A Decade of Excellence

Ten-Year Strategic Plan for UTIA, 2018-2028

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) is at the core of the land-grant mission. We fulfill that mission through the excellent and innovative work of outstanding faculty, staff, and students.

The challenges ahead of us are significant as we look to create Real. Life. Solutions. for our state’s and our world’s most pressing agricultural issues. This strategic plan serves as our guide.

As we celebrate fifty years as the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, it is only fitting that we honor the past while turning our focus to the future. In 2017, UTIA began the process of creating a new strategic plan to guide the Institute through its next decade. The result, A Decade of Excellence, will provide a framework for faculty and staff as we work to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Population growth, evolving technology, and increasing globalization create great challenges—and perhaps even greater opportunities for UTIA to improve the lives of people in our state and across the globe. With experts in many diverse areas, UTIA is poised to help ease Tennessee’s educational attainment gaps, bolster economic opportunities on and off the farm, conserve natural resources, provide solutions to complex health and family challenges, and help the Tennessee farming community transition to the next generation. Through its commitment to the land-grant mission and unique ability to create holistic solutions that span disciplines, UTIA will:

  1. Drive Discovery
  2. Expand Real Life Learning 
  3. Rapidly Deploy Solutions 
  4. Deliver Programs that Improve Lives 
  5. Grow and Diversify Resources 
  6. Improve Institute Effectiveness

When the University of Tennessee System Board of Trustees met in 1968 to consider the creation of the Institute of Agriculture, Ed Boling, then-vice president for development and administration, stressed that agriculture’s connection throughout the state, coupled with the Institute’s unique and powerful service programs, further strengthened UT’s land-grant mission. Thanks to the foresight of Boling and others, we are in a strong position to serve. Given the competing challenges we face, our faculty and staff can connect across our strengths to better serve our mission and clients. This is an Institute of Agriculture plan for good reason. Working together we have the ability to change the world by providing Real. Life. Solutions. for many years to come.

Our Mission

As a land-grant institute, we provide Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery, and service.

Our Vision

Over the next decade, we will excel as an Institute by developing practical solutions and services that advance agriculture, education, natural resource management, human and animal health, and our communities.

To accomplish our vision we will . . .

  • Connect across strengths within UTIA and with partners.
  • Focus on grand challenges and established priorities.
  • Help people and communities adapt to an ever-changing world.

Our Values

  • Respect
  • Science-based solutions
  • Diversity
  • Responsiveness to constituent needs
  • Transparency
  • Accountability

Our Priorities

We are committed to discovery and solutions that boost our economy, protect the environment, and enhance health for the people of Tennessee and our world.

  • Supporting food, fiber, and energy systems
  • Enhancing biodiversity and environmental quality
  • Enriching our economy
  • Developing our workforce
  • Strengthening our health

Supporting Food, Fiber, and Energy Systems

Safe, sustainable agricultural systems that are socially, economically, and environmentally responsible are key to enhancing the lives of Tennesseans and supporting a growing global population. We’re exploring ways to deliver discoveries using a systems approach to agriculture productivity that will provide customizable solutions for producers.

Enhancing Biodiversity and Environmental Quality

When it comes to plants and animals, Tennessee is one of the most environmentally diverse states in the nation. It’s vital that all of us work together to protect the earth for ourselves and those who come after us. Through collaboration among UTIA researchers, industry, producers, environmental groups, and government, we can help preserve a diverse and resilient environment for future generations.

Enriching Our Economy

Helping farms and agriculture businesses become more profitable boosts the local economy as well as our state’s diverse and growing economy. From farmers markets to agritourism to a rich agricultural history, we want to share an engaging experience of the rural lifestyle with visitors from across the country and the world.

Developing Our Workforce

A key component for thriving communities is a strong workforce in rural and urban areas. UTIA plays a major role in educating students moving into that workforce to solve present and upcoming challenges. Through outreach and engagement UTIA also is educating youth to better understand the vital role that agriculture and animal industries play in people’s lives and the career opportunities these industries provide.

Strengthening Our Health

Making healthy choices is important for humans, animals, and even our planet. As a leader in nutrition, animal welfare, and environmental education, we’re working to understand how food, physical, activity, and social intervention affect overall health. These efforts will help us lead healthier lives for generations to come.


View Progress Dashboard

Drive Discovery
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Expand Real Life Learning
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Deploy Solutions
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Deliver Programs
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Grow and Diversify
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Improve Effectiveness
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Additional Institute and Unit Planning Documents