Hongwei Xin Begins New Role

Dr. Hongwei Xin, UT AgResearch
Hongwei Xin began his new role as Dean of University of Tennessee AgResearch April 1, 2019. Photo by T. Salvador, courtesy UTIA. Download image​.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new era has begun for University of Tennessee AgResearch and the UT Institute of Agriculture. Hongwei Xin, formerly assistant dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, has arrived on campus to begin his new role as dean for UT AgResearch. 

In a letter to staff and stakeholders Xin wrote, “For more than 50 years, UTIA has been serving the people of Tennessee and beyond through mission-oriented research, teaching, and extension/outreach. Working at an esteemed institution with a rich history and culture inspires and invigorates me. In this role, I will strive to connect our farmers and other affected stakeholders with the scientific knowledge to make their operations more efficient and profitable.”

Tim Cross, UTIA chancellor, hosted a reception on April 2 for UTIA faculty and staff to introduce the new dean to his Knoxville-based campus family. He reiterated his appreciation for Xin’s deep understanding of the land-grant mission and his collaborative style. Xin comes to UTIA with an international reputation for research and academic leadership. His work has had major impacts on U.S. and global animal agriculture and has produced significant contributions to scientific literature and engineering practices related to animal production systems. Xin has served as the principal or co-principal investigator of more than $23.7 million in competitive grants and contracts for research, Extension and education programs.

Xin is also known for his collaborative work in facilitating linkages between academics, research and economic development; supporting international academic partnerships; and raising significant private dollars to fund a state-of-the-art poultry teaching and research farm. 

In addition to serving as assistant dean at Iowa State, Xin was the director of the Egg Industry Center (EIC), interim director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) and Animal Science.

Xin serves on numerous scientific advisory boards and committees for academia; industry organizations; and government agencies at state, national and international levels. He has also been instrumental and actively engaged in global capacity building and collaborations toward sustainable animal production. Before joining Iowa State in 1993, he spent more than three years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arkansas conducting broiler housing research.

Fred Tompkins, former head of the Department of Biosystems Engineering, former president and CEO of the UT Research Foundation and former director of the Office of Oak Ridge Operations for the UT System, had been serving as interim dean since April 9, 2018. Tompkins’ service was celebrated on March 29, where he said he was happy to return to his “role” of retired faculty member and administrator.

Xin plans to travel across Tennessee beginning next week to meet the staff and faculty at AgResearch’s 10 research and education centers as well as to greet and engage with various constituents across the state.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu.



Lisa Stearns, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 865-974-7141, lstearns@tennessee.edu