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University of Tennessee Office of the President: Interim President Randy Boyd
We’ve had the opportunity to talk with many of you this week regarding the unification of UTIA and UT Knoxville through a series of statewide calls and meetings, and have heard the issues raised by faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders. Many of you have expressed concerns that this decision has been rushed, and has been made without sufficient input and discussion.

As university leaders, we are responsible for making decisions daily that advance our mission; however, when those decisions are made, it can sometimes feel rushed or surprising. The decision to unify the Institute with the UT Knoxville campus has been considered in principle by the UT System leadership team for many months, as a means of elevating the reputation of the two entities and establishing more opportunities for collaboration that will benefit our state. While this closer alignment can be accomplished with a simple change in title for the UTIA chancellor and the addition of a role with the UT Knoxville chancellor’s cabinet, we understand your concerns about the potential ramifications of that change for the Institute, and we’re committed to making sure the impacts are positive for all involved.  

With the Board’s approval of the resolution to unify, we plan to immediately appoint a small team of leaders from the UT System, UT Knoxville, and UTIA to develop unification plans, solicit input and feedback about those plans, and then make recommendations regarding implementation. This team will begin a thorough and deliberate process of listening through a series of town halls, working groups, and other methods of input to gather a list of ideas for us to prioritize and execute. The final plans will then be presented to the Board at the November meeting for adoption. The implementation plan will be developed using guiding principles that will provide the foundation of this unification process. The principles we have agreed upon are attached, and will help frame the discussions and approach that is taken as the plan is developed.

The amount of contacts we’ve had, and the passion behind these contacts, reminds us that we have an outstanding family of dedicated alumni, donors, retirees, and employees serving the Institute and the state. The fact that people care and are concerned about this change provides tangible evidence that both our Institute and University are extremely important to Tennessee. We’re committed to approaching this change in a way that elevates and advances both the Institute and the UT Knoxville campus. By having the title of senior vice president/senior vice chancellor for agriculture, Dr. Cross' position will only be behind the president and executive vice president on the System executive team. Working together, and following the development of a thoughtful and effective implementation plan, this change will provide positive benefits to all.
Randy Boyd
Interim President
University of Tennessee
Tim Cross
Chancellor
UT Institute of Agriculture
The University of Tennessee | Office of the President
831 Andy Holt Tower | Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-2241 | Fax: 865-974-3753
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The mission of the University of Tennessee System Administration is to advance the educational, discovery, creative and outreach programs of the campuses and institutes through leadership that removes obstacles, understands needs, provides advocacy, secures resources, promotes accountability, fosters diversity, promotes innovation, coordinates campus efforts and delivers efficient and effective central services.