UT Institute of Agriculture Faculty, Agents and Specialists Honored by Epsilon Sigma Phi

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Extension Professionals Recognized for Leadership and Service in Six Categories

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture faculty members have been recognized with six awards for their commitment to Extension and outreach work across Tennessee. The honors are given by Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a national organization that includes thousands of Extension professionals from land-grant universities across the country. Tennessee Extension professionals were recognized in six of 12 categories across the South.

“These awards really highlight the incredible talent and leadership of UT Extension agents, specialists and professors,” says Michele Atkins, Tennessee ESP Omega Chapter president. “We submitted entries in nine categories, and won six of those. That’s an impressive number,” continues Shelly Barnes, awards and recognition chair for the chapter.

The UT Extension award winners are listed below:
Continued Excellence Award – Janie Burney, professor and nutrition specialist
Administrative Leadership Award – David Perrin, Eastern Region director
Visionary Leadership Award – John Toman, Extension evaluation and staff development specialist
International Service Award – Patsy Watkins, UT Extension Williamson County
Diversity Multicultural Team Award – Kane Reeves, UT-TSU Extension Madison County, and Sharon Tubbs, UT Extension Madison County
Distinguished Team Award – Allisen Penn, Central Region program leader, team leader​

Full descriptions of the award categories and a comprehensive list of winners nationwide is available at the Epsilon Sigma Phi website.

When asked about the success of UT Extension, UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross credits dedicated people and partnerships. “UT Extension has more than a 100-year history of advancing Tennessee, thanks to exceptional county financial support, dedicated employees and volunteers, and a strong partnership with our 1890 institution – Tennessee State University,” he says. “Long-term successful state programs tend to result in professionals who are heavily engaged in associations like Epsilon Sigma Phi.”

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

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Beth Hall Davis

UTIA Marketing & Communications



Janie Burney

David Perrin

John Toman

Patsy Watkins

Kane Reeves

Sharon Tubbs

Allisen Penn

Michele Atkins

Shelly Barnes