A Message from the Dean

Apr 18, 2017 Helene Dillard
Top rankings reflect academic excellence
A Message from the Dean

Picnic Day

With the arrival of Picnic Day on April 22, now is a good time to reflect on what makes UC Davis so special. This beautiful, bike-friendly, collegial campus draws students from many different places for many different reasons. Among my favorite places are the pathways of the Arboretum, the barns housing our draft horses, mules and carriages, Shields Library, and the Student Community Center. I'm sure you could come up with your own list of what's special about your experience here.

Our annual open house is not only an opportunity to celebrate all things uniquely Davis, it's also an opportunity to draw attention to the quality of our academic programs. Recently, UC Davis was ranked first in the world in agricultural economics and policy by the Center for World University rankings. We were also ranked among the top seven in 11 other disciplines, including horticulture, agriculture, biodiversity conservation, ecology, plant sciences, toxicology, environmental sciences, soil science, agronomy, entomology, and nutrition.

The Center for World University Rankings measures the quality of education and training of students, as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research. The rankings factor in journal citations over the last 10 years from 26,000 universities in the sciences and social sciences around the globe. UC Davis received the most top-10 placements and ranks 28th among global institutions overall.

These latest rankings don't stand in isolation, either. Earlier this year, UC Davis was ranked #2 in the world for agriculture and forestry by the influential QS World University Rankings. In December 2016, UC Davis was named the greenest university in the world by the seventh annual GreenMetric ranking. In October 2016, U.S. News and World Report's "Best Global Universities" ranked us #1 in programs for plant and animal sciences, #2 in agricultural sciences, and #4 in environment and ecology. And PLOS ONE ranked our faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology No.1 in the nation for research productivity and impact.

What this tells me is that our college is right on track. Top rankings such as these validate our investment in the disciplines so critical to supporting sustainable, nutritious food production, protecting and conserving our environment, and enhancing human health and well-being. We all benefit as a result.

Prospective and current students are paying attention, too. Our research shows that rankings and reputation are top factors influencing student (and parent) decisions in applying to and attending UC Davis and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. While rankings are a useful tool, what really matters is the quality of education that people experience once they arrive here. Students choose UC Davis because they see a good fit for their goals, have confidence their expectations will be met, and anticipate a stimulating environment to help make their dreams come true.

We are committed to maintaining forward momentum in all our programs and in doing our part to keep UC Davis among the high-performing universities of the world. Go Aggies!

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