CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

July 10, 2008

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean





A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Construction Update

With the Robert Mondavi Institute (RMI) academic buildings nearing completion, I wanted to update everyone on the status of other facilities that are under construction or being planned by the college.

Hunt Hall Phase I is a project that will be completed before the end of the year to provide new space for our Department of Environmental Design. This anxiously awaited project, which concludes at least two decades of planning, will house the landscape architecture program.

Robbins Hall is being remodeled in stages. Much of the second floor of the south wing was gutted and is now totally remodeled. Work on common spaces and informatics laboratories in the central and north wings are underway. Much of the bottom floor of the north wing will be gutted and remodeled. This project is almost to the stage of soliciting architectural working drawings.

The RMI Teaching and Research Winery and the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory will be constructed by a process termed “design/build,” in which program specifications are provided to teams of architects/contractors who will propose a design to be built within the specified budget. This approach is being taken for these facilities to make sure we keep within the budget, since all construction funds for the facility have been raised through donations by college friends and supporters. The teams that will compete have been pre-selected through a competitive process. We expect completion of the project within two years.

The college has made significant progress in renewing our facilities, but we still have a number of projects/buildings that need attention, including Hunt Hall Phase II, Wickson Hall, Veihmeyer Hall, as well as facilities for textiles and clothing, and perhaps in lieu of one or more of these projects, a new environmental sciences building.

As always, I value your feedback. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail me.

Neal K. Van Alfen
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]

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David Block: Distinguished Teaching Award


The Academic Senate honored Professor David Block with the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award. Block, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, was one of three campus faculty to receive an award for undergraduate teaching. Two additional faculty were honored for teaching at the graduate and professional mentoring level. The Distinguished Teaching Award is one of the most prestigious granted on the UC Davis campus and recognizes consistent outstanding teaching and commitment to student success. Block and other teaching award winners will be honored at a dinner in the fall.

One student nominator noted that Block has "an extraordinary sense in teaching practical skills that can be applied almost immediately after completing the course.” Block teaches a course on facility design and regulatory compliance in biotechnology, and a course on wine technology and winery systems. For the biotechnology course, he brings equipment vendors to class for demonstrations and takes students on tours of local biotech facilities. For the winery course, he guides students through designing and laying out a complete winery.

David Block
(530) 754-6046
[email protected]

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Randy Dahlgren: Distinguished Teaching Award


The Academic Senate honored Professor Randy Dahlgren with the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award. Dahlgren, of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, was one of three campus faculty to receive an award for undergraduate teaching. Two additional faculty were honored for teaching at the graduate and professional mentoring level. The Distinguished Teaching Award is one of the most prestigious granted on the UC Davis campus and recognizes consistent outstanding teaching and commitment to student success. Dahlgren and other teaching award winners will be honored at a dinner in the fall.

The citation for Dahlgren notes that he "takes the most pedestrian of topics, the soil under our feet, and elevates it to one of the most scintillating courses on campus." Dahlgren developed the environmental track in the Science and Society Program, as well as a course to help teach nonscience majors how science is used to understand and solve environmental issues. He also instituted the first undergraduate internship program at the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science.

Randy Dahlgren
(530) 752-2814
[email protected]

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Bruce Hammock: Distinguished Teaching Award


The Academic Senate honored Professor Bruce Hammock with the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award. Hammock, of the Department of Entomology and the UC Davis MIND Instititute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders), was one of two campus faculty to receive an award at the graduate and professional mentoring level. Three additional faculty were honored for their undergraduate teaching excellence. The Distinguished Teaching Award is one of the most prestigious granted on the UC Davis campus and recognizes consistent outstanding teaching and commitment to student success. Hammock and other teaching award winners will be honored at a dinner in the fall.

Nominators for Hammock described him as a talented scientist who creates a lab culture and research environment thoughtfully designed to train and mentor students. In addition, Hammock, who is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, has developed two federally funded training programs, and, during his more than 30 years at UC Davis, has mentored hundreds of students and professional researchers.

Bruce Hammock
(530) 752-7519
[email protected]

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Richard Howitt: Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award


Richard Howitt, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, has been named one of two campus recipients of the 2008 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. The honor is given by the Academic Senate for voluntary service in the scholar’s field of expertise. It recognizes professors for unpaid dissemination of information from their discipline to the public and nonprofit sector. Faculty receive the award for service activities such as advising public or nonprofit commissions, educating business, community groups, or the media, and giving testimony before government bodies.

Howitt, a leading scholar of water resource economics, has played an important role in the development of new policies that hold promise to alleviate California's critical water allocation programs. "It is clear that his sustained and multifaceted involvement in water management issues in California has resulted in real changes in water policy," said colleague John Largier, an associate professor at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. Howitt has participated in a variety of state and national committees, workshops, studies, and planning processes, and he lectures internationally.

The Academic Senate will honor the two recipients of the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award at a fall event.

Richard Howitt
(530) 752-1521
[email protected]

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Ron Tjeerdema: Cooperative Agreement


Professor Ron Tjeerdema, chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology, developed a partnership with City University of Hong Kong to facilitate research and teaching exchanges with UC Davis. The broader goal of the agreement is to address pollution problems centered in the Pacific Rim Region. Tjeerdema has been working for a year with the Department of Biology and Chemistry at City University of Hong Kong to develop a cooperative agreement between the two universities.

Ron Tjeerdema
(530) 754-5192
[email protected]

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In Memoriam: John Tucker

John Tucker, professor emeritus of botany at the University of California, Davis, and an internationally recognized oak expert, died July 5 at Sutter Davis Hospital from complications of a stroke. He was 92.

An authority on the classification and naming of plants, particularly oaks, he served for 39 years as director of the J.M. Tucker Herbarium, now part of the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity herbarium, a collection of more than 250,000 dried plant species. He also served as director of the UC Davis Arboretum for 12 years.

A memorial service in his honor is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, August 9, at the UC Davis University Club on Old Davis Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to either the UC Davis Foundation Herbarium Endowment in support of the J.M. Tucker Herbarium or the UC Regents J.M. Tucker Endowment in Support of the Arboretum's oak collection. Donations may be sent to: Allison Chilcott, CAES Dean's Office, 150 Mrak Hall, One Shields Ave., UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Pat Bailey
News Service
(530) 752-9843
[email protected]

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Citation for Excellence



Several CA&ES staff members were among those awarded a Citation for Excellence by the UC Davis Staff Assembly. They were honored at a chancellor’s residence reception in May.

Those working in CA&ES who received a Distinguished Citation for Excellence included Yoke Dellenback and Susan Padgett, Department of Entomology, in the category of “Team General Contribution.” Dellenback and Padgett, account managers, were first presented with citations for excellence in the team division, general contributions category, and then were singled out for the distinguished team award in that category. Their names will be engraved on a plaque at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.

Additional CA&ES staff who received a 2008 Citation for Excellence Award in the “Individual General Contribution” category include:

  • Lisa Holmes, Animal Science
  • Rita Lundin, Human and Community Development
  • Jeanette Martin, Department of Entomology
  • Zainulabeuddin Syed, Department of Entomology

Suanne Klahorst of the John Muir Institute of the Environment won a 2008 Citation for Excellence Award in the “Individual Campus Service” category.

For a complete listing of all campus awardees, visit the Staff Assembly website at


Kathy Keatley Garvey
(530) 754-6894
[email protected]

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Pedal-Powered Laptop Desk


A team of graduate students in the Education for Sustainable Living Program, part of a course offered every spring by the California Student Sustainability Coalition, created a pedal-powered laptop desk that is on display at the Memorial Union. Located outside Griffin Lounge, the desk is free to use.

The team built the bike primarily from recycled and salvaged materials, along with an additional $700 in equipment funded through the campus sustainability grant program. A fact sheet on the Plexiglas desktop lets users know that although one human can power a laptop, it would take 20 human pedalers to power an air conditioner.

The bike will be on display through the fall in the MU hallway, or you can view a demonstration on Youtube at

Sharon Ruth
John Muir Institute of the Environment
(530) 752-9178
[email protected]

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Plant Breeding Academy

The Plant Breeding Academy, sponsored by the Seed Biotechnology Center, is accepting applications for Class II, which will begin in September 2008. The Plant Breeding Academy is a two-year program designed to meet the needs of working professionals, giving them the tools to manage a breeding program. Meeting for six one-week sessions over two years, the academy’s schedule allows participants to maintain their current working positions. Students from Class I completed instruction in June.

The academy is taught by internationally recognized plant breeders and is limited in size to give students personal attention. Visit the Plant Breeding Academy website for more information and to apply for the 2008-2010 Academy.

Cathy Glaeser
Seed Biotechnology Center
(530) 752-4414
[email protected]

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Seed Biotechnology Center Research Papers

Researchers at the Seed Biotechnology Center have published three new papers. Kent Bradford, director of the Seed Biotechnology Center and professor of plant sciences, was a co-author on an issue paper titled “Implications of Gene Flow in the Scale-up and Commercial Use of Biotechnology-derived Crops: Economic and Policy Considerations.” Senior scientist Allen Van Deynze collaborated on two papers, one on developing a strategy for sequencing the cotton genomes, which will vastly expand opportunities for cotton research and improvement worldwide. The other is about diversity in conserved genes in tomato.

Cathy Glaeser
Seed Biotechnology Center
(530) 752-4414
[email protected]

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Media Training Workshops: 2008-2009 schedule

University Communications has announced its media training schedule for the 2008–09 academic year, with dates for both regular and advanced media training.

Media Training I

This workshop is recommended for any faculty, administrator, or staff member likely to be called upon to do media interviews. The provost often asks new administrators to attend, and some deans require new department chairs to attend the workshop. Faculty and staff with expertise on hot media topics, and even graduate students and undergraduate student leaders are welcome to enroll.

The full-day interactive session covers the benefits and risks of working with the news media, including strategies for accommodating the differing methods of print and broadcast journalists. Enrollment in Media Training I is limited to eight participants per session. All workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the University Club Conference Center Lounge, unless otherwise noted. The class will be taught by Paul Pfotenhauer, UC Davis News Service broadcast specialist, and Lisa Lapin, assistant vice chancellor for University Communications.

Dates offered include October 9, November 12, January 15, February 11, and May 14.

Advanced Media Training

This three-hour program is for those who have completed the primary media training workshop and are seeking more practice with media interviews and public speaking situations. Topics covered through on-camera exercises will include message development, speaking to a group, and aggressive interviews. The class will be taught by Paul Pfotenhauer, UC Davis News Service broadcast specialist, and Mitchel Benson, News Service director.

Dates offered include December 11, March 12, and April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Ada McAdow
University Communications
(530) 752-3683
[email protected]

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Retirement Readiness

In support of the Retirement Readiness Program, the UC Davis benefits office is offering several workshops presented by the campus representative from FITSCo (Fidelity Investments Tax-Exempt Services Company). The workshops are designed for all employees and will be offered at various times and dates in July, August, and September. All sessions are in the Memorial Union, Garrison Room. Topics include:

  • Enrolling in Your UC Retirement Savings Program
  • Determining Your Investment Strategy
  • NetBenefits
  • Achieving a Sound Retirement

If you wish to attend the workshops in a series, FITSCo recommends following the order listed above. Reservations are required for all workshops. The FITSCo Reservation Line is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time at (800) 642-7131.

Bill Brooks
Benefits Office
(530) 754-5875
[email protected]

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Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “The World of the Coast Redwood”; Saturday, July 12, 10 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
    Learn about the complex and fascinating ecosystem of the redwood forest on a free tour with docent Bev Watros.
  • “More Color in Your Garden”; Sunday, July 20, 10 a.m., Gazebo.
    Docent Pat Murray will lead a tour of the demonstration gardens and discuss how to create a garden with year-round color and interest.
  • “Arboretum on the Air”; Sunday, July 20, 11:05 a.m., KSTE Radio 650 AM.
    Home gardeners can tune in and hear arboretum superintendent Warren Roberts chatting with host Fred Hoffman on the popular radio gardening show “Get Growing with Farmer Fred” on KSTE, 650 AM.
  • “Folk Music Jam Session”; Friday, July 25, noon to 1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    The arboretum's folk music jams are held outside on the Wyatt Deck next to the redwood grove. Campus and community folk musicians are invited to play together informally during this acoustic jam session. Bring your fiddles, guitars, mandolins, penny whistles, pipes, flutes, and squeezeboxes, and join fellow musicians for bluegrass, old-time, blues, Celtic, klezmer, and world music. Listeners and musicians of all skill levels welcome.
  • “Mediterranean Garden Style”; Saturday, July 26, 10 a.m., Arboretum Terrace Garden, Davis Commons, First and D Streets.
    California’s Central Valley has a Mediterranean-type climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Docent Lois Crowe will discuss Mediterranean-style gardening techniques to encourage outdoor living, lower ambient temperature, increase the sense of comfort, and reduce the area of irrigated garden.

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Weed Day: July 17, 2008

The 52nd annual Weed Day will be held Thursday, July 17, at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event provides an opportunity for pest control advisors, farm advisors, chemical company cooperators, college faculty and students, and regulatory officials to learn about current weed science research at UC Davis.

The event begins with a morning bus tour to the campus research fields to view demonstrations and current research studies in terrestrial and aquatic weed control. Lunch and afternoon presentations will be indoors. Faculty, staff, and students will present information on projects that are not easily available for viewing. Presentations will include basic research showing the scope of the campus weed science program.

Registration and additional information is available online at

Gale Perez
Plant Sciences
(530) 752-1748
[email protected]

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Centennial Celebration at State Fair: August 15–September 1, 2008

The campus will kick off its centennial celebration at a California State Fair exhibit called “Dream Big.” The exhibit, which will fill a 6,000-square-foot pavilion, will showcase the development of the campus from a farm school to a dynamic university for the arts and sciences, recognized worldwide for education and research in agriculture, health care, the environment, alternative energy, and global understanding. The state fair runs at Cal Expo in Sacramento from August 15 through Labor Day, September 1.

Mitchel Benson
UC Davis News Service
(530) 752-9844
[email protected]

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John Harris Reception: August 27, 2008

UC Davis alumni and friends are invited to a California State Fair reception honoring distinguished alumnus John Harris, ’65. Harris is owner of the famous Harris Ranch Restaurant and Inn located on Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition to running one of California’s largest beef feeding and processing plants, he oversees a thoroughbred breeding and training farm.

The reception honoring Harris, hosted by the Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) and the California State Fair board of directors, will be held Wednesday, August 27, 2008, at the Cal Expo Racing Clubhouse. The cost is $15 for CAAA members and $20 for non-members. Prices include a ticket to the California State Fair. R.S.V.P. for this event at

Jennifer Thayer
Cal Aggie Alumni Association
(530) 754-9098
[email protected]

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Aquatic Weed School: September 16–17, 2008

Professionals involved in consulting, research, and management of aquatic weed systems throughout the western United States are invited to attend the Aquatic Weed School 2008. The intensive two-day course will meet September 16–17 on campus at the Bowley Plant Sciences Teaching Center.

The weed school will focus on issues associated with developing weed management strategies in a variety of aquatic ecosystems. The course covers ecological classification, biology and impacts of aquatic weeds, physical and mechanical control methods, biological and chemical controls, and surfactants. Water management, and restoration and sustainable ecosystem management are also covered.

Registration is $375 for payment received by September 1, $400 for payment received after September 1. The registration fee includes a comprehensive notebook, as well as lunch and light refreshments each day. Class size is limited, so early enrollment is suggested. No walk-in registrations accepted.

For an agenda and more information, visit

Gale Perez
Weed Research and Information Center
(530) 752-1748
[email protected]

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Foods for Health Centennial Symposium: November 16–18, 2008

Save the date for “Foods for Health in the 21st Century: A Roadmap for the Future,” a centennial conference to be held November 16–18, 2008, at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. The UC Davis Foods for Health Institute is organizing the event, in collaboration with Innovation Center Denmark/Silicon Valley, the Danish Agency for Science Technology and Innovation, and scientists from the Centre for Advanced Food Studies, a Danish research consortium. The international conference will highlight research at the Davis campus and develop a scientific roadmap for the next decade and beyond, including an analysis of how the evolving global economy will affect the future directions of nutrition and human health.

Additional conference details will follow in coming weeks.

Melanie Funes
Foods for Health Institute
(530) 752-9211
[email protected]

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*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Visit CA&ES Currents online at

CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is published the second Thursday of each month.

News deadline is noon Monday preceding Thursday publication. Send news items to editor, [email protected].

Editor: Robin DeRieux
Writing: Robin DeRieux, Neal Van Alfen
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

To be added to or deleted from this electronic newsletter list, please send an e-mail to: [email protected].


The University of California does not discriminate in any of its policies, procedures, or practices.
The university is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

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