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Common Ground

The semester is quickly drawing to a close. Congratulations to our CASNR and CVM students who will be graduating on May 6 and May 9, respectively.

The College of Veterinary Medicine recently completed the American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation site visit. Many hours went into preparing for the visit. Congratulations to Dean Thompson and the College's faculty and staff for leading us through this effort.

The UTIA Regional Advisory Councils met again in April. The focus of this round of meetings was on the curriculum in CASNR and CVM. We appreciate the active feedback of the council members.

Allen King has decided to step down as the UTIA representative on the Council on Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching. Allen has served in the role for fifteen years representing UTIA in Washington as an advocate for the land-grant system. Thank you for your service, Allen. Allen is pictured here with his granddaughter, Martha Jane Jameson. Martha is a senior special education major and is the daughter of the 2013 Tennessee Farmer of the Year, Richard Jameson, and his wife, Jane.

The Senate and the House of Representatives approved the Tennessee state budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2015. The state budget includes the funding requested to acquire Lone Oaks Farm, which will become a new 4-H camp and conference center. Total increases to UTIA budget lines are $3.1 million. The budget now goes to the governor for approval.

President DiPietro has requested each campus within the UT System to develop an action plan in reaction to the budget realities that the system faces over the next decade. I wanted you to be aware that we have started the process of working on the action plan. President DiPietro has requested that the action plans contain seven components:

1. Conduct a program realignment initiative to assess low-performing programs to fund program(s) reinvestment.

2. Perform a feasibility analysis and plan for program consolidation(s) that will produce cost savings.

3. Develop a two-year allocation and reallocation plan based upon 6 percent of base year's (FY 14-15) total unrestricted E&G expenditures to address strategic initiatives.

4. Develop a two-year allocation and reallocation plan to address deferred maintenance needs based upon $25 million minimum systemwide including current efforts.

5. Using a workforce development program in concert with the above actions, identify amounts that can be redeployed.

6. Conduct a tuition structure review including expanding differential tuition implementation and/or increasing it, development and implementation of an enrollment growth plan for nonresident students, and further implementation of the 15/4 tuition plan.

7. Non-formula units should review fee structures to ensure activity is capturing actual cost of delivery and should review services being provided for which a fee could be established.

Stay tuned for more information as we go forward. We will be actively engaging the UTIA Advisory Council.

Go Vols,


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

Funding for West Tennessee 4-H Center Secured



Thanks to more than 500 UT advocates who stepped up and contacted their legislators, the University has secured funding for the West Tennessee 4-H Center. The Center was one of the top budget priorities the University advocated for this year. In a message to University supporters, President Joe DiPietro wrote that he strongly believes the state's youth are Tennessee's future leaders, and this facility will give UT Extension and 4-H a valuable tool for preparing our young people with the life skills they need to succeed and lead. The Center will also be a location for adult learning opportunities, as well as many organizations serving youth.

Watch for more information about the Center, what it will mean for youth served by the Institute, and how you can be a part in the weeks and months ahead.

EPP's New Doctoral Program Proposal Moves Forward

The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology (EPP) had a site visit earlier this month from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission along with a consultant from the University of California-Davis regarding its proposal to establish a brand new doctoral program in Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Nematology (EPPN).

The site visit was very successful and THEC and the consultant were extremely impressed with the proposal, EPP and UTIA facilities, and with the quality and enthusiasm of the faculty, staff, and students. They gave a go ahead to the program. Read more in an article by department head Parwinder Grewal. More ...

Researchers to Study Effects of Climate Change on Water Usage



UTIA researchers and Extension specialists will investigate how climate change is affecting water use and availability in the state's Tennessee and Cumberland River basins.

Environmental scientist Forbes Walker of the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science is coordinating a five-year $4.9 million study funded by the USDA. The effort includes researchers from other institutions of higher learning and public and private entities across the state.

"It's a broadbased, far-reaching effort to address a serious concern," Walker says. "The reasons for climate change can be debated ad infinitum, but the region's weather patterns are changing. The volatility we experienced with the drought of 2007 and the West Tennessee and Nashville floods of 2010 show that. The question is 'What are we going to do to address it?'" More ...

CASNR Living Learning Community Engages Freshmen!

A commonly heard quote is "From small beginnings come great things." The CASNR Living Learning Community (LLC) creates a great beginning for freshmen students.

LLCs are communities of students either sharing an interest or major who share space in a residence hall. They get to know each other and through the LLC and the experiences they provide, gain valuable skills and lifelong friends.

Among the eighteen LLCs on campus, CASNR's is one of the largest with sixty-two students and one of the first to fill up each fall. Read about why and learn more about the community in a column by CASNR Dean Caula Beyl.

American Cattlemen Magazine Profiles Animal Science Program

American Cattlemen magazine profiles the UT Institute of Agriculture's Animal Science teaching program in its April 2015 issue. The article appears on page 17 and is followed by an ad for our program: tiny.utk.edu/ag/Am-Cattlemen. This link takes you directly to the article: tiny.utk.edu/ag/Cattlemen.



CASNR Honors Standout Faculty, Staff, and Students



Congratulations to Bill Klingeman, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences. Klingeman won two significant teaching awards this spring, one a Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. The other is CASNR's 2015 W.S. Overton Faculty Award of Merit. Each recognizes a faculty member who has made notable contributions to the development of students.

In addition to Klingeman, CASNR celebrated twenty-six students, faculty, and staff members at its fifty-fifth annual Awards Recognition Program and Reception on April 10. Read about who they are and the recognitions they received.

Three Cheers for EPP!

This spring, faculty and staff in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology swept four of six awards presented by the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center. More ...

First Quarter External Funding Totals $8.5 Million

Sponsored projects for the first quarter of 2015 totaled $8,445,770. Congratulations to the principal and coprincipal investigators, and Extension county directors and agents! Read the report.

External funding is vital to our overall program, and we appreciate the support and efforts of everyone engaged in enhancing our external funding.


CASNR Team Takes First in North American Dairy Challenge



A team of animal science and agricultural and resource economic majors is among the best in the nation when it comes to evaluating dairy farms and animals. The students earned a first place award at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge held recently in Liverpool, New York, receiving the top award in a competition against eight other universities. Read about the importance and value of the competition in Dairy Herd Management magazine and learn more about our team in an Institute news release.

Gina Pighetti, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science, coached the team. "I'm proud of the time and work they put in," says Pighetti. "This was a team effort, and they represented us well."

Forestry Alum Jerri Marr to Give Commencement Address

Trailblazing U.S. Forest Service professional Jerri Marr (B.S. Forestry and Natural Resource Management '92) will deliver the commencement address to CASNR's spring graduates. The college's graduation ceremonies will be held at 11:30 a.m., May 6, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Marr has served in many positions and in various forests since her graduation. She was recently appointed assistant director for recreation for the Forest Service in Washington D.C. There she oversees planning and coordination of outdoor recreation program policies and provides technical leadership and guidance to the national recreation program. More ...

Grundy County Farmer Named Farmer of the Year

UT Extension has named George Clay of Pelham, Tennessee, Farmer of the Year for 2015. Clay's agricultural roots run deep. He first sold certified oat and wheat seeds some fifty-seven years ago, and he's been farming ever since. The third-generation farmer, his wife Edwene, and their sons Eddie, Keith, and Eric currently oversee about 2,100 acres and 110 beef cows—a far cry from the 150 acres Clay first leased in 1958.

Today the Clays raise corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and feeder cattle. Learn about their operation and how the family keeps it sustainable for the future. More ...

H.A.B.I.T. Dogs Sworn in to Help Juveniles in Knox Courtroom

Knox County Juvenile Court is using the bond between man and man's best friend to help children in the area. Five dogs—and their handlers—with the organization H.A.B.I.T., or Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee, were sworn in by Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin.

H.A.B.I.T. is an outreach program of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. The dogs will greet children that come to court, which is often a stressful place for participants. More ...

Novel Supplement Increases Yields in Two Top Tennessee Crops
ORNL, UTRF Recognize UTIA Research Technology



Craig Canaday, a researcher in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, has developed a supplemental seed-coating treatment that has shown to increase yields in both soybean and snap bean, as well as prevent yield loss to seedling diseases.

Results of field tests completed at the Center found the seed treatment supplements boosted snap bean yields by more than 50 percent and soybean yields by more than 10 percent. Snap beans are one of the top vegetable crops in the Southeast, and soybeans are the top agronomic crop in terms of dollar value in Tennessee and the region.

Canaday's technology was introduced at the recent Spark! forum hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the UT Research Foundation (UTRF). This conference allows potential licensees to learn about some of UT and ORNL's most promising technologies and capabilities. More ...

Students Attend MANRRS Conference in Houston

The UT chapter of MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences) traveled to Houston in late March to attend the organization's thirtieth annual national conference.

Joining them at the event was UTIA Advisory Council member Isaac Bennett, center. More ...


Powell High School Students Get Hands-on with Turf Research

Seventeen advanced placement environmental science students at Knox County's Powell High School visited the UTIA's Turfgrass Science and Management program in April.

The students learned what it would be like to conduct land-grant research through hands-on experience at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.

The high school students were challenged to record data, come up with theories, and explain their reasoning. Learn about their taste of college life. More ...



The UT College of Veterinary Medicine will host a Backyard Chicken Owners' Seminar on Saturday, May 2, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Topics include basic chicken care, biosecurity, common diseases, parasites, and egg handling. More ...



The UT College of Veterinary Medicine invites farriers and veterinarians to attend the second annual Equine Podiatry Conference to be held in Knoxville on Saturday, May 16. Topics include lameness issues that require veterinarian/farrier collaborations and demonstration laboratories. More ...



A patient and client at the UT Veterinary Medical Center featured in a Knoxville News Sentinel (KNS) video about a local woman who rescues special needs dachshunds helped garner KNS photographer Amy Smotherman Burgess first place in the video category of the Tennessee Associated Press Awards. More ...

Come to Blooms Days May 9 and 10 for a Bloomin' Good Time!

Save the date of Mother's Day weekend for Blooms Days in the UT Gardens, Knoxville. The home gardener festival returns with botanical vendors, educational talks, and garden tours along with a variety of food and music from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., May 9 and 10.

The UTIA family is invited to a sneak peek and sale from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 8. Watch the Institute website for more details coming soon.

In Knoxville, Meet Sharon Jean-Philippe, Assistant Professor of Urban Forestry

What do you do in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries?

I serve as faculty adviser for students majoring in forestry in the urban forestry concentration and as the primary director of summer internship opportunities for the concentration. I teach five courses in the urban forestry concentration: Principles of Urban Forestry (FORS 335), Practical Arboriculture (FORS 345), Inventory and Assessment of Urban Lands (FORS 430), Trees and the Law (FORS 435), and Urbanization and Urban Soils (FORS 433).


Additionally, I have coordinated two First Year Studies courses (FYS 129 Fun in the Sun) and (FYS 129 Food Safety, Security and Hunger Local/International) and one University Honors (UNHO Fun and the Sun) course during the spring and fall of freshman year. My research addresses the effects of land use and land cover in urban areas on above and below ground biota and ecosystem function.

How long have you been with UTIA?

Five years as of July 1, 2015.

What is the best part of your job?

Working with students...especially doing hands-on activities. From community gardens work, teaching about knots from tree climbing, to surveying urban lands in the field. These experiential opportunities greatly enhance students' learning.

Other thoughts?

I hope that my teaching and research are adding value and responding to the land-grant mission of the university.



The ten-year anniversary of the Tennessee Healthy Hardwoods Field Days features field demonstrations of cutting logs with a portable sawmill, techniques for chainsaw safety, and tips on how to use an ATV to lift and drag logs. More ...



As part of a national philanthropic event, the ophthalmology service at the College of Veterinary Medicine will provide free eye screening exams for certified service dogs on May 8. In conjunction with the event, the Canine Arthritis, Rehabilitation, Exercise, and Sports Medicine (CARES) service at UTCVM is also offering orthopedic and gait evaluations to keep these important animals healthy. Preregistration is required.



The UT Veterinary Medical Center aided in an Appalachian bear rescue earlier this month, treating two tiny cubs weighing less than four pounds each for dehydration. The cubs are now in rehabilitative care by a rescue organization. More ...

In Memoriam

Harold Julian, Union County Extension agent from 1949 to 1975. Julian was known for his 4-H programs and expertise in dairy science. The community, including many of his former "kids," turned out to celebrate him last August at a 4-H Chick Chain sale and show. He started the Chick Chain locally as an agent decades ago. More ...

UTIA Photo Contest Winner—Advancing Academic Excellence

Chauntel Bennett, a member of the College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2017, took this photo at CVM Leadership Camp and shared it in the 2015 UTIA Photo Competition, which illustrated the Institute's Four Pillars. She won first place for the image. She described the image as, "Incoming vet students get challenged to push their boundaries and learn new leadership skills while meeting their future classmates before classes start."

Congratulations to Chauntel and to everyone who took part in this year's contest. An email announcing all winners will go out to the UTIA community soon. Meanwhile you can view all entries online by clicking here.



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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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