms its principles.

Photo of a discussion in Nepal

In Nepal, UTIA Researchers Go to New Heights in Outreach

UTIA researchers traveled to Nepal in June to garner a better understanding of the intersection between adaptive resource management strategies and perceptions of forest-dependent communities as it relates to climate change and a growing tourism industry. Through the UTIA International Seed Grant program, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers traveled to the Sagarmatha National Park, home of Mt. Everest.

Be sure to join the Smith International Center for its third annual showcase and study abroad fair on September 27, as well as its other events this fall.

Photo of a student during the White Coat Ceremony

A Warm Welcome to UTCVM's Newest Class

The College of Veterinary Medicine celebrated entering members of the class of 2022 during its White Coat Ceremony. The annual event is a welcome by UTCVM members to their newest colleagues-in-training to the study of the profession.

Photo of a student during the White Coat Ceremony

Our Construction Zones—and for Great Causes—Ahead

UTIA will be busy with several capital projects in the upcoming year. Two new projects on the agricultural campus in Knoxville are about to enter the design phase. One is the Teaching and Learning Center for the UTCVM Veterinary Medical Center. The anticipated total project cost is $9 million, with classes beginning in the facility targeted for 2021.

The other building is the Energy and Environmental Science Education Research Building (EESERB), with an expected total project cost of $95 million. The Center will replace the Ellington Plant Sciences Building and is tentatively planned to begin operation for classes in August 2023. Other projects are underway or will be soon across the state. Future issues of Common Ground will include updates on these and other projects that follow.

A Moment in UTIA's Fifty Years

In 2010, UT Extension commemorated its centennial of impacting lives and transforming Tennessee with statewide observations, proclamations, and a special anniversary publication. The earliest point on a timeline of Extension history contained in the report was 1909 when W.W. Campbell and Virginia P. Moore, working with county superintendents of education, began Boys Corn Clubs and Women's and Girls Canning Clubs. Thanks to a digital collection created by the UT Libraries, you can step back to those early days to tour a gallery of images of Moore and learn about her. Today UT Extension continues its commitment to agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H Youth Development with Extension agents in every county helping people of all ages solve problems and lead richer, fuller lives. Our Extension agents are the two-way link between Tennesseans, both urban and rural, and the university specialists, scientists, and researchers who serve them. Education is Extension’s goal. So much so, it is no wonder that UT Extension county offices are considered the front door to the University of Tennessee for the citizens of Tennessee.

A photo of students at the Herbert College of Agriculture


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.