Well-known in agricultural circles across, Tim Cross has been named dean of University of Tennessee Extension, the outreach unit of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, with programs in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, youth development, and resource development.
UT Extension maintains offices in every county in the state and serves the citizens of Tennessee through educational programs geared for farm and agricultural business management; consumer, nutrition and food science; and youth development. The statewide 4-H youth program managed by UT Extension is among the largest in the nation with more than 335,000 young people participating in 4-H clubs, summer camps and after school programs.
Cross currently serves as associate dean of UT Extension.
Joseph DiPietro, UT vice president for agriculture, said, “We are pleased that Dr. Cross will step into this new role. He brings a wealth of academic, outreach, administrative, and leadership talents and experiences to the position.”
Cross, an agricultural economist by training, has served as a faculty member at UT and other institutions. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Oklahoma State University in 1980 and 1982, respectively, and served as an instructor of agricultural economics, marketing and policy at Fort Hayes State University before pursuing his doctoral degree at Oregon State University. After receiving his Ph.D. from Oregon State in 1991, Cross continued to serve on the faculty of that institution until 1994, when he came to UT as an associate professor of agricultural economics with UT Extension.
Cross was responsible for developing and delivering educational programs concerning the economics of livestock management, animal waste management, forage production, and sustainable agriculture. By 1998 he had achieved the rank of professor, and in 2001 was named as assistant dean of UT Extension. In 2006 he earned the title of associate dean. As a UT administrator, Cross has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining partnerships with other units of the Institute and the University, external organizations, state and federal agencies, and other groups.
Cross believes UT Extension is well positioned to help youth, families, farmers, and communities in meeting future challenges and issues. “Developing renewable sources of energy, increasing the life skills of youth, and reducing the incidence of obesity in the state’s population are just a few examples of the ways we can make a difference in the lives of Tennesseans,” he said. “The support of the University of Tennessee, the Institute of Agriculture, and the many partners of UT Extension combined with outstanding specialists, agents and staff suggests a very bright future for our educational programs.”
A frequent author and invited speaker, Cross has served in numerous local, regional and national leadership roles, including participating in the National Extension Leadership Development Program and the Southeast Natural Resource Leadership Institute, which works to help groups involved in contentious natural resources issues move beyond conflict toward consensus building and collaborative problem solving.
Cross is a member of the UT Academic Outreach Council, representing Extension, Outreach and Continuing Education, and he is currently participating in the Food Systems Leadership Institute, a three-year program to broadened understanding of food systems topics, including health and nutrition, food production and supply chains, and the environment.
Cross will take the reins of UT Extension on Aug. 1. He replaces Charles Goan who has served as interim dean for the past 32 months. Goan had previously announced plans to retire in December 2008.
Cross’ appointment follows a national search, and he was among four finalists from institutions that included Auburn University, Pennsylvania State University, and Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.