The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has named Hongwei Xin, currently assistant dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, as UTIA’s new dean for AgResearch. Xin will begin his new role in May 2019, after the conclusion of the current academic year.

In a letter to staff and stakeholders announcing Xin’s appointment, Tim Cross, UTIA chancellor, noted Xin’s deep understanding of the land-grant mission and collaborative style. Cross wrote, ”Hongwei comes to UTIA with an international reputation for research and academic leadership. His work has had major impacts on U.S. and global animal agriculture and has produced significant contributions to scientific literature and engineering practices related to animal production systems.” Xin has served as the principal or co-principal investigator of more than $23.7 million in competitive grants and contracts for research, Extension and education programs.

Xin is also known for his collaborative work in facilitating linkages between academics, research and economic development; supporting international academic partnerships; and raising significant private dollars to fund a state-of-the-art poultry teaching and research farm. “His wealth of experience will be invaluable to UTIA as we continue to explore ways to enhance our public-private partnerships,” Cross wrote.

In addition to serving as assistant dean at Iowa State, Xin is the director of the Egg Industry Center (EIC), interim director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) and Animal Science.


Xin serves on numerous scientific advisory boards and committees for academia; industry organizations; and government agencies at state, national and international levels. He has also been instrumental and actively engaged in global capacity building and collaborations toward sustainable animal production. Before joining Iowa State in 1993, he spent more than three years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arkansas conducting broiler housing research.

Regarding his appointment, Xin says, “I am very honored and humbled to be asked to join the UTIA family as dean of AgResearch, and I look forward to working with Chancellor Cross, UTIA administrative colleagues, faculty, staff, students and external partners to continue and grow UTIA’s 50 years of excellence in serving the great state of Tennessee and beyond through providing Real. Life. Solutions.”

Fred Tompkins, former head of the Department of Biosystems Engineering, former president and CEO of the UT Research Foundation and former director of the Office of Oak Ridge Operations for the UT System, has been serving as interim dean since April 9, 2018. Tompkins will continue serving in this transitional role until Xin arrives on campus in May.

Caula Beyl, dean of the Herbert College of Agriculture, and Robert Burns, dean of UT Extension, co-chaired the search committee.