UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Blog

Linda P.B. Katehi

Linda Katehi is UC Davis’ sixth chancellor and first woman to hold the post. (Karin Higgins / UC Davis)

About Higher Ed Matters

With this blog, I hope that we can engage in a vibrant conversation about our thoughts, ideas and news about how our university is helping to shape the future of higher education. As you share your comments, please embrace the UC Davis Principles of Community and abide by our Comments policy.

- Linda Katehi

Chancellor Linda Katehi: UC Davis A Global Leader on the Environment

UC Davis West Village is the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States. (photo credit: UC Davis)

UC Davis West Village is the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States. (photo credit: UC Davis)

Our university continues to garner impressive recognition as a global leader on sustainability.

Most recently, in the annual GreenMetric rankings published by the University of Indonesia, an international survey of over 400 colleges placed UC Davis at number three in the world for its leadership in environmental sustainability through teaching, research, campus lifestyle, and management. The year before we were rated No. 4.

GreenMetrics covers 62 separate categories of environmental sustainability, including campus operations – such as transportation, water and energy use, carbon emission and waste management – as well as the amount of research money, course offerings, scholarly events and student organizations dedicated to the environment and suitability.

This ranking reflects the work our faculty, staff and students have been doing on multiple fronts, from the courses we teach to the research we conduct to our everyday use of natural resources. It is also an indication of the progress UC Davis is making to help meet President Napolitano’s target of carbon neutrality for the entire UC system by 2025.

Pamela Ronald - Professor of plant pathology and genetics, UC Davis. (photo credit: Debbie Aldridge)

Pamela Ronald – Professor of plant pathology and genetics, UC Davis. (photo credit: Debbie Aldridge)

At the same time, one of our researchers, Dr. Pamela Ronald, a professor of plant pathology and genetics, has been recognized by Grist.org as one of 50 people making significant contributions toward environmental suitability. Grist.org is a popular online non-profit magazine that has been publishing environmental news and commentaries since 1999, with a mission “to inform, entertain, provoke, and encourage its readers to think creatively about environmental problems and solutions.”

Pamela is recognized for her work developing a form of rice that can tolerate prolonged floods. More than four million farmers have the rice and Grist.org praised her for the kind of research breakthrough needed to feed a growing global population without expanding our agricultural footprint.

Please join me in congratulating Pamela and all members of our campus community who have put UC Davis at the forefront of global innovation, sustainability research and community engagement.

Connect with me on social media; visit my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn profiles or my Huffington Post Blog.

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Having Mentors Can Change Your Life

(photo credit: Sallie Poggi)

(photo credit: Sallie Poggi)

I recently had the opportunity to deliver a keynote address at the California chapter launch of the Million Women Mentors Initiative in San Francisco. The initiative supports “the engagement of one million Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) mentors (male and female) to increase the interest and confidence of girls and women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.”

The value of mentoring is one I relate to on a deeply personal level. Early in my career, as a woman in a field dominated by men, I faced many challenges. Had it not been for strong mentors in my life who encouraged and helped me find the strength to persevere, I would probably not be where I am today.

That’s why I was so happy to be invited to serve as honorary California chair for the Million Women Mentors initiative. I am excited about our goal of 50,000 mentor pledges in California by 2018. Both men and women can serve as mentors and girls in STEM fields — and our state and nation—will be the beneficiaries.

Chancellor Linda Katehi at the California chapter launch of the Million Women Mentor Initiative. (photo credit: Christa Brown)

Chancellor Linda Katehi at the California chapter launch of the Million Women Mentor Initiative. (photo credit: Christa Brown)

 

We have taken a number of steps at UC Davis to address the challenges faced by under-represented communities in STEM.

- One program called WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) addresses sexism in STEM by increasing recruitment, retention and success of women and LGBTQIA students and faculty. The WISE program also allows us to bring girls from local, low-income schools to visit UC Davis where they can meet students, faculty and staff; visit lab tours; and participate in hands-on science workshops for a firsthand experience of the possibilities of STEM in their lives.

- Another program, UC Davis ADVANCE, allows us to recruit under-represented STEM scholars to join our faculty. In turn, these faculty members can serve as mentors and role models to young female students.

We are working hard at UC Davis to stamp out biases, both conscious and unconscious, so we can have a culture on our campus of diversity and inclusion for all of our students. I believe that we have a responsibility to support, mentor and inspire women to enter STEM fields, and the Million Women Mentor Initiative can help us do so.

Connect with me on social media; visit my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn profiles or my Huffington Post Blog.

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Congratulations to the Second Class of UC President Global Food Initiative Fellows

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science building and the Good Life garden. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science building and the Good Life garden. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

President Janet Napolitano recently announced the second class of UC President Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows.

The fellows are part of the University of California Global Food Initiative which was launched in July of 2014 by President Napolitano, together with the UC’s 10 Chancellors. It aims to addresses one of the most critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. Through research, policy discussions and community engagement, the initiative aims to expand access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

In its inaugural year, 54 undergraduate and graduate students were awarded a $2,500 fellowship grant that funded research, projects or internships that focused on food issues. With the first year being a huge success, the program was extended into a second year, with 44 fellows receiving an increased stipend of $4,000.

Let me introduce you to the GFI fellows from UC Davis:

Forest Ryan Dowdy (GFI fellow – class of 2015, 2016), a graduate student in food science, his 2015 project focused on using microbial fuel cells to covert organic wastes into electricity through electron-producing bacteria. In 2016, he will use his research and expand it to look at how the microbial fuel cells can power sea water desalination.

Sophie Sapp Moore (GFI fellow – class of 2015), a graduate student in cultural studies, her project examined food security for the Papaye Peasant Movement in Haiti.

Jessica West (GFI fellow – class of 2015), an undergraduate student in the department of Entomology and Nematology, is looking at ways to use genomic techniques to manage Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) and reduce the amount of insecticide used by farmers.

Nick Doherty, (GFI fellow – class of 2016), an undergraduate student studying computer science and engineering, Nick was recently noted as Apple’s “20 Under 20” for his work in creating the Study Cal app, a student class organizer. He has also created apps such as the Aggie Health that helps students track nutrients and calories.

Aria Wexler, (GFI fellow – class of 2016), an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in clinical nutrition, will work with Student Health and Counseling Services, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Ryann Miller, and Campus Health and Wellness to increase programs on food advocacy and nutrition education for students.

For a complete list of the 2016 GFI Fellows from all the UC campuses, visit here.

Congratulations again to these bright young scholars and innovators. Your work will help develop technologies and practices that will answer the question of how we will feed a growing and changing world.

Connect with me on social media; visit my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn profiles or my Huffington Post Blog.

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Congratulations Class of 2015, Ambassadors for Change

This past Saturday, more than 700 UC Davis graduates received their diplomas at our Fall Commencement ceremony. Once again, it was my privilege to say a few words before conferring their degrees.

Graduation day is one of the most joyous events at any college campus. It’s always gratifying to see our students and their proud families taking photos, enjoying the festivities and beaming over their accomplishments.

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In addressing those in attendance, I wanted to remind us all that while UC Davis has faced many of the same challenges we see making headlines across a divided nation, I believe our graduates represent the next hope for acceptance and social justice in our global society. I believe it because I see UC Davis students every day on our campus doing all the things we hope to see our young people do.

As I told the graduates and their friends and families, every day on our campus the overwhelming majority of our students judge people on the quality of their character, not the color of their skin, their sexuality, religion or their economic circumstances.

They open their hearts and extend their hand to make others feel welcome and included. They become friends with and collaborate with people of different backgrounds and experiences. They exemplify our Principles of Community that say, among other things, that we at UC Davis “recognize and cherish the richness contributed to our lives by our diversity. We take pride in all our achievements and we celebrate our differences.” The vast majority of our students have proven that we really do affirm the dignity inherent in all of us.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Welcoming Three UC Davis Police Officers

In the photo L to R: UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael, Officer Erika Lee, Officer Jena Du and Officer Gurpreet Singh.

In the photo L to R: UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael, Officer Erika Lee, Officer Jena Du and Officer Gurpreet Singh.

This week our UC Davis campus Police Chief Matt Carmichael had the pleasure of welcoming three new police officers to the department’s ranks. Officers Erika Lee, Jena Du and Gurpreet Singh were the most recent additions from the department’s cadet program. The program, open to seniors and graduate students, provides a unique hands-on opportunity for students to explore career interested in fields such as law enforcement, forensics, criminology and other related fields. Top program graduates are offered a full scholarship to attend a police academy anywhere in California, and upon completion, the top graduate will receive priority consideration for hiring by the UC Davis police department.

It’s a wonderful way establish our police officers as an intrinsic part of the community they serve and to date, seven of our campus’s officers are UC Davis graduates who’ve gone through the cadet program. The popular program will begin its fourth academy in January, welcoming a group of 32 students. The stated mission of the UC Davis Police Cadet Program is to “serve the community by developing educated, well-trained and diverse candidates to work in law enforcement”. It is a great way to add police officers to our ranks who have been part of the community and who understand and appreciate what makes it special.

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