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: Congratulations to the Second Class of UC President Global Food Initiative Fellows

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science building and the Good Life garden. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science building and the Good Life garden. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

President Janet Napolitano recently announced the second class of UC President Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows.

The fellows are part of the University of California Global Food Initiative which was launched in July of 2014 by President Napolitano, together with the UC’s 10 Chancellors. It aims to addresses one of the most critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. Through research, policy discussions and community engagement, the initiative aims to expand access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

In its inaugural year, 54 undergraduate and graduate students were awarded a $2,500 fellowship grant that funded research, projects or internships that focused on food issues. With the first year being a huge success, the program was extended into a second year, with 44 fellows receiving an increased stipend of $4,000.

Let me introduce you to the GFI fellows from UC Davis:

Forest Ryan Dowdy (GFI fellow – class of 2015, 2016), a graduate student in food science, his 2015 project focused on using microbial fuel cells to covert organic wastes into electricity through electron-producing bacteria. In 2016, he will use his research and expand it to look at how the microbial fuel cells can power sea water desalination.

Sophie Sapp Moore (GFI fellow – class of 2015), a graduate student in cultural studies, her project examined food security for the Papaye Peasant Movement in Haiti.

Jessica West (GFI fellow – class of 2015), an undergraduate student in the department of Entomology and Nematology, is looking at ways to use genomic techniques to manage Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) and reduce the amount of insecticide used by farmers.

Nick Doherty, (GFI fellow – class of 2016), an undergraduate student studying computer science and engineering, Nick was recently noted as Apple’s “20 Under 20” for his work in creating the Study Cal app, a student class organizer. He has also created apps such as the Aggie Health that helps students track nutrients and calories.

Aria Wexler, (GFI fellow – class of 2016), an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in clinical nutrition, will work with Student Health and Counseling Services, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Ryann Miller, and Campus Health and Wellness to increase programs on food advocacy and nutrition education for students.

For a complete list of the 2016 GFI Fellows from all the UC campuses, visit here.

Congratulations again to these bright young scholars and innovators. Your work will help develop technologies and practices that will answer the question of how we will feed a growing and changing world.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Congratulations Class of 2015, Ambassadors for Change

This past Saturday, more than 700 UC Davis graduates received their diplomas at our Fall Commencement ceremony. Once again, it was my privilege to say a few words before conferring their degrees.

Graduation day is one of the most joyous events at any college campus. It’s always gratifying to see our students and their proud families taking photos, enjoying the festivities and beaming over their accomplishments.

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In addressing those in attendance, I wanted to remind us all that while UC Davis has faced many of the same challenges we see making headlines across a divided nation, I believe our graduates represent the next hope for acceptance and social justice in our global society. I believe it because I see UC Davis students every day on our campus doing all the things we hope to see our young people do.

As I told the graduates and their friends and families, every day on our campus the overwhelming majority of our students judge people on the quality of their character, not the color of their skin, their sexuality, religion or their economic circumstances.

They open their hearts and extend their hand to make others feel welcome and included. They become friends with and collaborate with people of different backgrounds and experiences. They exemplify our Principles of Community that say, among other things, that we at UC Davis “recognize and cherish the richness contributed to our lives by our diversity. We take pride in all our achievements and we celebrate our differences.” The vast majority of our students have proven that we really do affirm the dignity inherent in all of us.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Welcoming Three UC Davis Police Officers

In the photo L to R: UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael, Officer Erika Lee, Officer Jena Du and Officer Gurpreet Singh.

In the photo L to R: UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael, Officer Erika Lee, Officer Jena Du and Officer Gurpreet Singh.

This week our UC Davis campus Police Chief Matt Carmichael had the pleasure of welcoming three new police officers to the department’s ranks. Officers Erika Lee, Jena Du and Gurpreet Singh were the most recent additions from the department’s cadet program. The program, open to seniors and graduate students, provides a unique hands-on opportunity for students to explore career interested in fields such as law enforcement, forensics, criminology and other related fields. Top program graduates are offered a full scholarship to attend a police academy anywhere in California, and upon completion, the top graduate will receive priority consideration for hiring by the UC Davis police department.

It’s a wonderful way establish our police officers as an intrinsic part of the community they serve and to date, seven of our campus’s officers are UC Davis graduates who’ve gone through the cadet program. The popular program will begin its fourth academy in January, welcoming a group of 32 students. The stated mission of the UC Davis Police Cadet Program is to “serve the community by developing educated, well-trained and diverse candidates to work in law enforcement”. It is a great way to add police officers to our ranks who have been part of the community and who understand and appreciate what makes it special.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: Promoting Diversity Amongst our STEM Faculty

I recently had the pleasure of hosting a reception at the Mondavi Center to recognize the work our UC Davis ADVANCE team has been doing to recruit and retain diverse faculty in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The reception was a wonderful opportunity for me to again thank our team for helping to make our faculty more diverse and more supportive and nurturing of faculty of different backgrounds and experiences.

The ADVANCE program is part of a five-year grant we received from the National Science Foundation in 2012. The purpose of the program is to diversify STEM faculty at UC Davis by promoting the advancement of women and under-represented minorities with an emphasis on understanding the challenges faced by Latina faculty.

But hiring these excellent scholars is just part of the story. The grant also allowed us to create the UC Davis Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS), whose mission is to “support discovery of knowledge by promoting women in science, starting with Latinas, through an inclusive environment that is diversity driven, mentorship grounded and career focused”.

Since January of 2014, we have welcomed twelve CAMPOS Faculty Scholars, eight of whom are Latinas. These scholars, as CAMPOS Founding Director Mary Lou de Leon Saintz put it, are selected for their “transformative thinking, unique perspectives, interdisciplinary approaches, and leadership potential to impact the STEM disciplines.” California State Senator Lois Wolk and I were able to recognize the following faculty at the CAMPOS Faculty reception:

Rebecca Calisi Rodriguez, Lois Wolik, and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi during the CAMPOS  award ceremony at the Monday Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

CA State Senator Lois Wolk, Rebecca Calisi Rodriguez, and Chancellor Linda Katehi during the CAMPOS awards ceremony at the Mondavi Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Rebecca Calisi Rodriguez- Assistant Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior; College of Biological Sciences.
- Her research is focused on uncovering how changes in physical, chemical, and social environments affect the reproduction and health of organisms, particularly for the brain.

Natalia Caporale, Lois Wolik, and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi during the CAMPOS  award ceremony at the Monday Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

CA State Senator Lois Wolk, Natalia Caporale, and Chancellor Linda Katehi during the CAMPOS awards ceremony at the Mondavi Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Natalia Caporale- Assistant Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior; College of Biological Sciences.
- Her primary role in teaching will include research on the role of metacognition in learning processes and strategies to improve student success and retention in STEM disciplines.

Juliana Maria Leite Nobrega de Moura Bell, Lois Wolik, and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi during the CAMPOS  award ceremony at the Monday Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

CA State Senator Lois Wolk, Juliana Maria Leite Nobrega de Moura Bell, and Chancellor Linda Katehi during the CAMPOS awards ceremony at the Mondavi Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Juliana Maria Leite Nobrega de Moura Bell- Assistant Professor of Food Science and Technology; College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences.
- She is working to develop environmentally-friendly alternatives to existing technologies focused on extracting major food components such as oil, protein, and carbohydrates.

Fernanda Ferriera, Lois Wolik, and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi during the CAMPOS  award ceremony at the Monday Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

CA State Senator Lois Wolk, Fernanda Ferriera, and Chancellor Linda Katehi during the CAMPOS award ceremony at the Mondavi Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Fernanda Ferreira- Professor of Psychology; College of Letters and Sciences – Division of Social Sciences.
- Her research focuses on uncovering mechanisms that enable humans to understand and generate language in real time.

Alexis Patterson, Lois Wolik, and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi during the CAMPOS  award ceremony at the Monday Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

CA State Senator Lois Wolk, Alexis Patterson, and Chancellor Linda Katehi during the CAMPOS award ceremony at the Mondavi Center. (photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Alexis Patterson- Assistant Professor of Elementary Science Education; School of Education.
- Her expertise is at the intersection of equity studies, social psychology and science education, with a focus on increasing the participation of women of color in STEM.

Not only do these scholars serve as role models for aspiring undergrads, but also for future scientists and scholars. They are helping make our faculty more diverse and stronger. Please join me in congratulating these exceptional individuals on their achievements.

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Chancellor Linda Katehi: UC Davis Dedicates Largest Solar Farm in North America

SunPower solar power plant dedication ceremony. In photo L to R:  (photo credit: UC Davis)

SunPower solar power plant dedication ceremony. In photo from L to R: Dave Lawlor, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer; Chancellor Linda Katehi; Naftali Moed; Bob Redlinger, Commercial Director of Sun Power; Andrew McAllister, CA Energy Commission; David Philips, Director of UC Davis Utilities (photo credit: UC Davis)

The University of California, a national leader in sustainability, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025. UC Davis has been working towards this goal, leveraging its academic and external collaborations to research and develop sustainable clean energy alternatives that will lead towards the reduction of the campus’s carbon footprint.

SunPower Solar Power Plant. Photo credit: UC Davis

SunPower Solar Power Plant. (photo credit: UC Davis)

We recently dedicated a newly constructed SunPower 16.3-megawatt (AC) solar power plant, located on a 62-acre site south of Interstate 80. The largest of its kind in the UC system and on a college campus in northern America, the plant will generate an estimated 14 percent of the campus’s electricity needs. The plant is part of UC Davis’s plan to obtain 60 percent of its electricity from renewable, carbon-free, sources by 2017.

SunPower Oasis Power Plant robotic cleaning system. Photo Credit: UC Davis

SunPower Oasis Power Plant robotic cleaning system. (photo credit: UC Davis)

The solar power plant features a state of the art SunPower Oasis Power Plant robotic system that is not only able to reduce water usage for cleaning by 75 percent but may also improve system performance by as much as 15 percent. By partnering with SunPower, we are able to present a compelling example of how industry and academia can work together to implement sustainable clean energy alternatives that will significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

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