A Servant Leader Passes the Baton

After 27 years of service to UTIA, Senior Vice President and Senior Vice Chancellor Tim Cross retired, effective Aug. 31. Cross began his career at UTIA as an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He went on to become assistant dean and later dean of UT Extension. Since 2016, Cross has served as leader of UTIA, guiding the institute through a $200 million capital campaign; the renaming of the Herbert College of Agriculture—one of three named colleges at UT Knoxville; and several capital improvements, including the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Teaching and Learning Center, to be completed in 2022, and the state-ofthe-art Energy and Environmental Science Research Building, which is expected to replace the Ellington Plant Science Building and Hollingsworth Auditorium in 2024. A national search for Cross’ replacement is underway.

Advances for 4-H and STEM Education

In June, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a new law allowing Tennessee 4-H members to be excused from school and counted present when participating in 4-H activities.

Governor Bill Lee signs a new law surrounded by 4-H participants and personnel
From left, Justin Crowe, director of 4-H Program with UT Extension; Sen. Ferrell Haile; Rep. Rebecca Alexander; Tim Held, State 4-H Council president from Bradley County; Hadley Brown, State 4-H Congress governor from Sumner County; Gov. Bill Lee, front; Natalee Sturgill, State 4-H all-star chief from Fentress County; Bonnie Chandler, State 4-H Council vice-president from Anderson County; Ryan Hensley, executive director of the Tennessee 4-H Foundation with UT Extension; and Amelia Sturgill, 4-H volunteer leader from Fentress County

Enthusiasm for the measure spread on social media, and within days the Tennessee 4-H Facebook post reached 265,920, with 31,783 engagements, including 31 comments and more than 1,400 shares.

Earlier in the spring, the Tennessee Department of Education announced a grant for the Hardeman County Schools STEM program, hosted primarily at UTIA’s Lone Oaks Farm, to develop a new high school program affording students an opportunity to gain postsecondary credit and obtain industry-approved credentialing and professional certifications. The effort is part of a $30 million statewide initiative to encourage schools to create innovative, high-impact high school experiences by developing strategic partnerships with business and industry in their local communities.

Banner Year and Banner Performance for UTIA

UTIA recognized 29 of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon July 30. The in-person event was a welcome return to normalcy after having an online ceremony in 2020 because of the pandemic.

A white man in a white coat in a laboratory setting
Doug Hayes

Doug Hayes, professor in Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, received the Charles E. Wharton Institute Professor Award—the highest honor presented. He studies interfacial behaviors in agricultural and biological systems, including how biodegradable mulch might enhance fruit and vegetable production and soil health.

Descriptions of the awards and winners, as well as a list of faculty promotions, are online at utia.tennessee.edu/2021-awards-promotions.