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Chancellor 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



Higher Ed Matters

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: An Exciting Time for UC Davis

March 3rd, 2015 @ 4:03 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

On Tuesday, I gave my annual State of the Campus address to the Academic Senate and talked about all the achievements and initiatives that are taking place at our University.

This is an exciting time at UC Davis. We continue to attract the very best students. This past fall we welcomed the largest and most diverse class of students in UC Davis history. The incoming freshmen came from across California, from 40 states and 38 countries.

In September we announced a new partnership with Mars, Incorporated to establish the Innovation Institute for Food and Health. Mars is investing $40 million over ten years in this project aimed at delivering big-impact breakthroughs in food, agriculture and health.

I also noted how the university has become more diverse, with 19.2 percent of our students coming from underrepresented minorities in 2010 to nearly 25 percent today. I shared with the Senate our high rankings in a number of national and international surveys of top universities and some amazing numbers showing that 54 percent of California resident undergraduates receive enough gift aid to have their system wide tuition and fees completely covered. We should all be extremely proud of that fact because it illustrates how UC Davis is able to provide access to thousands of students who might not be able to attend were it not for our strong financial aid programs.

Another point I’m excited about is that we’re taking a number of steps to keep our finances strong and grow responsibly as we continue to build the University of the 21st Century.

Several of the initiatives that we’ve launched in recent years are starting to pay dividends regarding our financial standing. To build on this success, we’ve put together a Financial Sustainability Action Plan.

Through a variety of efforts—including increased funds from university growth, administrative efficiencies, growth in endowment payout and increased indirect cost recovery associated with research grants—our goal is to create $200 million in recurring funds annually that will be reinvested in our academic enterprise.

These are just some of the exciting developments occurring at UC Davis. I want to thank our entire faculty in making UC Davis the institution that it is today and for positioning it for continued excellence far into the future. We have much happening and even more to do.

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In the news

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Helene Dillard Appointed to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture

March 2nd, 2015 @ 7:07 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

I was pleased to hear about the recent appointment of Dean Helene Dillard to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture by Governor Jerry Brown. Helene has served as our Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since January of 2014. She has been instrumental in spearheading many initiatives within the College, aligning them with its goals of improving the research, teaching, and outreach to major stakeholders.

The news of this appointment not only serves to show off the strength UC Davis as the top-rated university in the world for agriculture, but also speaks to the great work that Helene has done in her short time on campus. Members of the board serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor and to the state Secretary of Food and Agriculture addressing key issues of concern to the state’s farmers, ranchers, community stakeholders and the public. Her appointment is an honor for Helene and for the university.

Please join me in congratulating Dean Helene Dillard.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Women’s Heart Health Matters

February 16th, 2015 @ 1:28 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

February is National Heart Month and as a woman, I encourage all women to take charge of their heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women and this threat is on the rise, especially among young women.

But women typically do not understand this danger and many women consider heart disease to be a man’s problem, even though heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

In an effort to raise awareness about heart disease, we encouraged men and women in the community to show their support by wearing red on Feb. 6 as part of UC Davis Wears Red Day. The color red symbolize one’s support in the fight against heart disease.

UC Davis is also promoting heart health awareness the whole month leading up to Saturday, Feb. 28, the date for this year’s edition of The Power of Red: Cocktails & Couture. “The Power of Red” comes from the red dresses that will be debuted as this year’s additions to the UC Davis Red Dress Collection. The dresses represent our students’ take on the national symbol for heart health awareness among women.

As we work to raise heart disease awareness during this month, let’s also take time to celebrate the research and education that make lifesaving advances in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease a reality.

To learn more about “The Power of Red: Cocktails & Couture” event, visit HERE.

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In the news

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Disruptive Innovators

January 31st, 2015 @ 1:26 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Recently, UC Davis hosted the Aspen Institute for an enlightening panel discussion titled Disruptive Innovators: A New Look at Food and Agriculture. Moderated by American Public Media’s Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal, the discussion focused on the current challenges facing the food and agriculture industry.

The panel included successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, such as Alex Wilcox, co-founder and CEO of JetSuite; Ralph Jerome, vice president of corporate innovation at Mars Inc.; Adrianna Ma, managing director of General Atlantic; Josh Tetrick, founder and CEO of Hampton Creek; and Christopher Michel, founder of and Nautilus Ventures.

Calling on their experience with disruption in their own sectors, these panelists shined light on what disruption means to them, the challenges facing the food and agriculture industry, and what it takes to fundamentally change the way long established industries do business.

UC Davis is the world’s premier university for agricultural scholarships and research and we are taking this expertise, building on it with important partners, and discovering the breakthroughs that will transform and enhance the world’s food system and our food security.

To learn more, watch the video of the discussion HERE.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Engineering for the Future

January 28th, 2015 @ 10:00 am by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

I’ll never forget the excitement I felt as a child watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. His bravery and eloquence amazed me, but my heart was with the engineers at NASA down here on earth. I was determined to become an engineer before I understood what that really meant.

The world will always call upon engineers to design bridges, map out transportation systems, and improve developing nations through technology and innovation. Now, with global population expanding and our ecosystems under extreme stress, the field of engineering must also focus on sustainability and environmental repair.

The Grand Challenges

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering surveyed a committee of experts to identify “Grand Challenges” that the world, and hence the engineering profession, will need to solve.

In the UC system, we have been working on plans for a new system-wide graduate research program tied directly to the NAE’s list, and many UC Davis faculty and students are already doing important work on these issues:

• Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering, invented technology that turns industrial waste and household garbage into energy. Her biodigester does that now on the site of the university’s former landfill.

• Dan Sperling, director of our Institute of Transportation Studies, and Bryan Jenkins, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, helped write California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the world’s first air quality standard to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels.

• Students at our Student Research Expo after Fall Convocation showcased their work to find a cheaper, easier way to recycle plastic and a new approach to tissue preparation that makes heart valve replacements more successful.

For future generations to lead prosperous, healthy lives, engineers must increasingly devote themselves to the Grand Challenges. I’m so proud that UC Davis is playing a significant role in creating a more sustainable approach to the engineering profession.

To read my full opinion editorial in the Huffington Post, visit HERE.

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