Animal Science Lecturer Jessy Harris Shanks Wins Outstanding Teaching Award

Jessy Harris Shanks

Jessy Harris Shanks (center), a lecturer in Animal Science, was honored with the Institute’s Williams – E.R. “Prof” Lidvall Outstanding Teaching Award.​Also pictured are UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross (left) and Caula Beyl, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Photo courtesy UTIA.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recently presented several awards to top faculty, staff, researchers and extension experts. More than two dozen people were recognized at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon held on the UTIA campus in Knoxville July 28, 2017. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.

Jessy Harris Shanks, a lecturer in Animal Science, was honored with the Institute’s Williams – E.R. “Prof” Lidvall Outstanding Teaching Award. This award was established by Donald Williams, a 1961 graduate of the College of Agriculture, and honors his former professor and mentor, Professor E.R. Lidvall. The award recognizes faculty who exemplify Lidvall’s commitment to excellence in the classroom

“I am honored to receive the Williams-Lidvall Outstanding Teaching Award presented in memory of Professor Lidvall,” Shanks says. “Teaching is a true passion of mine and I am thankful that I have been able to positively impact students in and out of the classroom. I have many mentors that I continually look up to, and pray that I can be this type of mentor to my students for years to come.”

Animal science is a diverse and fascinating blend of sciences that changes quickly in today’s world. Shanks has been with Animal Science six years now, teaching courses such as Animal Biotechnology and Management, Livestock Merchandising and Sheep/Goat Management. She’s also faculty advisor for the Block and Bridge club.

Shanks says her main goal is for students to learn by doing. She teaches in classrooms, but also barns, labs and pastures. For someone so young, the teaching awards are piling up. Shanks has won the Gamma Sigma Delta teaching award, the Golda Moss teaching award, the CASNR Faculty Advising award, and the Buford Ellington Distinguished Faculty award.

“I look forward to continuing my career here in the animal science department teaching about livestock production, and I hope that Professor Lidvall would be proud of the educator and mentor I have become,” Shanks says. “Professor Lidvall was truly a legend in the livestock judging community and will live on in the memory of his students. To receive this award that is presented in honor of him is truly an achievement I will not soon forget.” 

UTIA Chancellor Dr. Tim Cross hosted the award winners, and praised them for their work. “The people at the UT Institute of Agriculture word hard every day to deliver real life solutions to our many stakeholders,” Cross says. “Recognition of the outstanding work by our award winners inspires all of us to strive for excellence and make a difference in the lives of Tennesseans.”

Away from work, Shanks enjoys time with her husband and their young daughter, as well as raising cattle and sheep herself, quilting, sewing and reading.
And Shanks bears a striking resemblance to another person who has frequented the UTIA Ag campus.
She has an identical twin Josey, who used to be an Extension agent in Rhea County, and now teaches Ag at Lenoir City High school.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.



Charles Denney, 865-382-8058 (mobile),

Jessy Harris Shanks, 865-974-4160,