Promotion and Tenure 2019




Five AgResearch, Herbert, and UT Extension faculty were recognized at this year’s UTIA Awards and Promotion Luncheon held in Knoxville on August 2. Of the group, three faculty were promoted with tenure and two were promoted to full professor. Congratulations to all faculty and staff who were recognized at the luncheon.


Promotion to Assistant Professor with Tenure

Augustin Rius, Department of Animal Science, 60 percent research | 40 percent teaching

Dr. Agustin Rius joined the Department of Animal Science in 2013 after working as a scientist for DairyNZ in New Zealand. He earned his PhD at Virginia Tech University in the Department of Diary Science, and he holds an MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a DVM from the National University of La Plata. His research interest is in the area of animal nutrition and physiology, and he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the areas of animal nutrition and nutritional biochemistry and metabolism. In 2017 he was awarded the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s,                     Faculty Research Award.

Aaron Smith, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 100 percent extension

Dr. Aaron Smith spent nine years in the banking sector before working as a graduate research assistant at the University of Arkansas where he earned his MS and PhD. He joined the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 2013 where his applied research and UT Extension program focuses on commodity marketing, risk management, production economics, and domestic agricultural policy. Smith earned his BA in agricultural studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, and in 2017 he received UTIA’s J.E. Moss Award for excellent achievement in Extension. Dr. Smith is                     supported by his wife Tracy and their three children, Mason, Maija, and Morgan.


Lewrell “Lew” Strickland, Department of Animal Science, 65 percent extension | 35 percent College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Lew Strickland is an associate professor and Extension veterinarian, holding dual appointments in the Department of Animal Science and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is responsible for delivering farm animal health information to the public in Tennessee. Strickland joined UTIA in 2013, and his research interest is in the area of cattle reproductive physiology and diseases. He holds a DVM from Auburn University, a DACT from the American College of Theriogenologists, and an MS from Auburn University.




Promotion to Professor

James “Jim” Brosnan, Department of Plant Sciences, 75 percent research | 25 percent extension

Dr. Jim Brosnan joined the Department of Plant Sciences in 2008 as an assistant professor after spending a year at the University of Hawaii. Brosnan’s research is in the area of herbicide resistance and turfgrass weed science. Dr. Brosnan earned a BS and PhD from Pennsylvania State University and an MS at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the recipient of the 2014 T.J. Whatley Distinguished Young Scientist Award from UTIA and the 2016 Young Crop Scientist Award from the Crop Science Society of America.

Margarita Velandia, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 75 percent research | 25 percent extension

Dr. Velandia joined the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 2007 after earning her PhD in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University. Her research and Extension educational programs focus on decision-making processes in the context of production economics and farm management. In 2019, Dr. Velandia was part of the team who received the Tennessee Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, award recognizing extraordinary achievements in research for her team’s work on biodegradable mulches.