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 on the Path to Carbon Neutrality

Chancellor Linda Katehi participates in a panel discussion at the UC Carbon Neutrality Summit. (photo credit: Naftali Moed)

Chancellor Linda Katehi participates in a panel discussion at the UC Carbon Neutrality Summit. (photo credit: Naftali Moed)

In November of 2013, UC President Janet Napolitano announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which commits the UC to emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025. This initiative builds on the the pioneering research done on our campuses and pledges that the UC will become a model in the fight against climate change, not only for California, but for the nation and the rest of the world.

Bold and visionary, President Napolitano’s directive has set a high bar and has called for UC campuses to work collaboratively in achieving carbon neutrality. Each campus is moving toward this goal and I could not be more proud of the work we are doing at UC Davis.

At the UC Carbon Neutrality Summit I shared what UC Davis is doing on this front.

Research

- At least 20 percent of our faculty is engaged in sustainability research.

Energy

In the coming weeks, we will formally dedicate the largest on-site solar installation for any university in all of North America. This solar farm will:

- Generate 33 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year; providing 14 percent of electricity needs for our campus.
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 14,000 metric tons. This is equal to removing 3,000 cars off the roadways or powering almost 2,00 American homes a year.

The UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester was open on the campus landfill. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga, UC Davis)

The UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester was open on the campus landfill. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga, UC Davis)

Waste

- Roughly 80 percent of campus waste is diverted from landfills.
- Our Renewable Energy Anaerobic Biodigester, with technology invented by one of our own faculty researchers, will divert 20,000 tons of waste from local landfills and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tons each year.

Water

- Turf conversions, low-flow fixtures and recycling water has saved more than 322 million gallons of water in the past year alone.

Green Buildings

- The UC Davis West Village community is on track to be the largest planned zero net energy community in the country.
- UC Davis has five LEED-platinum buildings (certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program).

Students heading to class. (photo credit: Karin Higgins, UC Davis)

Students heading to class. (photo credit: Karin Higgins, UC Davis)

Transportation

- Over 75 percent of our students use pedal-powered transportation.
- The student-run Unitrans bus system is powered by natural gas or biodiesel.

Future Leaders

Perhaps most important over the long-term, our faculty teaches more than 180 courses per year emphasizing sustainability. I am proud to say that our students share this passion, leading 40 environmental and sustainability-related clubs and organizations, holding 260 campus events per year focused on sustainability. In other words, we are educating future leaders who will take what they’ve learned on our campus and help make the world a better, healthier and more sustainable place.

UC and the state of California’s progressive environmental laws and regulations are setting an example for the world. Through our collective efforts, we are finding solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Meet our Student Assistants to the Chancellor

At UC Davis, we have a long-standing tradition of selecting a group of students every year to serve as student assistants to the Chancellor. These students are a liaison between the student body and the administration. They assist fellow students with problems and concerns, and also advise the administration on student life and issues. Each year, we get outstanding candidates applying and the selection committee and I always have a tough decision on whom to select.

With the fall quarter upon us, I would like to introduce you to our new Student Assistants for 2015-16. Each has been successful in having a positive impact on our Aggie community and I look forward to what they will accomplish as a team.

From left to right: Josh Wild, Chancellor Linda Katehi, Gagan Kaur and Erica Vonasek.

From left to right: Josh Wild, Chancellor Linda Katehi, Gagan Kaur and Erica Vonasek.

Undergraduate Student Assistants:

Gaganpreet “Gagan” Kaur is a junior majoring in international relations with a minor in psychology. Gagan is currently interning with the YOLO county Superior Court and would like to pursue a career in international law. She is involved with many student clubs on campus, and has served as the Vice President for the Council of International Development as well as the Treasurer for the Indian Student Association. Gagan is also a founding member and has served as Treasurer of the Sher Alliance. She wants to work with the campus community on student mental health and safety issues. She has undertaken efforts to help students gain access to valuable campus resources. In addition, Gagan is the recipient of the Blue and Gold Scholarship from the Alumni Center.
 
Joshua “Josh” Wild is a junior majoring in economics. He has worked as an orientation leader, helping incoming undergraduates learn about the requirements to earn a degree as well as useful resources on campus. He continued similar work as a peer adviser for Student Housing and as a member of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Board during the 2014-15 academic year. Josh is interested in working with staff and administrators to increase awareness about campus services for student success. Post-graduation, Josh hopes to participate in research and travel abroad to South America or Europe.

Our graduate student assistant also serves in an advisory capacity to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Erica Vonasek is a Ph.D. candidate in biological systems engineering. She received her B.S. in biological systems engineering and minor in Japanese from UC Davis. For her research, Erica has been awarded the National Science Foundation IGERT award (CREATE) fellowship, the Robert Mondavi Institute Industry Partners Fellowship, and the Professors for the Future Fellowship. She is engaged in science education outreach within the community. She is currently an active member in the Graduate Student Association, Graduate Ally Coalition, Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (DEB) program, and other graduate and professional student organizations. She is also a former Chair of the Graduate Student Association and continues to serve on various committees to advance graduate and professional student issues on campus.

Our assistants have all made positive contributions to the UC Davis community. Their passion for improving student life, both for graduate and undergraduate students, has been evident in everything that they have been involved with thus far. I look forward to working with them in the upcoming school year.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: UC Davis Launches 13 New Companies in the Past Year

When I came to UC Davis in 2009, one of the things I said I wanted to do was work with our outstanding faculty, students and staff here to turn more of our research into commercial ventures that create jobs, build companies and make a positive impact on people’s quality of life. There is always more work to do, but I am very pleased and proud of the fact that we’ve made good progress and have come a long way toward creating the kind of innovation ecosystem great research universities need to accomplish these goals.

photo credit: Karin Higgins, UC Davis

photo credit: Karin Higgins, UC Davis

Progress comes through collaboration. With the help of the Office of Research’s Venture Catalyst unit, faculty with promising commercial potential in their research get the support and technical help they need to develop their novel ideas into commercial endeavors. In the past year alone, our faculty created 13 new startup companies, and have averaged 12 startups over the past three years. Some of the companies started in 2014-15 include:

- Juno BioMedical: Novel method and device for directing cell migration 
- SAGE Therapeutics: Mitigation and treatment of epileptic seizures 
- Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research: Sampling device for personal blood tests
- Chirp Microsystems: Extremely low power, ultrasonic 3D-sensing solutions for consumer electronics 

With an increased focus on technology transfer, we are able to move ideas to the marketplace and have an impact on lives beyond the university. This, in turn, helps people better understand the value public research institutions bring when it comes to advancing scientific and technological progress, providing economic stimulus and in helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing societal problems.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: ELIPPS and the Next Generation of California Policy Leaders

Chancellor Linda Katehi delivers remarks at the October 6th ELIPPS event.

Chancellor Linda Katehi delivers remarks at the October 6th ELIPPS event.

With close proximity to the State Capitol, we have a tremendous opportunity to engage with elected officials in meaningful discussions about public policy. Furthermore, our students are well situated to pursue fellowships that provide them with insight to the inner workings of state and local government. One such opportunity is the Emerging Leaders in Policy and Public Service (ELIPPS) initiative. Spearheaded by Amandeep Kaur, director of ELIPPS and my science advisor, this program connects graduate and professional students with state leaders and enables them to learn about real-world policy and practices while making significant contributions to public decision-making.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion regarding ELIPPS and the value of having students engage in public policy early in their careers. The event commemorated the successful completion of the first year of the ELIPPS CA Fellowship and it was a great success.

ELIPPS Director, Amandeep Kaur, introduces panel participants.

ELIPPS Director, Amandeep Kaur, introduces panel participants.

Representatives from a variety of state agencies attended, echoing the value of engaging young minds in dialogue and public service. Their sentiments show the importance of programs like ELIPPS, not only locally but nationally as well, and we envision expanding the program now that it’s up and running so well. This is also in line with our University of the 21st Century mission to build a stronger policy orientation for our campus.

I have great faith in the potential of our graduate and professional students. These bright young minds are highly motivated researchers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. It is essential that we begin exposing these promising scholars and professionals to large-scale public policy and service so that the next generation of leaders and public servants will be prepared to face the challenges ahead for California, the U.S. and the world.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: A Leader in Healthcare Inducted into the National Academy of Medicine

photo credit: UC Davis Health System

photo credit: UC Davis Health System

Hardly a week goes by on our campus that doesn’t see one of our faculty members or deans recognized for their world-class research or for the breadth of their groundbreaking work over the course of their careers. One of the more recent examples of this came when we learned that Julie Freischlag, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine and our vice chancellor for human health sciences, was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine.

Being elected to the National Academy of Medicine is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, recognition that only comes to true leaders in their fields. Members of the Academy–only about 80 are admitted each year–serve as advisers to the nation and international community on medical and health issues and the Academy could pick no more qualified member than Julie.

Julie is a relative newcomer to UC Davis, having arrived here in February 2014 from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where she was, among other things, the first woman ever to chair the surgery department.

In her relatively brief time with UC Davis, she is already having a huge positive impact. Her work on our Sacramento campus is the culmination of more than 30 years of experience leading patient-care services as chief of surgery or vascular surgery at hospitals. She also has more than 15 years of experience leading education and training programs as professor and chair of surgery and vascular surgery departments at medical schools.

Her surgical specialty focuses on the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome, which can require a surgical procedure to remove the first rib to alleviate compression of the nerves, veins or arteries of the upper extremity. Among other things, her passion for improving health and health care includes speaking on topics ranging from developments in vascular disease and related surgery to leadership, teamwork, patient safety, work-life balance and women succeeding in health professions.

Julie has a big job at UC Davis. She oversees the Health System’s academic, research and clinical programs, including the School of Medicine, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, the 1,000-member physician practice group, and UC Davis Medical Center, a 619-bed acute-care hospital. It is a system that has nearly 10,000 employees, more than 815 students, an operating budget of more than $2 billion, $230 million in outside research funding and 860,000 outpatient visits each year.

When we were lucky enough to recruit Julie to Sacramento, I knew we had one of the most dynamic and accomplished leaders in the field of medicine and could not have been happier she chose to align herself with UC Davis. On behalf of the entire UC Davis community, I want to congratulate her on this latest honor and say thank you for everything she does for UC Davis, for our community and for the people of this region and California. We are fortunate to have her at UC Davis.

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