Welcoming the academic year with UC Path, new students and faculty, and College Celebration
Welcome to the start of a new school year. As students and faculty return to campus, we are preparing for a busy year of academics and transition. Fall is a season of change, and one big change we’ll see this year is in how we do business. After many years of planning, preparation and training, we are in the midst of transitioning to UC Path, a system-wide solution to modernize how we deliver payroll, benefits and personnel services. I had the opportunity to visit with our staff recently to check on the status of the transition.
We believe we are well prepared. About a year ago we created a new human resources and payroll shared services center called the CA&ES Distributed Shared Services Center (DiSSC) for the college. The DiSSC staff are HR and payroll professionals in the existing administrative units that serve the college’s academic departments and Dean’s Office. For the past month, they’ve worked side-by-side to facilitate our transition to UC Path. By harnessing the power of a team approach, we’ve increased collaboration, training and the collective understanding of the new system in the short-term while still remaining committed to localized service at the departmental level in the long-term. Through the support and input of the departmental chief administrative officers and chairs, this model of temporary co-location is proving to be a successful step in our implementation of UC Path.
Many staff have worked tirelessly to bring us to this point, and I want to commend them for their dedication and perseverance during this transition. I also want to thank the departments for their patience and flexibility throughout this process. UC Path goes live at UC Davis on September 27, just in time for October payroll. We know there will be areas we will need to adjust, but we also know we have a college that is dedicated to a successful transition to UC Path.
This season also brings an influx of new students to UC Davis. Our college is expecting 1,220 incoming freshmen and 815 incoming transfer students. We have two events planned to make them feel especially welcomed.
At 9 a.m. on September 23, we are holding a College Welcome at the Sciences Lecture Hall to give new students the opportunity to meet each other and some of the Dean’s Office staff (including myself). Afterward, our Aggie Ambassadors and peer advisors will give classroom tours. The next day we’ll hold our annual ice cream social at 3:30 p.m. on the north side of Mrak Hall, where our new students can meet with Undergraduate Academic Programs staff and some of our major advisors. Both events are a great opportunity for students to have some fun, meet new people and get their questions answered.
Evaluators of higher education continue to place us among the country’s best universities. We remain the top leader in the nation in agriculture, as well as in specific disciplines such as animal science, plant sciences and agricultural economics. One of the reasons our students choose UC Davis is because of our faculty. By the end of this year, our college will have hired 69 ladder rank faculty since July 1, 2015. And there are more on the way, with 14 additional recruitments for faculty and CE specialists.
We also enjoy starting the new academic year with our traditional fall get together, College Celebration. This year marks the 31st anniversary of College Celebration where we present the Award of Distinction to eight individuals—alumni, friends, faculty and staff—in honor of their accomplishments in service to the college. The party gets underway on October 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the ARC Pavilion. Please visit our website to learn more and register. I hope you will come help us celebrate this fall.