By Sabrina Bates
MVP Regional News Editor
During the next month, the University of Tennessee System will be making transitions that will specifically impact leadership at UT Martin. In a bittersweet announcement last week, current UTM Chancellor Dr. Keith Carver will transition to a leadership role for the system’s Institute of Agriculture. Pending full board approval, Carver begins his new role March 1. He has served as UTM’s chancellor for the last six years.
“As you may already know or will hear today, I will be leaving UT Martin on March 1, 2023, to become the Senior Vice Chancellor/Senior Vice President of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. This is a bittersweet day for Hollianne and me. Know that we wrestled with this decision and considered many factors before making a decision,” Dr. Carver noted on his “Chancellor’s Corner” page of the UTM website.
UT Martin Provost Dr. Philip Acree Cavalier will serve as interim chancellor at UT Martin. Cavalier was named to the provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs position in 2018, following Dr. Gerald Ogg’s decision to return to the classroom full time after serving as provost for a decade. The university will launch a search for a new chancellor in the coming weeks.
“We have loved serving UT Martin for over six years during my time as chancellor. It’s been such an honor to work with you to advocate for UT Martin’s academic programs and incredible people since January 2017. We have enjoyed representing UT Martin across West Tennessee and the surrounding region, celebrating with you at university events and opening up our home for meals, card games and s’mores.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to continue working for the University of Tennessee and leading the Institute of Agriculture. Hollianne, Britton and l will be reuniting with our two adult children in East Tennessee, and we are excited to be in Knoxville for the birth of our first grandchild this summer,” the chancellor noted.
UT System President Randy Boyd announced UTIA’s current vice chancellor, Carrie Castille, will move to a special advisor to the System president position. According to a news release issued by the UT System, UTIA is thriving with record research expenditures, increased enrollment, expanding programs, including its first School of Natural Resources, and a strong Extension presence in all 95 counties. Over the next several months, Castille will advise the president on issues of agriculture-related policy, and federal grant opportunities.
Carver, who previously served as executive assistant to UT President Joe DiPietro, will head UTIA in a two-year limited duration appointment to provide stability and leadership to the institute. The UT Institute of Agriculture provides solutions to problems across the state through UT Extension, UT AgResearch, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and the Herbert College of Agriculture.
“We appreciate Carrie’s service and are very excited to have Keith move into this statewide role with UTIA,” said Boyd. “His experience across the UT system, collaborative spirit and his deep appreciation for UT’s land grant mission made him an obvious choice for this role.”
“Agriculture is central to Tennessee’s economy and way of life,” said Plowman. “Keith will hit the ground running and support the important work happening all across UTIA. I look forward to working with him in this new way. I appreciate the energy and passion for agriculture that Carrie has and wish her all the best in her new pursuits.”
Carver is well-known in the Weakley County community for maintaining a “town and gown” relationship, which continued and strengthened the university’s partnership with its community. He also maintains an involved relationship with the student body on campus, from joining the ROTC program on morning workouts to attending a town hall forum in Dresden when a student was engaged in a social issue with the town’s former mayor and his statements regarding the rebuild of homes in Dresden after the Dec. 10, 2021, tornado.
“I’m forever grateful for the good work we’ve accomplished together. And while I’ll miss all aspects of this great university community, it’s probably no surprise that I’ll miss the people the most. I’ll be communicating more information in the near future. I’m confident that the best days for this great university are yet to come because of you – our outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Dr. Carver added.
Carver was recently named a Discovery Awards honoree for Union City’s Discovery Park of America in Obion County. He is a native of Alamo in Crockett County.