Professor Janie Burney Honored with Continued Excellence Award​

Picture of Janie Burney accepting award
​Janie Burney, left, accepts the Continued Excellence Award. She is pictured with Johnny Barnes, past president of the Tennessee Omega chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi. Image courtesy UTIA. Download image​

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture faculty members have been recognized with six awards for their commitment to Extension and outreach work across Tennessee. The honors are given by Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a national organization that includes thousands of Extension professionals from land-grant universities across the country. Tennessee Extension professionals were recognized in six of 12 categories across the South.

“These awards really highlight the incredible talent and leadership of UT Extension agents, specialists and professors,” says Michele Atkins, Tennessee ESP Omega Chapter president. “We submitted entries in nine categories, and won six of those. That’s an impressive number,” continues Shelly Barnes, awards and recognition chair for the chapter.

Janie Burney, a professor and nutrition specialist for UT Extension, was honored with the Epsilon Sigma Phi Continued Excellence Award. Designed to recognize an experienced Extension professional with more than two years of experience, this award is given annually. Recipients must have exhibited continued leadership, initiative and excellence in Extension program planning, delivery, evaluation, or administration on a state, regional, or national level.

Burney has served with UT Extension for 30 years. She provides leadership for statewide nutrition and consumer food safety programs and has served as the state Expanded Food and Nutrition Education coordinator for 24 years. Her UT Extension programs focus on healthy food choices, culinary nutrition and food safety. ​

"Working with UT Extension is the most rewarding job I have ever had, because I have an opportunity to help families in Tennessee improve their lives by making healthy food choices," says Burney. "I am very honored to receive this award, because it comes from my colleagues, Extension agents and specialists I have worked with throughout my career." 

The full list of UT Extension award winners are listed below:

Continued Excellence Award – Janie Burney, professor and nutrition specialist

Administrative Leadership Award – David Perrin, Eastern Region director

Visionary Leadership Award – John Toman, Extension evaluation and staff development specialist

International Service Award – Patsy Watkins, UT Extension Williamson County

Diversity Multicultural Team Award – Kane Reeves, UT-TSU Extension Madison County, and Sharon Tubbs, UT Extension Madison County

Distinguished Team Award – Allisen Penn, Central Region program leader, team leader​

Full descriptions of the award categories and a comprehensive list of winners nationwide is available at the Epsilon Sigma Phi website.

When asked about the success of UT Extension, UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross credits dedicated people and partnerships. “UT Extension has more than a 100-year history of advancing Tennessee, thanks to exceptional county financial support, dedicated employees and volunteers, and a strong partnership with our 1890 institution - Tennessee State University,” he says. “Long-term successful state programs tend to result in professionals who are heavily engaged in associations like Epsilon Sigma Phi.”

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



Beth Hall Davis, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 865-974-7141,