A Message from the Dean - October 2023

October has been a very challenging month on our campus and around the world. Here in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, we echo the message Chancellor May shared last Friday. Hate has no place at UC Davis. I see the resilience of our college, the compassion we have for our colleagues and students, and the strength and kindness shown for our community. I see brave people standing up for others, and I stand together with them. In times like these, I am especially grateful for our Principles of Community, as they remind us to be our best selves. Thank you for your empathy, the care you have shown for one another and your continued commitment in lifting up our greater humanity.

This month, we have several reasons to celebrate the greater good within our college and throughout the university. We have new research on the effects of extreme heat on bird reproduction, guidance on how best to use biomass, new insights on the benefits of crushed volcanic rock on air quality, a better understanding of how viruses in soil give space for new growth, a great example of how our clinical nutrition students are giving back to our communities, and an inside look on how three students spent their summer break conducting research and field work. 

We also recognize the contributions of several faculty, students, and staff, including our advising award recipients, Erica Cefalo with the departments of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and Environmental Toxicology who was named Outstanding Staff Advisor; Emma Martinez with the Animal Science Advising Center received Outstanding Advising Mentor Award; and Vanessa Talavera, outreach and recruitment coordinator with Undergraduate Academic Programs who was named Outstanding Campus Coordinator.

Beyond our college, last week I had the chance to support our campus community by attending the opening celebration of the Gorman Museum of Native American Art and visit the current exhibition at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art—both beautiful spaces with meaningful collections, situated within easy walking distance from the Arboretum, which is currently thriving and full of migrating birds. Each event highlighted how fortunate we are to be a part of such a vibrant campus and academic environment that continuously feeds our curiosity, imagination and connection.  

Finally, next week as a college we celebrate our Award of Distinction awardees: Jim Finch, Jeffrey Sparks, Tony Turkovich, Lynn Kimsey and Lisa Nash Holmes. They will be honored during a ceremony and reception on Nov. 2, where we will recognize their longtime achievements, support, leadership and service to our college mission. We are grateful for each of their contributions and look forward to celebrating them.

In closing I will part with these thoughts. In a time of great uncertainty around the world, I continue to be moved and inspired by our students, faculty, staff and broader community. The good that they are putting into the world is not only a safe harbor but a guiding light to follow. I hope that you are able to find solace in that light, our community and each other.

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