A Message from the Dean - February 2018

Feb 22, 2018 Helene Dillard
Imagining a bold, new future for the UC Davis community

Department of Viticulture and Enology Chair David Block (left) visits with UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Helene Dillard.
Our new chancellor, Gary May, was quickly and warmly embraced by UC Davis when he joined the campus late last summer. Now, he is challenging us to dig deep and imagine a bold new future in an inclusive strategic planning effort for the campus community.

“UC Davis is a powerful education, research and public service force working to make the world a better place,” May said last October. “With all of our strengths, however, we remain a sleeping giant. I’m asking the collective community to come together and contribute creative and bold ideas that will propel us to accomplish things we’ve only dreamed of in the past.”

Some of the broad themes the chancellor has asked the community to consider include how to provide better access to California students, how to establish a diverse community that represents the demographics of the state, how to strengthen our research expertise and how to strengthen our presence in the greater Sacramento area.

We believe his goals are very much in alignment with the strategic mission of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. We share a dedication to solving critical issues with food, water, energy, climate change, conservation, and human health to improve quality of life throughout society. Moreover, because we are a global leader in many disciplines, we have the capacity to address the challenges of our rapidly changing world.

The mission of our college, as spelled out in our strategic plan, is straightforward: to promote agricultural, environmental and social sustainability through research, teaching and public engagement to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Four core themes are driving the work that we do:

  • Sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • Equitable, healthy communities
  • Ecosystem viability and functionality
  • Meeting the challenges of climate change

These themes are inextricably linked and draw on our core academic strengths. Our strategic plan, Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Global Change, is available for all to read online.

Work on the chancellor’s strategic plan, To Boldly Go, is underway. A number of town halls and planning events have been soliciting ideas from the campus community. You can learn more and submit an idea online at the Strategic Plan website.

We look forward to reading, reviewing and discussing the strategic plan with colleagues and the larger UC Davis community in the coming months. This will be a valuable tool to guide us for the next 10 years. Ultimately, we will do what this campus has always done: rise to the occasion and make this a better world through our collective actions.

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