June 19, 2012 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala., United States – Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek, chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was elected to a three-year term on the IFDC board of directors, effective June 18, 2012.

Cheek also serves as the chairman of the board of advisors of the Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC), a position he has held since its inception in 2010. The VFRC is an innovative global research initiative established under the auspices of IFDC. The VFRC is helping to develop and commercialize research into the ‘next generation’ of cleaner, environmentally sustainable, cost-effective and renewable fertilizers and fertilizer technologies. This effort will assist smallholder farmers in developing regions and help to feed the global population that is estimated to be 9.2 billion in 2050.

“The work that the VFRC is doing is critically important, and the work of IFDC is equally important,” Cheek commented. “I look forward to working with the other board members of IFDC and the Center’s staff as they help smallholder farmers increase their agricultural productivity and incomes while also decreasing negative environmental impact.”

Cheek became the seventh chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Feb. 1, 2009. Through his leadership, the campus is focused on improving the student’s educational experience, enhancing faculty research and scholarship as well as outreach and service. A first-generation college student, Cheek has set in motion several initiatives to broaden the university’s diversity and student access to the university.

As the state’s flagship research campus, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is currently ranked as a Top 50 public institution. In early 2010, the campus launched its quest to become one of the Top 25 public research universities in the nation. The effort has helped solidify strategies to grow the research base and graduate programs, improve graduation rates and attract and retain top faculty.

Cheek serves on the board of directors of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), chairs the group’s Commission on Food, Environment and Renewable Resources and as a member of the APLU Presidential Advisory Committee on Energy. He serves on the UT-Battelle board of governors, the UT Health Sciences Center board of directors and the UT Athletics board of directors.

M. Peter McPherson is president of the APLU, chair of the IFDC board of directors and a member of the VFRC board of advisors. He stated, “Dr. Jimmy Cheek has shown great leadership in his roles with the VFRC and APLU. I am certain he will be an asset to IFDC as a member of its board of directors.”

Prior to his appointment as chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Cheek was a member of the faculty and an administrator at the University of Florida for 34 years, last serving as senior vice president of agricultural and natural resources. While at Florida, he received the President’s Medallion and Student Body Resolution 2009-104 for dedicated and loyal service to the university and outstanding service to students, respectively, and the Morton Wolfson Faculty Award for outstanding contributions to the quality of student life. He was named to the Academy of Teaching Excellence in 2008, a Fellow of the American Association for Agricultural Education in 2005 and a Fellow of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture in 1998. His research has focused on the influence of experiential learning on student achievement and educational accountability. He has authored more than 80 journal articles and reports and is the senior author of a book.

Cheek earned his bachelor’s degree with high honors and his doctorate from Texas A&M University. He received his master’s degree from Lamar University.

IFDC is a public international organization, governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing countries. The nonprofit Center is supported by various bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments.

IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.

IFDC Contacts:

Courtney Greene
256/381-6600 ext. 357

Areas of Expertise: