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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: We Must Close the Gender Gap in STEM Fields

December 3rd, 2014 @ 1:24 am by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

I recently joined leaders from academia, industry and government to discuss the importance of empowering women in STEM at the “Empowering Women In STEM – EWIS Fall Networking” event organized by Amandeep Kaur, Chancellor’s Science Fellow. One of the topics we discussed was why we still don’t have enough women reaching the highest levels of academia and industry in STEM, despite their strong representation on college campuses and increasing presence among those gaining STEM degrees.

As someone who has earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in electrical engineering, this concerns me greatly. We must recognize the very real barriers that still exist for women in the workforce (and not just in STEM). As a mother whose millennial daughter has recently entered the workforce and as a Chancellor who every day sees incredibly bright students pursuing their dreams, this concerns me all the more.

For our economy to thrive, we need more young women, as well as young men, to have opportunities to study science, engineering and mathematics and pursue careers in these areas. A strong and diverse STEM workforce will drive innovation, economic growth, and generate novel solutions to pressing national and international problems.

Advancing STEM is a priority nationally, for California and at UC Davis. That is why I am pleased to announce that the Online College Database recently ranked UC Davis first for total women in STEM programs, with 2,503 women in 169 STEM programs.

But we need to do more. California is recognized globally as a hub for innovation. To maintain our position as a leading innovation-driven economy in the 21st century, we must continue to improve the climate for women and underrepresented minorities.


With some of the keynote speakers (L to R): Ruth Uy Asmundson, Former Mayor of City of Davis; Delaine Eastin, Former CA Assembly Member and Former Superintendent of Public Instruction, CA; Amandeep Kaur , EWIS Coordinator; Linda Katehi; Lois Wolk, Senator, District 3, CA

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In the news

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Innovation is a Path to Economic Opportunity

November 28th, 2014 @ 4:00 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

When it comes to capitalizing on the innovations made in academia, many universities have been faced with the same challenges: how to license out the technology and research they are developing in a successful manner. Because of these challenges, I am very excited about the new University of California innovation, entrepreneurship and technology commercialization initiative as it will break down some of the barriers that have prevented universities from transferring their research to the private sector in the best manner possible.

This initiative provides a great opportunity for UC Davis to license out the technology and research we are developing and provide economic benefits to the university and the surrounding region.

The initiative challenges UC to cultivate an even stronger connection to the innovation ecosystem in California and the world. It brings the fruits of our research to drive innovation, create new industries, improve health, and so many other aspects that impact our daily lives.

UC Davis is well positioned to play a key role in this initiative. Our leadership in agriculture, food and health research closely align with major growth areas of corporate investment.

According to the Association of University Technology Managers, academic research is increasingly driving entrepreneurial opportunities. The number of university-launched startup companies topped 800 nationally in 2013, up from just fewer than 600 in 2008.

We are seeing this trend play out at UC Davis. In total, 62 startups based on inventions originating at UC Davis have been formed since 2003; 14 of them were created in the last year alone. Many of these startups are already driving the creation of hundreds of high-value technology jobs in our region.

In this light, research can be seen as more than the development of new understandings. It is directly responsible for jobs, economic health and the long-term competitiveness of our state and country. We must continue to enable our faculty and students to cultivate the innovations that will form the next generation of enterprises in our region and beyond.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: The Value of Women Mentors

November 17th, 2014 @ 3:28 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

I recently participated in a workshop on “Women in Research” at UC Davis to discuss my academic and professional journey and the challenges I faced along the way.

In fact, this is a subject about which I am quite passionate. When I was young I had dreams of becoming an electrical engineer and never imagined the obstacles that I would one day have to overcome because I was a woman.

As a student, I never had the opportunity to look to a female mentor because there weren’t many women in my field of electrical engineering at the time. I was, however, fortunate to find a male mentor who guided me and supported me.

Mentors will help guide you on your journey, give ideas and offer support. Good mentoring is a two-way street – mentors and mentees don’t compete, but want each other to be successful.

I think it’s important that all students, particularly women and underrepresented groups, have great mentors to support and guide them through challenges they will face. I applaud all the efforts of our women mentors in taking on the role to be the educators and inspiring our future female leaders.

To read my op-ed on women mentors, visit HERE.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: UC Davis is a National Leader in STEM Diversity

November 11th, 2014 @ 4:54 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

As a graduate of UCLA’s Electrical Engineering masters and doctorate programs, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Chancellor at UC Davis, I have seen firsthand the lack of female role models in the STEM fields.

Data from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau highlights some alarming trends among women and minorities in the engineering field. Namely, the number of women in engineering has declined from 21% in 2000 to 18% in 2010, while only nine percent of African-American and Hispanic populations are pursing degrees in science and engineering.

Despite these declining numbers, I am proud to share that UC Davis is among the national leaders in having a diverse STEM student body and a diverse STEM faculty.

As a result of our concerted effort to bring more diversity to the engineering field, UC Davis is currently ranked first by College Database with 2,500 women in the university’s STEM areas of study. Additionally, our College of Engineering faculty is 19.2% female and provides more female role models for our STEM students than any other university in the country

In 2012-2013, UC Davis also led the nation in the number of Hispanics receiving a bachelor’s degree in engineering with 16%. However, there is still much room for growth among our African-American students who only account for 1.5% of students in our undergraduate engineering programs.

To further highlight our commitment to diversity in our STEM programs, UC Davis offers the Girls’ Leadership Camp on Computing and Robotics to cultivate an interest in science among young girls. We are also in the midst of completing a three-year National Science Foundation grant program, ADVANCE, that provides our university with an opportunity to hire more Latina science and technology faculty.

With more role models for young girls and minorities to look up to in the STEM fields at all levels of their education, the better chance we have to increase diversity in these important disciplines. And, in this area, UC Davis is proud to lead by example.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Leadership Lessons for our Future Women Chancellors

November 8th, 2014 @ 12:23 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

I recently attended the Fourth Annual Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) Women Leaders meeting to help future leaders, no matter their gender, learn from women who are succeeding in the academy’s highest ranks.

Our women leaders continue to face challenges in leadership positions, especially serving as presidents and chancellors at our nation’s colleges and universities.

According to Forbes, only 26% of the college presidents in the U.S. are women while more than 57% of the students in colleges and universities are women.

In fact, women have been in the majority among undergraduate students since 1980 and among graduate students since 1988. Women made up 10% of the college presidents in 1980 and 23% in 2006. This means we are closing the gender gap by only 1 percent every two years.

We must continue to encourage and mentor our future women leaders to help them achieve their full potential. Growing the number and quality of female role models in administrative positions at our colleges and universities is essential to achieving to this.

Empowering women and improving their representation in the male-dominated world of academia is a critical step in creating a more diverse group of future leaders and tackling the world’s challenges from a variety of perspectives.

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