Skip directly to: Main page content

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

Required reading

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Emerging Leaders in Policy and Public Service

June 29th, 2015 @ 10:00 am by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

As a land-grant university, UC Davis has both an opportunity and a responsibility to influence state and national policy makers with our expertise and scientific knowledge in ways that make California and the nation a better place to live and work. Faculty and staff already do that on a variety of issues and disciplines. Now, thanks to an exciting new program begun under the leadership of Amandeep Kaur, the Chancellor’s Science Fellow in my office, we will make some of our top graduate and professional students available through paid policy internships.

We actually began the Emerging Leaders in Policy and Public Service or ELIPPS program 18 months ago when we reached out to federal and state legislators and agency officials, as well as representatives from non-governmental agencies, think tanks and lobbying firms to come speak at a series of UC Davis workshops with graduate and professional students. Now, this month, we are launching the ELIPPS California Fellows program, the first cohort of paid policy internships for six graduate and professional students. I am excited about the program’s prospects, not just for the agencies we will be engaged with, but also for our students and the experience they’ll gain in the process. If this initial group of internships works as well as we expect, we intend to double the size of the program next year and also launch a Washington version. In addition, we plan to place future ELIPPS fellows with the UC Davis World Food Center and the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence that was created by state Proposition 63 funds for mental health programs.

Our graduate and professional students have a lot to offer. They are researchers, problem solvers and critical thinkers. They also instill in us a sense of hope and optimism for a bright and a prosperous future. We want these bright students to lend their perspectives to state and federal policy makers, who have the difficult challenge of trying to enact and carry out policy on many complex issues.

The ELIPPS program is designed to help produce future leaders who can take their rightful place in government and non-governmental agencies that deal with policy affecting the lives of millions of people in California, America and around the world.

In addition to Amandeep, I want to thank others who have stepped in to get this new program off the ground, including the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; the College of Engineering; The UC Davis School of Law; the School of Veterinary Medicine; the UC Davis Internship and Career Center; the UC Center Sacramento; and the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy and the Office of Government and Community Relations. Thank you also to the state agencies our interns will be working in this summer.

Now let me briefly introduce our first group of 2015 ELIPPS CA Fellows:

Melissa Rothstein is a student in the School of Veterinary Medicine who will be working as an ELIPPS fellow at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. With her background in public policy and animal sciences, she hopes to explore the intersection between animal agriculture, wildlife, and water conservation. Her work will include policy research and analysis, and she looks forward to building strong and lasting relationships between the field of veterinary medicine and California government to encourage future collaborations.

Roxanne Strohmeier is a student in the UC Davis School of Law. She has been placed at the California Department of Health Care Services, (DHCS) where she will work as a clerk on the Administrative Litigation Team in the Office of Legal Services. She will conduct legal research related to the administration, oversight, and enforcement of California’s Medi-Cal Program, and will assist DHCS attorneys in drafting legal documents, reviewing evidence, and developing strategies and tactics for pending litigation related to the enforcement of Medi-Cal policies, statutes, and regulations.

From L-R: Melissa Rothstein, Roxanne Strohmeier, Olivia Filbrandt, Amandeep Kaur, ELIPPS Director, Matthew Palm, Elizabeth Anthony, and Kelly Gravuer.

From L-R: Melissa Rothstein, Roxanne Strohmeier, Olivia Filbrandt, Amandeep Kaur, ELIPPS Director, Matthew Palm, Elizabeth Anthony, and Kelly Gravuer.

Olivia Filbrandt is also a UC Davis law student and she has been placed at the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). During her ELIPPS internship she will work as a legal intern. Her projects will include reviewing and developing administrative regulations regarding implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act. Her work this summer will focus on sustainable transportation and reviewing the comprehensive update of California General Plan Guidelines, which advise local governments in drafting and adopting their general plans.

Matthew Palm is a PhD Candidate in Geography. He has been placed at the California Housing Finance Agency to work on lending programs that finance affordable housing construction. His focus will be on California’s housing policy following passage and implementation of SB 375, The Sustainable Communities Solutions Act.

Elizabeth Anthony is a PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering who has been placed at the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. She will be working on the California 2030 Low Carbon Grid Study, which addresses the ability of California’s electric grid to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. She will be analyzing technical data from computer modeling and report findings to stakeholders and policymakers.

Kelly Gravuer is a PhD Candidate in Ecology. She has been placed at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, where she will work on projects including the department’s Healthy Soils initiative that reward and enhance the contributions of California’s farms to improving environmental quality.

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

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Building the University of the 21st Century

June 23rd, 2015 @ 3:26 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Last week I attended the 10th annual Glion Colloquium on higher education in Switzerland, meeting with educational leaders from around the world to discuss how research universities are engaged in addressing the great challenges and opportunities of our times.

In my remarks at the conference, I noted that we are at a watershed moment for higher education in this country. We have never seen such demand for a college education and never before have colleges and universities had such potential for global impact, even as public investment in higher education has been declining.

We have a duty to our students, stakeholders, and global community to maintain the highest aspirations possible for a public research university, and to put real plans in place to achieve those aspirations. UC Davis is an outstanding university, but if one point was clear from the conference in Glion, we cannot afford to be complacent and rest on our laurels. Universities in this country and around the world are doing great work. We must continue to excel and become even better so we don’t lose the competitive advantage we’ve built up over the years with so much hard work and world-class scholarship and research.

This responsibility is why we developed our Vision of Excellence in 2010 to guide us during uncertain financial times without compromising the quality of our educational mission or curtailing our ambition to become a truly global university.

The effort led to the many prestigious world and national rankings UC Davis has received in recent years, as well as several large-scale research collaborations that are addressing global challenges.

To continue the forward thinking of our Vision of Excellence, we have committed to a community-wide visioning process to model UC Davis as the University of the 21st Century. This initiative will define the type of university we want to be 20, 30, 40 years down the road.

I am challenging the UC Davis community to think in bolder and more ambitious terms. In addition to engaging with a broad cross-section of university stakeholders, I recently asked our deans to recommend their brightest, most innovative junior faculty to help us envision a future that perhaps some of us who are more deeply entrenched have difficulty imagining. Over the summer, we will work with this faculty and bring in outside innovators to stimulate the conversation even more.

I see the future of UC Davis as a place where learning, teaching and the creation and translation of new knowledge are integrated into everything we do. Where our entire campus, with all of its state, national and international sites, becomes our classrooms and laboratories. Where we are all part of a community of learners taking on the big regional, national and global, challenges of our time.

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

Aggie stars

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Honoring One of UC Davis’ Finest, Delaine Eastin

June 17th, 2015 @ 2:17 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

The UC Davis Medal is the highest accolade our campus may bestow upon an individual, and it gives me great pride to honor one of our own alumni, Delaine Eastin, into the prestigious group of people who have received this award.

This medal has recognized a great variety of accomplishments, from the artistic endeavors of UC Davis poet Gary Snyder, to the extraordinary philanthropy of Robert and Margrit Mondavi and Barbara Jackson, to the bravery and leadership of our own UC Davis astronaut Steve Robinson, to the business acumen and conservation work of Charlie Soderquist, who built so many bridges between our campus and the business sector.

Delaine’s career and accomplishments represent the very best of UC Davis – our ideals, our values and our commitment to research, scholarship and service.

Delaine entered government service in 1986, serving in the State Assembly for four terms. As chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, she worked on efforts to reform and rebuild California’s K-12 education system. She carried the legislation to enact the 1994 Family School Partnership Act, making California the first state to allow parents to take significant time off work to participate in their children’s education.

After leaving the Assembly, she became the first woman elected as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Delaine adopted a truly comprehensive perspective on education reform in her time as Superintendent, improving support for school libraries, safety programs, modern facilities and technology, arts programs, technical and vocational training, civic engagement and community service, good nutrition, as well as expanded pre-school and kindergarten programs. On top of everything, she cut administrative costs by streamlining contract procedures in the Department of Education.

Delaine has continued to support and be involved with UC Davis and the UC system. She has been a key advocate for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ “Healthy Families and Community Strategic Initiative,” an effort aimed at tackling the related problems of high childhood obesity, rising school dropout rates, and low student achievement, especially in the sciences.

The UC Davis community and the entire state of California thank Delaine for her service. Her untiring diligence in envisioning a California that truly values and supports education is an inspiration to us all.

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

Chancellor Linda Katehi: Advancing Diversity at UC Davis

June 10th, 2015 @ 3:13 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

I recently spoke to a National Science Foundation (NSF) conference about the importance of bringing more diversity into the science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) programs on our college campuses.

My personal experience through my college and post-graduate work has taught me the need for greater diversity in these programs for both students and faculty. I was one of just two women in my undergraduate engineering class, and one of the three female faculty in the University of Michigan Engineering department. Changing this lack of diversity has long been a personal mission for me.

But the path of this mission is more complex than making a commitment to simply increasing the numbers or improving the environment. Broadening participation requires change in both systems and culture and creation of an “ecosystem” that can support both.

Specifically, we must be vigilant in measuring our own performance toward this goal, and we must implement parallel actions and programs to support and encourage diverse participation in academia.

Three years ago, when UC Davis had a chance to apply for an NSF ADVANCE grant, which is helping us increase participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, we knew this was a great opportunity to improve on the work we’re doing to make a more representative campus.

We know mentoring and support are crucial and must be an integral focus of all these efforts. One of the faculty committees working with our ADVANCE team, for instance, has proposed that when a department on campus begins recruiting new faculty, they must also draft a plan for how that new person will be mentored and supported.

What’s great about these actions is that after the ADVANCE grant expires, the policies will remain. We have made changes in culture, practice, and policies that can bring about a lasting difference.

Thank you to the National Science Foundation for its support of these critical programs, and to our faculty, staff and student body who have worked so hard to make this campus community a place where all people are welcomed and can flourish. True diversity creates a better environment for everyone, and we must never stop working to attain it.

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

Chancellor Linda Katehi: A Path to Success

June 9th, 2015 @ 10:37 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Commencement season is a beautiful time of year, when joyful spring weather sees students and their families celebrating a profound achievement and embarking on the next phase of their adult lives.

For many students, receiving their diploma is a defining point when years of hard work and personal development culminate in a moment of validation and personal empowerment. But this can also be a time of stress and uncertainty when a life of intense focus on studies must transition to workforce skills and responsibilities.

Nationally, there are over two million fresh college graduates looking to enter the workforce this spring. But as software entrepreneur Bill Gates recently noted, the U.S. is still far short of the number of college-educated young men and women needed to meet the demands of our economy.

According to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California, our state will be one million graduates short of what our economy will require in 2025. According to the PPIC, only 35 percent of working-age California adults will have college degrees in 2025. By then, our economy will require that number to be at least 41 percent.

We need to reinvest in public education for our state and America as a whole. Our economy is increasingly globalized, and quality, accessible higher education remains the surest path to success for our young people to make valuable contributions and for the U.S. to retain its competitive advantage.

Education is an investment in our collective future. For those of us fortunate enough to be part of commencement ceremonies this spring, I hope we will all make the commitment to binging even more students and their families to these hopeful celebrations.

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