Two UTIA Leaders Honored by APLU

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Neal Schrick and Hongwei Xin Recognized as FSLI Fellows

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two leaders from within the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture were recently honored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Neal Schrick, head of the Department of Animal Science and interim head of the Department of Food Science, and Hongwei Xin, dean and director of UT AgResearch, are among a cohort of twenty-five Fellows of the Food Systems Leadership Institute for 2020. The group was honored during a recognition ceremony in the recent virtual annual meeting of the APLU. The Fellows were recognized for their accomplishments in completing the FSLI executive leadership development program and for contributions to their individual organizations and the broader higher education and food systems. 

The FSLI is a two-year program designed for experienced leaders in academia, government and industry.  Through a dynamic curriculum that includes three executive-style residential sessions, individual coaching, mentoring and personal projects, the FSLI seeks to enhance personal leadership ability, develop skills and knowledge for organizational change, and broaden perspectives on integrated food systems.  

Fellows report that the FSLI experience significantly impacted their leadership abilities. More than 40% of the FSLI Fellow alumni have experienced promotions, selection to lead high-profile initiatives, election to university-wide leadership posts, and other recognitions. Other Fellows are using their enhanced leadership and broader food systems perspectives to lead change from their current positions.   

The FSLI program was created with financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is operated in a partnership between North Carolina State University, The Ohio State University, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  More information on the FSLI is available at

The complete list of 2020 Fellows includes:

Todd J. Applegate, Department Head, Poultry Science, University of Georgia

Sheryl Barringer, Department Chair, Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut

Susan E. Duncan, Associate Director, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, Virginia Tech

Jeff Edwards, Department Head, Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University

Deacue Fields, Dean and Associate Vice President, Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, University of Arkansas

Garey Fox, Department Head, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, NC State University

Elena Irwin, Faculty Director, Sustainability Institute and Distinguished Professor of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in Economics and Sustainability, The Ohio State University 

Kenneth R. Jones, Director, Program and Staff Development, Community and Leadership Development, University of Kentucky

Stephanie Jung, Department Head, Professor, Food Science and Nutrition, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Venu (Kal) Kalavacharla,
 Associate Dean for Research, Professor and Director, Center for Integrated Biological & Environmental Research, College of Agriculture Science and Technology, Delaware State University 

Robert Kallenbach, Associate Dean and Senior Program Director – Agriculture and Environment Extension, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. University of Missouri

Stefan Niewiesk,
Professor and Former Chair of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

Tom Porter, Professor, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland

K.P. Sandeep, Department Head, Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, NC State University

Neal Schrick, Department Head, Animal Science, University of Tennessee

Raymon Shange,
 Director of Carver Integrative Sustainability Center, Associate Extension Administrator/Associate Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences,  Tuskegee University

Adel Shirmohammadi, Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Technology and Former Associate Dean for Research and Assoc Director of Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Maryland

Tara P. Smith,
Regional Director, Central Region, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center

Sriram R. Tharmapuram, Director-Consumer Science, Abbott Nutrition R & D

Johan B. Ubbink,
Professor and Head, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota

Bob Wagner, Professor and Head, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

Shannon Washburn,
Professor and Chair, Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, The Ohio State University –formerly Assistant Dean, College of Agriculture, Academic Programs, Kansas State University

Hongwei Xin, Dean and Director of UT AgResearch, University of Tennessee.


Patricia McDaniels

UTIA Marketing and Communications


Neal Schrick, Animal Science

Hongwei Xin, UT AgResearch