UT Interim President Randy Boyd is reorganizing the Knoxville campus, merging the Institute of Agriculture campus into UT-Knoxville and the chancellor of the Ag campus is being demoted to a UT vice president. The change is due to happen July 1, pending approval by the Trustees at a Friday meeting.
The reorganization is spelled out in an email from Boyd to the “UT Family.” Ag Chancellor Tim Cross will report to the president’s office and become a UT vice president in charge of agriculture.
The email, titled “Aligning UT for Global Leadership,” says the merger will leverage the research efforts of UT by combining forces. It appears that the Ag campus will not be the only part of UT to be scrutinized for reorganization.
The email says, beginning in July, Cross and new UT-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman will “organize a team to lead town hall meetings and listening sessions to gather input from stakeholders both inside and outside UT. We believe there are many opportunities for improved alignment, impact and effectiveness, and that our faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters across the state will have the best insights. Tim and Donde and I will review the input and share more details on future plans with our Board of Trustees at our November meeting.”
The suddenness of the change has caused some consternation on the Ag campus. And the Ag merger is taking place before the “listening tour” to talk to stakeholders.
Boyd referred to Cross as the “epitome of exceptional leadership.” Boyd also called the change from Cross being a chancellor to a vice president “elevated leadership.”
“Apologies to the math students and faculty, but I believe this is a case where one plus one equals three. When we work together, the collective impact of the synergies and collaboration gained is far greater than the sum of the parts.”