Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek
Dr. Jimmy G. 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, Dr. Cheek has set in motion several initiatives to broaden UT Knoxville’s diversity and student access to the university.
As the state's flagship research campus, UT 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. It helped solidify strategies for growing the research base and graduate programs, improving graduation rates and attracting and retaining top faculty.
Dr. Cheek chairs the Board of the International Fertilizer Development Center Advisory Committee, a new global research effort to develop and commercialize clean, environmentally sustainable, cost-effective and renewable fertilizers for the developing world. He serves of the board of directors for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), as chairman of 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, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission Master Plan Steering Committee and the UT Athletics Board of Directors.
Prior to his UT appointment, Dr. 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.
Dr. 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. A native of Texas, he is married to Ileen, and they have two children and two grandchildren.