Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Message from Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Greetings, 


On behalf of the Herbert College of Agriculture, I want to personally welcome you to the Diversity and Inclusion unit of the College. Our goal is to serve as a catalyst for your academic, personal, and professional success via the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all aspects of the College. We work to ensure that all stakeholders recognize the importance of diversity as we aim for academic excellence, character development, and innovation through the development and implementation of specialized programs, training opportunities, research endeavors, and student success initiatives. Our hope is that you will acquire vital cultural competencies to thrive in an ever-changing and increasingly diverse world.  Below, you will find information on our diversity and inclusion programming and student organizations. If you have any questions or desire any assistance, please feel free to contact my office at cpicket3@utk.edu


Craig Pickett, Jr. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We pursue the goal for an inclusive and diverse academic program by recruiting and retaining a diverse group of students, staff, and faculty.

Craig Pickett
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Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for UTIA
Windy Soto-Gonzalez
Student Diversity Connector
Damon Conway
Student Diversity Connector
Legna Soto-Gonzalez
Student Diversity Connector

Our Programs

The Herbert College of Agriculture continuously strives to see students experience both academic and professional success. This initiative provides underrepresented students with successful skills for future achievement within the agricultural industry. The Herbert College Connections Early Access Program is a noncredit, invitation-only, accelerated fall early access program designed to assist incoming underrepresented freshman with a smooth transition to the University of Tennessee and the Herbert College of Agriculture.  

Students participating in the program will be granted benefits of moving into the residence hall a week early. Students will have early access to the university to begin building positive relationships with faculty, staff, and peers. Students will be exposed to campus life, resources and academic preparation tools to prepare for college courses. The program will also feature hands-on learning opportunities, tours, social and recreational activities during the week in the program. 

For more information about the August 2022 program, please contact the Craig Pickett, Jr., Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, at cpicket3@utk.edu.  

The Herbert College Connections Professional Development Program provides first-year underrepresented students and newly transferred underrepresented students with vital professional development training for their long-term success. The program provides participants with the necessary training, coaching, and career development competencies to ensure their success in some of the nation’s top agricultural industries.

Through their engagement in the program, students acquire vital information regarding summer internships, externships, research opportunities, study abroad programs, and graduate school preparation. In addition, participants will engage in fun social/recreational programs to ensure their continued success while at the University of Tennessee.

Lastly, participants will have a chance to compete for a limited number of specialized internships stipends for summer 2022 through the Herbert College Connections Professional Development Program.  

For more information about the Herbert College Connections Professional Development Program, program, please contact the Craig Pickett, Jr., Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, at cpicket3@utk.edu.  

We the members of this society pledge to support endeavors that will always foster and promote the agricultural sciences and related fields in a positive manner among ethnic minorities. We also pledge to initiate and participate in activities and programs that will ensure that ethnic minorities will also be involved in and associated with the agricultural sciences and related fields. We pledge to work for the inclusion, achievement, and advancement of all people in the agricultural sciences.

MANRRS is a national society that welcomes membership of people of all racial and ethnic group participation in agricultural and related science careers. MANRRS members are encouraged to be full participants in other professional societies for their basic disciplinary and career interests.

However, MANRRS attempts to provide networks to support professional development of minorities. It is a springboard for their entry into and advancement in careers where they otherwise could be lost in the sheer number and established connections of mainstream participants. For student members, MANRRS provides role models and networking opportunities.

MANRRS Herbert Executive Board

President: Windy Soto-Gonzalez

Meetings

General Body Meetings take place bi-weekly on Thursdays.

Please contact MANRRS president Windy Soto-Gonzalez or Craig Pickett for more information.

The Jr. MANRRS Program is designed to stimulate the interest in science, technology, engineering, agricultural, and mathematics fields, or STEAM. The goal is to encourage students in grades 7–12 to attend college and pursue agriculture, natural resources, and environmental sciences degrees. Our Jr. MANRRS program provides activities to help students discover firsthand how agriculture, engineering, and technology relate to the world around them and discover the excitement of academic excellence, leadership, technical development, and teamwork. The program encourages students to have a positive attitude towards academic excellence, and stimulates enthusiasm about science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics. In addition, it raises cultural awareness and provides students with the tools and resources to thrived within an ever-growing industry!  The UTK JR MANRRS Chapter (located at Austin-East High School) empowers high school students with the academic, personal, and professional training and mentorship as they prepare for future careers within agricultural and additional areas of STEM through weekly activities, hands-on programs, and intentional engagement. The Collegiate Chapter of MANRRS provides student participants with opportunities to mentor, guide, support, encourage, and promote future success.

The Queer and Allied Students of Herbert College of Agriculture serves as a organization to promote the education and engagement throughout the College. QUASHCA promotes co-curricular leadership, campus engagement, and professional development opportunities, while creating a stronger sense of belonging for members through educational activities highlighting LGBTQ issues within the agricultural industry.

For more information regarding QUASHCA, please contact Dr. Cheryl Kojima at ckojima@utk.edu

Sigma Alpha is a professional agricultural sorority that promotes scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship among its members. The sorority was founded in 1978 at the Ohio State University by five women who wanted an alternative to the social Greek sorority system. Since that time, Sigma Alpha has become a national organization consisting of more than 80 chapters, comprised of undergraduate and alumnae members. Today, more than 19,000 members have been initiated into Sigma Alpha Sorority.  The University of Tennessee Chapter of Sigma Alpha was founded in 1990. The Chapter focuses on the academic, personal, and professional success of women in agriculture through intentional programming, recreational activities, and career-related opportunities for growth, development and future success.  

For more information regarding Sigma Alpha, please click HERE.  

The International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences (IAAS) is a global organization that brings together students from around the world together to discuss topics and issues related to international agriculture and related sciences. As the largest agricultural student organization in the world, IAAS has 10,000 members in 49 member counties.  IAAS UTK strives to provide a platform for discussion of important international issues in agriculture, such as food security and feeding the growing population, and also providing the opportunity for international networking and travel opportunities for members. If you have any questions, you can contact the Chapter Advisor, Dr. Adam Willcox, at awillcox@utk.edu

The Herbert Life Living & Learning Community (LLC) provides students from all walks of life with opportunities to connect with classmates and explore the various programs of study within the college. You will participate in experiential learning workshops, programs, a teambuilding/first-year studies course, and field trips conducted by various faculty and staff members throughout The Herbert College of Agriculture for the purpose of learning how all majors/departments in the college are interconnected.  You will also impact the Knoxville community by completing group-based service projects each semester. By living in the same residence hall and taking courses with your peers, you will quickly meet others who share the same academic or career interests, form study groups, and expand upon the educational component of your classes. The Herbert Life LLC will be located in Magnolia Hall for 2021-2022.  All LLC locations are subject to change.

As a Herbert Life LLC student, you must be a first-year student with a Herbert College of Agriculture major. As a member of this community, you are required to enroll in AGNR 103: Teambuilding (during both the fall and spring semesters). Living & Learning Community participants are expected to attend class, participate in LLC programs and complete the required course assignments. Failure to enroll, attend and participate in the year-long course will result in early dismissal from the LLC program. To learn more about the Herbert College Living & Learning Community, please click HERE


Students visiting with agriculture companies at diversity conference.

We pursue an inclusive and diverse academic program…