A Message From the Dean - April 2020

CA&ES held a virtual open house called Aggie Experience Live, which took place April 6 through 10.
CA&ES held a virtual open house called Aggie Experience Live, which took place April 6 through 10.

Our resilience will move us forward

The one word that keeps coming to mind as we collectively reinvent our day-to-day lives is resilience. While these changes to our world were brought about suddenly, our college is adapting well and remains flexible in our efforts to educate our dedicated students, conduct essential research and engage the public in new ways. Even though we are all sheltering in place, our spring remains incredibly busy and full of online activity.

Every April, the campus invites admitted high school seniors and their families to visit campus for our annual Decision Day. This year’s event was canceled because of shelter-in-place directives, and instead, we held a virtual open house called Aggie Experience Live, which took place April 6 through 10.

Prospective students had the opportunity to virtually explore campus communities, learn about financial aid and scholarships, tour residence halls, and engage with departments and advisors. They also heard from current Aggies—students, faculty and staff—who shared what it’s like to be part of UC Davis’ many communities, including the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Many prospective students engaged with our Undergraduate Academic Programs staff through Facebook and Instagram, and the college’s Aggie Experience webpage. Potential freshmen asked questions about their majors, research, experiential learning opportunities, summer courses and UC Davis clubs. Our college is very excited to welcome our 2020 class of new Aggies!

We know that the additional changes with work and home bring added stress to everyone, and to address that stress among our students, our college recently held a live, virtual panel on “Adapting to Change: Resiliency, Wellness and Academic Success in an Online Environment.” All CA&ES undergraduate students were invited to this conversation where we discussed how to adjust to online learning and shared wellness and academic success strategies. Some of the issues students brought to our attention included the difficulties of being a full-time student at home with family distractions, considerations for choosing pass/fail or a letter grade for certain courses, the need for improved broadband connectivity in rural areas, the importance of communicating with professors, and the need for graduating seniors to continue networking online for career opportunities.

We also want to take a moment to thank our donors who pledged their support for the university during our recent Give Day. Altogether, the campus raised a record $2.5 million from 3,380 gifts. Here are a few examples of this year’s gifts:

    • An anonymous donor made a $10,000 challenge gift to the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology Experiential Learning Fund.
    • Professor David Slaughter and his wife Susan gave $2,500 and invited donors to join them in supporting the Smart Farm Agricultural Robotics Student Team.
    • A $5,500 challenge from alumna Helen North Root prompted 13 donors to step up and unlock this gift to support the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
    • A successful $6,000 challenge gift by alumna Charlotte Harvey will support the Ecogeomorphology Field Course, an unparalleled educational experience on North American rivers.
    • A successful $15,000 challenge gift to the California Center for Urban Horticulture “Smart Landscape Fund” from Marq and Rachel Truscott will support experiential learning opportunities, teaching, outreach and horticulture research.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know our college is incredibly resilient and full of talented faculty, staff and students. Our college community is strong and vibrant, and together, we will continue to adapt, learn, and innovate.

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