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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee has a new provost.

Dr. Loren W. Crabtree, former provost at Colorado State University, began his tenure Monday as UT’s chief academic officer.

Crabtree was approved in March by the executive committee of UT’s Board of Trustees to be UT’s vice president and provost. He succeeds Dr. Clifton Woods, interim provost since June 2000, who will serve as vice provost.

At the board’s June 28 meeting, Crabtree said he plans to continue UT initiatives launched recently, such as the nine UT research Centers of Excellence.

“We will certainly bring to fruition the important research and academic initiatives launched in the last two years in areas such as information science, genomics, connective tissues research, food safety and neurosciences,” Crabtree said.

“These are things that confront the university with great opportunity to enhance the stature of the institution and enable us to serve the people of Tennessee and the United States much better.”

Crabtree also emphasized undergraduate education at UT and the need for balance between teaching and research.

“We are a student-centered research university,” Crabtree said. “That implies there is no real distinction between research and teaching; that they are mutual parts of a very distinguished and important continuum.

“It is important that we pay due attention to core curriculum so our students emerge with communications skills, critical and scientific reasoning abilities, knowledge of American institutions and ideologies, and knowledge of domestic and international cultural pluralism.

“We will serve the people with integrity and excellence. UT will be the university of choice for all Tennessee students and neighboring states around us.

“I am excited to be here at this pivotal moment in time and to know that UT is moving forward.”

Crabtree had been at CSU in Ft. Collins, Colo., since 1967, serving as provost and vice president since 1997. He earned the doctorate in history and Asian Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1969.

Other posts he held at CSU included dean of the College of Liberal Arts, history professor, and assistant and associate dean.