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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

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Lifetime of Learning

May 20th, 2015 @ 4:34 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

As an educator, I cherish the opportunity to participate in commencement ceremonies, the culminating moment of a student’s journey through college. I was asked to speak at the Woodland Community College commencement last Friday, and the extraordinary effort these students have devoted to their education put me in mind of my own studies and professional journey.

Graduating from college is a tremendous achievement. The education students receive at college will inspire them to be lifetime learners because, more than anything, that’s what college is all about. These students put in the effort to acquire specific skills and knowledge, but they choose to learn also because the world is a big place with many opportunities, and they understand that the more they learn, the better equipped they will be to take advantage of them.

What they have learned at Woodland Community College is now their most effective tool for bringing about positive change in their own lives and in the world. I hope they never stop seeking more knowledge and more education. I know, too, that we will see some of them enrolled at UC Davis next year as transfer students, which we are very happy about. In fact, one of the student speakers at commencement, a delightful young man by the name of Christopher Holden, is transferring to UC Davis in the fall. Christopher sat next to me on stage and after a few minutes of conversation, he struck me as the kind of student who will work hard and take full advantage of the opportunities on our campus to learn and grow.

As a once-poor girl from a tiny Greek island, I know firsthand that the possibilities are limitless when you have the education to go after them. I know these students will take up their responsibility as educated individuals to help others and improve the world we live in, and will make the all-important commitment to becoming young men and women who never lose their hunger for education and a lifetime of learning long beyond their college years.

They have bright futures and so much opportunity. Their graduation is a reminder of what’s possible. I hope it inspires them to continue their educations and to never be deterred from their own personal dreams because as I said in my remarks, with hard work, we know they can come true.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: The Future of Food

May 15th, 2015 @ 1:50 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

In California, we are in the fourth year of a severe drought and already seeing an impact on agricultural production as farmers are letting fields go fallow because they have no water. It will take new creative collaborations to solve these and other big food-related challenges facing the world.

I was delighted to talk about this and related issues at a “Future of Food Summit” panel discussion Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. The event was sponsored by the global affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier and Mars, Incorporated, our partner in the new UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health.

When we launched the new Innovation Center and our World Food Center (WFC), we said we would work with partners to leverage our expertise as the number one university in the world for agricultural scholarship and research.

Working with Mars and other non-traditional partners in the search for big-impact breakthroughs in food and public health will allow us to achieve milestones none of us could do alone.

The same is true of our recently announced partnership with the government of Chile, which chose UC Davis to collaborate in establishing the UC Davis Life Sciences Innovation Center in that country. With a $12 million budget its first three years, the center will foster collaborative work among experts from UC Davis and Chile. We have worked with Chile since 1963 on grape growing, wine making and water management and this takes our collaboration to a new level. Because agricultural conditions in Chile and California are so similar, research breakthroughs achieved in one region can have a similar benefit in the other.

UC Davis’ expertise is also highly sought after by partners in China, where the country faces enormous challenges in feeding and nourishing its people. Last year, for instance, we signed a memorandum of agreement that lays the groundwork for establishing the Sino-U.S. Joint Research Center for Food Safety in China.

We know that collaborative and inter-disciplinary research is the most effective way to tackle big problems like global food security and feeding and nourishing a world population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

I am excited about these new unique collaborations and about the great results and opportunities they can produce for our faculty and students and for California and the rest of the world.

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On the road

Chancellor Linda Katehi: The Cost of Obesity

May 13th, 2015 @ 1:48 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi


This week I attended the Brookings Institute’s Cost of Obesity – a collaboration between the Center for Social Dynamics and Policy and the UC Davis World Food Center – to present new research that quantifies a wide range of the economic costs of obesity.

When we launched the World Food Center at UC Davis almost two years ago, we wanted to partner with researchers like the Brookings Institute to make big inroads when it comes to food and public health.

We established the World Food Center to leverage UC Davis’ expertise as the world’s number one ranked school for agricultural research and scholarship because, like Brookings, we understand that feeding and nourishing the world’s growing population is one of the signature issues of our time.

Thanks to Brookings’ new research that was presented this week, we now have a more holistic assessment of obesity and its devastating impacts on our economy. Impacts from reduced productivity and tax revenues to items such as increased Social Security Disability Insurance payments.

This is crucial because, to craft public policies that are sensible and that will have lasting impact, we need to rely on the kinds of sound research, data and evidence that was presented by Brookings and that UC Davis researchers do all the time.

We all know that it is difficult to achieve real progress in the fight against obesity. But with partnerships like the one between Brookings and the UC Davis World Food Center, we can help make a big difference.

Nutrition and public health are major challenges of our age, and interdisciplinary partnerships like that between our World Food Center and the Brookings Institute are essential to achieving real progress.

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Required reading

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Thank Goodness for Staff Celebration

May 12th, 2015 @ 6:12 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

At UC Davis, we have a long-standing tradition of hosting an annual Thank Goodness for Staff (TGFS) celebration every spring to honor all of the hard working staff members on our campus. In its 35th year, this staff-organized celebration allows for more than 6,000 staff members to enjoy festivities that include food, live music, contests, and a variety of other activities.

None of this would be possible without the dedication and commitment of Staff Assembly’s all-volunteer TGFS planning committee. Their efforts in organizing and planning this annual event show the Aggie commitment to building our sense of spirit and community. I would like to thank them for their time and energy in planning and executing this wonderful event. I would also like to thank all of our staff members for their amazing work and daily devotion to our commitment of excellence at UC Davis. Together, our staff, faculty and students are who make up our Aggie family and we should continue to strive for being inclusive, compassionate and fostering excellence in all that we do.

Thank Goodness for Staff Planning Committee

2015 Thank Goodness for Staff Planning Committee

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: 26th Annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference

May 7th, 2015 @ 1:47 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

At UC Davis, a majority of our students work with faculty across various disciplines to conduct undergraduate research. And every year our undergraduates are able to present their work at the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference. Organized by the Undergraduate Research Center, this conference provides a unique opportunity for students to share their ideas with fellow Aggies and get acquainted with the rigors of presenting research in a scholarly manner. The conference also allows those who attend and be exposed to the diverse array of research topics undergraduates become involved with at UC Davis.

In its 26th year, the conference had more than 1,000 attendees and 550 students participate in poster and oral presentations. The vast involvement of undergrads in research underscores the core principles of a public research university such as UC Davis. Collectively we aim to engage not only our faculty but also our undergrads in efforts to expose them to cutting edge research across all disciplines. It’s a great experience for them and helps them develop the critical thinking and analytical skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

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