Catherine Brinkley appointed faculty director of the Center for Regional Change
Catherine Brinkley, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology, has been selected to lead the Center for Regional Change (CRC) as its new faculty director. She succeeds Jonathan London, who steps down July 1.
Brinkley is a natural fit for the position. With a Ph.D. in city and regional planning, a veterinary medical degree and a master’s in virology, her research focuses on health and urban design. “I accept the CRC faculty director position with great enthusiasm for both the legacy of the center and its potential to further engaged scholarship throughout California,” she said.
“With her unique expertise and passion for fostering opportunities for engaged learning and supporting data-informed policy making, the college is thrilled to have Professor Brinkley in this role,” said CA&ES Dean Helene Dillard. “The CRC is well-positioned to support college and campus strategies on sustainable development, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Brinkley’s training in urban planning and public health will be particularly helpful in her new position. She describes the CRC as filling a vital role in bringing voice to grassroots, local and regional efforts to influence issues that affect housing, transportation and conservation policies.
“The Center for Regional Change is often the gateway for community groups seeking research expertise in public health, environmental land use and planning policy,” she said. “The CRC has been instrumental in moving environmental justice policy forward, developing mapping tools for impacted communities, and creating a nationally recognized training program for youth engagement.”
Over the past five years, Brinkley has worked with the center on a number of projects, including the Delta Protection Commission’s economic indicators report; a collaboration with the California Rural Legal Assistance nonprofit on language justice in education, healthcare and worker safety; and building a searchable database of California’s city and county land use plans. Another project beginning this summer will evaluate the potential to reduce poverty in Yolo County with direct cash transfers to families experiencing homelessness.
The Center for Regional Change was created 15 years ago from the vision of the late Ted Bradshaw and its founding director, London. Since that time, the CRC has emerged as a national leader in community-engaged research with a focus on social justice and sustainable development. It brings together faculty and students from different disciplines, and builds bridges between the university, policy, advocacy, business, philanthropy and other sectors committed to fostering healthy, equitable, prosperous, and sustainable regions in California and beyond.
Brinkley will be supported by CRC Executive Director Bernadette Austin, who will provide organizational leadership to complement Brinkley’s scholarly leadership of the CRC. This leadership team will guide efforts to connect research affiliates and community partners in high quality, impactful research, as well as to provide a platform for new initiatives in engaged learning and scholarship. London is stepping down to focus on his own growing research in the areas of environmental justice and environmental health.
“I am thankful for the scholarly work of Ted Bradshaw and Jonathan London, which created a high standard for engaged research and policy focused on social equity,” Brinkley said. “I look forward to working more closely with the CRC’s amazing staff, faculty affiliates, alumni and students.”