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Common Ground

Photo of Chancellor Cross

As I reflect on the past few weeks and Ag Day in particular, I think about leadership. We had the very good fortune at this Ag Day to host a visit by Sonny Perdue, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture. The visit arose quickly and its success was enabled by close teamwork involving faculty, staff, students, and unit leaders.

This issue of Common Ground also reflects many examples of outstanding leadership, from Alan Galloway being elected as president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) to Steve Sutton becoming only the seventh member of Tennessee 4-H inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

We also recognize the outstanding accomplishments of three other members of the Institute. Professors Michael Smith and William Hart and graduate Jerri Marr have all been nationally honored as mentors and pioneers in their fields.

Each month we benefit from leadership and dedication of all our faculty and staff who carry out duties that enable UTIA to fulfill its mission to serve Tennesseans and people well beyond our borders. Thank you for what you do, and the contributions you make to the Institute.


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

USDA Secretary of Agriculture Hosted by UTIA

Lady in her vegetable plot

It was an honor to host USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on his visit to UTIA. Perdue participated in Ag Day and assisted in presenting the recognition awards given during the event. Secretary Perdue also met with faculty and staff as he toured the Department of Food Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine's Large Animal Unit, the UT Gardens, and the Central Greenhouse.

Record Setting CASNR Enrollment

Lady in her vegetable plot

Undergraduate student enrollment in CASNR has been on an upward trajectory for more than a decade. This fall for the first time, the number of students pursuing bachelor's degrees surpassed 1,500. Why the increasing numbers? College Associate Dean John Stier says reasons are not hard to find.

National Awards for Three of UTIA

Lady in her vegetable plot

A US organization committed to increasing diversity, decreasing disparities, and reducing incidents of barriers to minorities has honored three of UTIA. At its National Role Models Conference, September 29 through October 1, Minority Access Inc., presented elite honors to three members of UTIA. Our faculty members William (Willie) Hart and Michael (Mike) Smith were two of five individuals celebrated as Faculty Mentor Role Models. CASNR alumna Jerri Marr was one of five men and women chosen as Alumni Role Models. More...

From Dean Jim Thompson
UTCVM'S Office of Laboratory Animal Care
& Its New Director

Great research programs require persistence, sharp focus, and dedicated people committed to hard work. As our university advances the body of biomedical and scientific knowledge, our animal facilities are dedicated to providing excellent service in support of our university research and teaching missions while ensuring the safe and ethical treatment of the animals. UTCVM's Office of Laboratory Animal Care (OLAC) is fully responsible for research animal oversight and healthcare at the Knoxville-area campuses. I'm pleased to introduce its new director, Dr. Lori Cole. More...

Launch of the Smith International Seminar Series

The Office of International Programs is launching a monthly brown bag series for faculty and students. At the talks, faculty can learn more about developing and growing international activities. Students can gain ideas about international opportunities available during their time at UTIA and also about careers in academia, and if that career can include international activities.

Ky Pohler with cows

This new monthly series will span ongoing international engagement by UTIA faculty across teaching, research, and Extension. Brown bag lunches start October 20 from noon to 1 p.m in 264 Brehm with Ky Pohler, assistant professor in Animal Science, talking about building partnerships in Brazil. Also join the International Programs Office on November 21 at the same time in A118 UTCVM. That day Luca Giori of UTCVM's Biomedical and Diagnostic Lab will discuss his experience in developing veterinary student internship programs in Italy.

For more information and the seminar schedule, visit this link.

In Knoxville, Meet Charlie Parker
Director of the Construction Science Program in CASNR

Photo of Bob Hayes

What do you do as program director?

Given the youth of the construction science program, founded in 2010, my responsibilities are constantly evolving. I actively teach numerous construction courses, sponsor the student club, and advise students, in addition to directing the program. As its first director, I strive to provide our students with the greatest opportunities available, both in internships and positions upon graduation. I take pride that more than 85 percent of our 110+ students intern annually and 100 percent have found degree-related positions at graduation.

How long have you been a member of the Institute?

I am completing my fourth year within the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, which is home to the construction science program. Previously I coordinated the construction program at East Tennessee State University for twenty-seven years. Prior to 1986, I was partnered in a construction firm in Pensacola, Florida, and taught at the University of West Florida.

To read the complete profile, click here.

Extension and 4-H Recognitions for Two

Sunbelt medallion

UT Extension area specialist Alan Galloway is the new president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA). He was sworn in at its recent annual meeting and professional improvement conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served as vice president and president-elect of the association for the past two years, and his term as president will end with the 2018 NACAA meeting to be held in Chattanooga next July. Galloway is the one hundredth president of NACAA and is only the third Tennessee member to serve as president of this national organization.

Sunbelt medallion

Of the four "H's" in 4-H—head, heart, hands, and health—it was his heart Steve Sutton gave away so willingly across five decades of service to 4-H and UT Extension. Now he is being recognized as someone who has made a lifetime commitment to Tennessee youth. Sutton was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on October 6. He is one of sixteen people to be inducted this year, and one of only seven Tennesseans to have received this honor. More...

Honoring Our Veterans

UTIA student and veteran

As Veterans Day nears, America shows its gratitude to our military. One place you can find a surprising number of veterans is on a college campus –like the University of Tennessee. UT has more than 500 veterans working toward degrees, and we're proud to say we have sixty-three veterans in CASNR and UTCVM.

Here's a video about a veteran studying animal science, with more on his brave past and promising future.

News Updates

  • Bewitching Beasts! at the UT Gardens, Knoxville, a youth and family program, Saturday, October 21
  • Howl-O-Ween at the UT Gardens, Knoxville, Sunday, October 22
  • Organic Crops Field Tour, at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center—Organic Crops Unit on Thursday, October 26
  • Buggy Buffet, in Hollingsworth Auditorium, on Thursday, October 26

An Outstanding Year for UTIA Advancement

Photo of Bob Hayes

Claudia and Tom Amidon first encountered UT when their cat, Bandit, contracted cancer. Dr. Lindsey Williamson, a neurology resident at the time at UTCVM, walked the couple through diagnostic options. But more importantly, the individuals the Amidons encountered during the care of their cat at UT, including Williamson, made a lasting impact. Learn about how experiences like these often lead non-alums to contribute to support and advance UTIA and its units. More...

In Memoriam

Photo of a lily

Hugh Dwight Loveday Sr., Loveday was a 4-H volunteer leader in Blount County for many years and a retiree of the UT Motor Pool. Also, the father of H. Dwight Loveday, associate professor in the Department of Food Science.

Fun at Ag Day 2017

Photo of crowd at Ag Day

Ag Day—#utiagday—offered participants lively experiences with UTIA—@UTIAg—and the world of agriculture, including such #tnmagicmoments as cradling a newborn chick. Look for images using other tags, too, like #AGday17.

At the event, the Institute's Meritorious Service Award was presented to longtime UTIA friend Charles Wharton. Dr. Wesley Lyons, a 2014 UTCVM graduate, was honored with the Institute Horizon Award, signifying high achievements by a recent alumnus, and Tennessee Farmer of the Year, Mike Robinson of Franklin County, was recognized. Read about it here. And I hope to see you in 2018 at next fall's Ag Day. Watch for an announcement of the date ahead.

Photo of a young girl holding a chick


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 without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

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