The acting head of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is among three finalists in line to lead the Knoxville-based school.

Interviews begin Nov. 30 for Tim Cross, Mary Holz-Clause and Alan Sams.

They'll be in Knoxville, Columbia and Jackson to meet with students, faculty, staff, alumni and others. According to the UT system, the Knoxville forums in Knoxville will be carried in webcasts.

UT President Joe DiPietro, past chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture, has been part of the selection process.

The next chancellor, who will be appointed by the president and elected by the Board of Trustees, will report to DiPietro. He or she also will be on the UT System leadership team and as chief academic and administrative officer of the Institute of Agriculture.

The institute includes UT Extension, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Cross has been interim institute chancellor since September. He's been there close to 23 years, according to UT. He was dean of UT Extension at a time when DiPietro was chancellor.

He's also been an assistant professor of agricultural and resources ecnomics at Oregon State University. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University and a doctoral degree in agricultural and resources ecnomics from Oregon State.

Holz-Clause is dean of the College of Agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona in Los Angeles. Before that she was vice president for economic development at the University of Connecticut, according to UT.

She started her academic career at Iowa State University. From Iowa State she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture business, a master's degree in public administration and a doctoral degree in agriculture education and extension.

Sams is executive associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M, where he's been since 2009. He also was Clemson University, where he was dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences for three years.

He has a bachelor's degree with a double major in poultry science and food and resource economics from the University of Florida. He also has a master's from the University of Florida and a doctorate in food science and human nutrition from Florida.