The University of Tennessee has named Buddy Mitchell, vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture, the interim chancellor for the institute.

Mitchell will replace Chancellor Joe DiPietro, who was elected president of the University of Tennessee in October by the Board of Trustees. Mitchell will begin his interim assignment Jan. 1, 2011.

A search for a new chancellor is planned to begin before the end of the year and expected to be complete by July 1, 2011.

“I am grateful to Buddy for his long-term commitment to the Institute and the University of Tennessee as well as his willingness to serve in an interim capacity again,” Interim UT President Jan Simek said in announcing Mitchell’s appointment.

Mitchell, who has worked at UT since 1984, also served as interim vice president of agriculture prior to DiPietro’s appointment in 2006 and beginning in 1998 during a search that resulted in Jack Britt’s appointment as vice president of agriculture. The leadership title was changed from vice president to chancellor in June.

As vice chancellor, he oversees development and government relations for the Institute of Agriculture. Mitchell has served in other administrative roles at UT including associate vice president for federal relations.

A native of McLemoresville, Tenn., Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in general agriculture at UT Martin and his master’s degree in agricultural economics at UT Knoxville.

Simek said a search firm will be hired to aid in the search for the next chancellor, and he will appoint a search committee in the near future. The chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture oversees the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension.