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May 10, 2012

May 20, 2014 admin


Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: College Diversity

I am frequently asked by our alumni and friends how our college is doing. I usually respond by providing data that could be likened to the vital signs of a patient, such as trends in student numbers, popularity of our courses, scholarly achievements of our faculty, and the impact that we have on our state's health and economy.

Data on the diversity of our college community has been of interest for many decades, in part to follow our progress in opening our community to all qualified individuals regardless of background. Given this long-term goal of assuring that our campus reflects the diversity of our state, I thought you would be interested in some recent data I have seen.

Since July 2009, our college has successfully recruited 37 new faculty members. Of these, 43 percent are women and 57 percent are men. Also, of the total hires, 24 percent are people of color, and 40 percent are white males. This reflects encouraging progress from the time when our faculty was composed of almost all white males, but we still have room for improvement.

Our incoming freshman class in fall 2012 will be made up of 43 percent Asian and Pacific Islanders, 34 percent white, 19 percent Latino, 3 percent African American, and 1 percent American Indian. UC Davis, by the way, is the number one institution (out of 9,370 possible) for awarding degrees to undergraduate minority students in the agricultural sciences.

Our incoming freshman class in fall 2012 will be 70 percent female and 30 percent male. The preponderance of female students is certainly a change from the time when the opposite was the norm—females have been in the majority as undergraduates at American colleges since at least the year 2000. These data, however, suggest that we are not doing well in inspiring and helping our female and minority undergraduate students to seek and succeed in filling the ranks of our faculty.

Professor Sharon Lawler leads a college committee charged with helping us create an environment within our college that is conducive to the success of all faculty members and with assisting search committees in generating diverse faculty applicant pools. I credit her committee with helping us improve our success in creating a dynamic, high quality, diverse faculty. We will be hiring even more faculty members over the next four years. I hope that the data from these replacement efforts will show yet further progress toward a college faculty that reflects the diversity of our state.

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] 



Liz Applegate: Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award


Liz Applegate, a senior lecturer in the Department of Nutrition, was one of four faculty members (three in CA&ES) to receive the 2012 UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. Applegate was noted for putting as much effort into public service as she does into her teaching, notably Nutrition 10, which draws rave reviews, owing to her philosophy of making nutrition and fitness education pertinent. Off campus, she gives countless lectures and workshops to a broad range of community groups, particularly those comprising underrepresented populations—people who are disabled or chronically ill, for example. She also works with state and national organizations, and youth sport groups. In addition, Applegate is a valuable resource for the media.

Applegate was honored, along with other winners of Academic Senate and Academic Federation awards, at a campus ceremony held in May.

Liz Applegate
(530) 752-6682
[email protected] 

Randy Dahlgren: UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement


Professor Randy Dahlgren, chair of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, has been awarded the 2012 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. Chancellor Linda Katehi interrupted his “Crisis in the Environment?” class with a cake to celebrate the announcement of the prize.

Established in 1986, the prize was created to honor faculty who are both exceptional teachers and scholars. The $40,000 prize is believed to be the largest of its kind in the country and is funded through philanthropic gifts managed by the UC Davis Foundation. The winner is selected based on the nominations of other professors, research peers, representatives from the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees, and students. An event to celebrate the award was held in May.

In addition to being a soil science and biogeochemistry teacher, Dahlgren holds the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science and is director of the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science. Dahlgren's energy comes across in his soil science lectures, where, drawing from his vast research experience, he manages to take a subject commonly viewed as uninteresting and makes it relevant to students' lives. Moving beyond silt and loam, Dahlgren helps non-science students discover the role that soil plays in the environment—from affecting climate change to rangeland management to creating good fish habitat. Recognizing that everyone learns differently, Dahlgren uses lectures, slides, YouTube videos, writings, and discussions to reach all types of learners.

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

Thomas Famula: Princeton Review Top 300 Professors


Thomas Famula, a professor in the Department of Animal Science, was named one of the “Top 300” professors in the United States by the Princeton Review, in conjunction with

Famula, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1981, is an authority on the mathematical elements of genetics, particularly as they apply to animal growth and lactation. Famula received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the Academic Senate in 1999, and continues to get high marks on student reviews collected by the university.

In addition to teaching upper-division animal genetics, Famula has been teaching ANS 1 (Domestic Animals and People) every fall quarter for 20 years. Three hours of lecture each week are accompanied by three hours of lab, for assignments such as milking cows, cleaning horse hooves, and setting sheep—flipping the animal from all fours to its rump and nestling it for shearing or checking teeth. “Where else do you milk a cow for a final?” asked one student reviewer, referring to the ANS 1 lab final.

Ranking of Famula and others among the “Top 300” was based on data collected annually by The Princeton Review and from students at thousands of colleges about their classroom experiences and assessments of their professors. Final selection was made with further input from school administrators and students. Information about the recipients has been compiled to produce “The Best 300 Professors,” a guidebook to the nation’s top undergraduate professors. (Photo by Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Tom Famula
(530) 752-7018
[email protected] 

John Largier: Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award


Professor John Largier, of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, and the Bodega Marine Laboratory, was one of four faculty members (three in CA&ES) to receive the 2012 UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. Largier was commended for playing a notable and sustained role in service to the public by providing scientific advice on matters related to the health of marine and coastal environments. Largier’s outreach includes media events and interviews, membership on assessment and advisory teams, participation in working groups and on task forces, and presentations at public meetings. His efforts are across the spectrum from service intended to spur development of science beyond the university, to the application of science in policy, advising agencies, and informing the public.

Largier was honored, along with other winners of Academic Senate and Academic Federation awards, at a campus ceremony held in May.

John Largier
(707) 875-1930
[email protected] 

Rangeland Watershed Program: Western Extension Directors’ Award of Excellence


The UC Rangeland Watershed Program has been awarded the 2012 Western Extension Directors’ Award of Excellence. Led by UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist Mel George of the Department of Plant Sciences, the Rangeland Watershed Program is a group effort among Cooperative Extension specialists, Cooperative Extension advisors, Agricultural Experiment Station faculty, and others.

The program is a combination of applied research and extension education, in partnership with various government agencies that manage or influence the management of rangelands. The Cooperative Extension–Agricultural Experiment Station team has successfully identified management strategies for minimizing microbial contamination of surface and groundwater attributable to livestock production systems, characterized the underlying processes of environmental dissemination of microbial hazards, developed monitoring methods for assessing environmental or agroecosystem health, and assessed vertebrate reservoirs of protozoa pathogens. For more information, visit

Program participants will be honored at an annual meeting of the Western Extensions Directors held in Park City, Utah, in July.

Mel George
(530) 752-1720
[email protected]

Richard Sexton: Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award


Professor Richard Sexton, chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, was one of two faculty members who received the 2012 UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Instruction. Sexton was noted for his integral role in curriculum development, particularly for a master’s-level class in macroeconomic theory, which he began teaching in 1994 and later expanded into a two-course sequence. This sequence now attracts students from many other disciplines. Sexton pioneered the incorporation of industrial organization concepts into instruction on agricultural market analysis.

Sexton was honored, along with other winners of Academic Senate and Academic Federation awards, at a campus ceremony held in May.

Richard Sexton
(530) 752-4428
[email protected] 

Ken Tate: Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award


UC Cooperative Extension rangeland watershed specialist Ken Tate received the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award, created to honor exceptional leadership and integrity in the field of agricultural sustainability. Tate was honored at a ceremony held at UC Davis in April.

A member of the Department of Plant Sciences, Tate holds the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Specialist in Cooperative Extension in Rangeland Watershed Science. He came to UC Davis in 1995 to join the UC Cooperative Extension Rangeland Watershed Program, which Cooperative Extension specialist Mel George spearheaded in the early 1990s to address concerns over cattle grazing and water quality.

About 80 percent of California’s water passes through or is stored on rangeland. Thanks to two decades of education and research, Tate and his multidisciplinary teams have helped produce management practices that keep this water clean. Tate was often the man in the middle, using quiet leadership and sound science to help environmentalists and ranchers find common ground.

Ken Tate
(530) 754-8988
[email protected] 

Robert Washino: Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award


Professor Emeritus Robert Washino of the Department of Entomology was one of four faculty members (three in CA&ES) to receive the 2012 UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. Washino was noted for giving freely of his time and expertise throughout his academic career and now in retirement to local, state, federal, and international agencies, as well as the private sector. He served on U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture task forces targeting such insects as the Africanized honeybee and Mediterranean fruit fly. During his 1964-1994 academic career at UC Davis, Washino chaired the Department of Entomology and served as a CA&ES associate dean.

Washino was honored, along with other winners of Academic Senate and Academic Federation awards, at a campus ceremony held in May.

Robert Washino
(530) 752-0475
[email protected] 



National Association of Plant Breeders Awards: Call for Nominations

The National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) announces its awards program for 2012. The association is sponsoring four awards that will be presented at the annual meeting in August. The deadline for nominations is June 15.

Early Career Award–recognizes a young scientist who is active in the plant breeding field. Nominees must have obtained their Ph.D. after December 31, 2004.

Lifetime Achievement Award–recognizes an individual who has given distinguished long-term service to plant breeding in areas such as breeding/genetics research and publication, education (graduate or undergraduate training), extension outreach, and regional, national, and/or international leadership.

Plant Breeding Impact Award–recognizes an individual who has made significant advancements in the field of plant breeding, specifically in the area of applied variety and/or technology development. Public or private plant breeders whose improved germplasm or technological contributions have had a measurable impact on crop production are eligible to receive this award.

Graduate Student Poster Award–recognizes an outstanding graduate student poster, both in content and delivery, which exemplifies breeding/genetics research.

Nomination procedures and entry forms containing more details are available at

Brooks Blanche
Awards Panel Chair
[email protected] 

Animal Science Spring Seminar Series

The Department of Animal Science hosts a series of noon seminars on Mondays at 12:10 p.m. in 2154 Meyer Hall through June 11. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • May 14: Candidate seminar
  • May 21: Candidate seminar
  • May 28: Holiday
  • June 4: Candidate seminar
  • June 11: Do Domestic Horses Benefit from Shade in Hot, Sunny Weather?

Elizabeth Maga
Department of Animal Science
(530) 752-5930
[email protected]

Entomology Spring Seminar Series

The Department of Entomology hosts a series of noon seminars on Wednesdays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall through May 23. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • May 16: Role of Negative Signaling in a Superorganism: the Honey Bee Stop Signal
  • May 23: Survey of Culex Bloodfeeding Patterns in California

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

Plant Sciences Spring Seminar Series

The Department of Plant Sciences hosts a series of noon meetings on Wednesdays in Room 3001 of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building through May 30. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • May 16: TBA
  • May 23: Seeds and Beads: Genetic and Technological Strategies to Improve Seed Quality
  • May 30: Chromatin Landscape Design and Maintenance

Diane Nelson
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 752-1969
[email protected]

WCAHS Monthly Seminar Series

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety hosts monthly seminars on topics related to agricultural health. The presentations will be held Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m. in the upstairs board room of the Center for Health and the Environment on Old Davis Road. Dates and topics for upcoming seminars include:

  • May 14: Program Theory-Driven Evaluation in the UC Davis Schools of Health
  • June 4: Agricultural Industrial Hygiene: Dermal versus Inhalation Exposures

Sandra Freeland
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
(530) 752-5253
[email protected] 

Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • Folk Music Jam Session
    Fridays, May 11 and 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. Listeners and musicians of all skill levels welcome.
  • Poetry in the Garden
    Thursday, May 17, noon to 1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    Fans of good writing and beautiful gardens are invited to enjoy a free reading by poet Justin Desmangles, with musical accompaniment by Harley White, Jr.
  • Ethnobotanical Plant Walk and Meditation
    Saturday, May 19, 2 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    Join the UC Davis Arboretum Ambassadors for a free ethnobotanical plant walk and meditation. Learn about traditional uses of California native plants for food, medicine, and ritual.
  • Wild Family Day
    Sunday, May 20, 1–4 p.m., Gazebo.
    Join UC Davis student group Wild Campus, in partnership with the UC Davis Arboretum, for Wild Family Day. All ages are invited to this free educational event designed to raise awareness about native wildlife and what the community can do to help conserve these special critters. There will be fun games and activities for all ages, as well as supplies to make pine-cone birdfeeders.
  • Movie Night in the Arboretum
    Wednesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., Mrak lawn at Lake Spafford.
    The Arboretum Ambassadors and UC Davis Entertainment Council present Movie Night in the Arboretum. Bring a blanket and enjoy seeing the Academy Award-winning movie Avatar under the stars. 




Climate Change and Water Supply Workshop: May 15, 2012

Policymakers and climate scientists are invited to a one-day workshop on “Climate Change and California’s Water Supply,” to be held Tuesday, May 15, at the UC Davis Conference Center. The workshop will address specific cutting-edge climate science issues vital to the changing water supply of California over the next few decades. It is presented by the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, in collaboration with others.

Topics include climate projections and their principal uncertainties, the impact of climate change on the water supply, and possible ramifications for agriculture, power generation, and riparian/delta ecosystems. Discussions will focus on developing sound public policy in response to and in anticipation of a changing hydroclimate.

Presentations will be given by invited experts on current predictions and proposed responses. Poster presentations and discussion opportunities will promote interaction among smaller groups of attendees. Attendance will be limited to 100 participants in order to better facilitate an exchange of ideas.

Registration is $180, or $50 for students, and includes lunch. For more information, visit

Shu-Hua Chen
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
(530) 752-1822
[email protected] 

Arboretum Plant Sale: May 19, 2012

The public is invited to the last public arboretum plant sale of the season, to be held Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery. The sale will highlight plants that bloom in summer. In addition, the sale will include a wide selection of plants that thrive in the Central Valley like the Arboretum All-Stars. Garden experts will be on hand to share guidance on plants. Or bring problem plants in a plastic bag for diagnosis at the plant doctor clinic.

Members of Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum receive 10 percent off on purchases. Or become a member at the sale, and receive an additional $10 off. Free parking is available in Visitor Lot 55.

Diane Cary
UC Davis Arboretum
(530) 752-4880
[email protected]

UC Davis Farm-to-College Night: May 30, 2012


Celebrate community, food, and farming at the UC Davis Farm-to-College Night, to be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, at the Segundo Area Central Lawn. Dining Services plans a menu featuring sustainably produced, locally grown, and humanely raised components as a way to showcase the university’s sustainable food system. The event will include educational activities and opportunities to explore where our food comes from, how it was produced, the power of our food dollar and our regional food community.

No RSVPs are required. The cost for the all-you-can-eat dinner is $14.50 for the general public, or $11.60 for UC Davis staff with identification or a Staff Assembly pin. Meal plan holders can eat for one swipe of their meal card.

For more information, visit

Dani Lee
(530) 754-7128
[email protected]


Russell Ranch Field Day: May 31, 2012


Scientists and industry leaders will share the latest research on irrigation practices, greenhouse gas emissions, and nitrogen and soil management at the 2012 Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Field Day. The field day will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility west of campus.

The field day brings together farmers, students, NGOs, researchers, and UC Cooperative farm advisors and specialists to discuss sustainable agriculture. The theme this year is nitrogen, water and climate change. Morning sessions will feature presentations on cover crops, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil moisture monitoring. Workshop sessions include presentations on nitrate leaching, carbon sequestration, irrigation, and soil ecology.

Register online by May 29. Farmers enter for free. General admission is $8, and students pay $3. (Students and farmers should e-mail Emma Torbert at [email protected] for a coupon code.) Admission includes lunch, refreshments, and hay bale tours.

Visit for registration and more information.

Emma Torbert
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
(530) 752-5208
[email protected]

Annual Spring CA&ES Faculty Meeting: June 7, 2012

Faculty, save the date for the annual spring CA&ES faculty meeting, to be held Thursday, June 7, from 4–6 p.m. in the AGR Room of the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.

Brenda Nakamoto
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-1606
[email protected] 

Postharvest Technology Short Course: June 18–29, 2012

The 34th annual Postharvest Technology Short Course will be held June18–29 at UC Davis. The course will present an overview of postharvest biology, as well as a variety of current technologies and best practices associated with horticultural crops. The course is designed for research and extension workers, quality control personnel, breeders, packers, shippers, transportation specialists, wholesale and retail handlers, and other professionals interested in current practices and advances in produce handling after harvest.

The first week of the short course (Monday through Friday) will meet on campus for intensive lectures and discussions, as well as hands-on laboratory sessions. The optional second week is a “postharvest operations” field tour, covering selected packinghouses, cooling and storage facilities, produce distribution centers, field harvest, packing, and transportation facilities in California. 

For more information and registration, visit
Penny Stockdale
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 752-7672
[email protected]

Horse Auction: June 23, 2012


Animal science students will showcase 14 horses in the auction arena during the 2012 Horse Production Sale, scheduled for June 23 on campus. The sale is the culmination of a six-month internship for the students serving as either stallion or foal managers. During the internship, the foal managers learn how to handle and train weanlings and yearlings, as well as provide care for the mares and foals before and after birth. The stallion managers are responsible for breeding the mares in order to produce foals for future sales.

This year's sale will feature:

  • two mares, one with a foal
  • four weanlings
  • seven yearlings, including one mule
  • four geldings and two fillies
  • a two-year-old, green-broke filly

The young horses were bred, raised and trained at the facility by students in the equine program. Proceeds from the sale, which traditionally brings in $20,000 to $30,000, will support the Equine Production Program. The public event will be held at the Cole Facility arena, adjacent to the horse barn, on La Rue Road. The 6 p.m. auction will be preceded by a 3:30 p.m. viewing of the sale horses and a 4:30 p.m. barbecue dinner. The horse production sale catalog is available online at

Joel Viloria
Department of Animal Science
(530) 754-4156
[email protected] 

Produce Research Symposium: June 27, 2012

The third annual Produce Research Symposium will take place at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts on June 27, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Center for Produce Safety hosts the symposium, which is focused on providing the produce industry and government with open access to research findings needed to continually enhance the safety of produce.

For more information, visit

Leslie Maulhardt
(530) 757-8311
[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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