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November 8, 2012

May 20, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Mary Delany: Undergraduate Programs 2012-13

The evidence is overwhelming, “Our students are back!” Our undergraduate population has grown steadily and become more diverse. This month’s message focuses on a few of the metrics that describe our undergraduates and our strength as an undergraduate college. The numbers will confirm your sense that we have more undergraduates on campus and in your classes than ever before.

Our fall 2012 incoming class included 1,740 students (63 percent freshmen, 37 percent transfer; 91 percent state, 2 percent national, 7 percent international; 33 percent male, 67 percent female; 20 percent underrepresented minorities).

The average GPA of incoming freshmen was 3.7, with a GPA of 3.6 for incoming transfer students. Overall, there are 5,835 undergraduates enrolled within our college, including the exploratory (undeclared) students. Over the past four years the exploratory major decreased in size from 793 students to 561. This decrease may reflect a number of issues; however, associate dean Diane Ullman has suggested that the strong push by the families of students for career-focused degrees and completion within four years could be important drivers.

The largest numbers of students are working toward majors in the human sciences (2,389), followed by agricultural sciences (1,745), and environmental sciences (1,101). Our newest major, sustainable agriculture and food systems, opened to incoming students this year and already has 39 students. This interdisciplinary major includes curricula that span all three divisions.

Student populations have increased across many of our majors, but the most significant change has been in the environmental sciences, with an increase of nearly 48 percent over four years. Much of this growth can be attributed to the successful curriculum planning that led to the opening of the environmental science and management major in 2009.

Presently we have 27 majors in the college. Here are the top 10 based on student enrollment:

  • Animal science (871)
  • Pre-managerial/managerial economics (802)
  • Exploratory/undeclared (561)
  • Human development (504)
  • Environmental science and management (363)
  • Clinical nutrition (346)
  • Animal biology (327)
  • Nutritional science (310)
  • Food science (227)
  • Wildlife, fish and conservation biology (223)

All of our majors provide students a contemporary education focused on today’s issues. With their training in critical thinking skills and experiential learning, our students are ready to make a difference.

Our college’s unique programs — such as Science & Society, and Art/Science Fusion — teach students to collaborate and use cross-disciplinary thinking to solve problems. These programs serve students across the campus (more than 6,000 students take Science and Society courses each year). In addition, our college facilities offer students outstanding opportunities for hands-on learning.

To the community of faculty, staff, and graduate students who bring excellence to our programs and undergraduate students: thank you. Please feel free to e-mail me with any thoughts, concerns, or questions.

Mary E. Delany
Interim Dean
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]  




Neal Van Alfen: California Agricultural Leadership Award


Professor Neal Van Alfen, former CA&ES dean, was recently honored with a leadership award from the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Van Alfen, of the Department of Plant Pathology, was one of two recipients of the 2012 Honorary Fellow Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated consistent commitment and uncommon excellence in the furtherance of education and leadership in California agriculture.

Van Alfen was commended for his 13 years of leadership as dean of CA&ES and his service as an outstanding Ag Leadership partner. Along with Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Agriculture, Van Alfen was named an honorary fellow in recognition of longtime support for the California Agricultural Leadership Program, which helps train leaders in agriculture, government, communities, business, and education.

Neal Van Alfen
(530) 754-5501
[email protected] 


Animal Science Fall Seminar Series

The Department of Animal Science hosts a series of noon seminars to meet Mondays at 12:10 p.m. in 2154 Meyer Hall through December 3. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • November 12: holiday
  • November 19: Good Welfare, Good Science: Refining the Use of Primates in Research
  • November 26: Using Animals to Address California’s Fire Risks
  • December 3: TBA

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

Entomology Fall Seminar Series

The Department of Entomology hosts a series of noon seminars to meet on Wednesdays through November 28 in room 1022 of the Life Sciences Building. Professors Joanna Chiu and Brian Johnson are coordinating the seminars. Dates and topics include:

  • November 14: No seminar
  • November 21: No seminar
  • November 28: Hybridization, Mimicry and the Origin of Species in Heliconius Butterflies

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

Landscape Architecture Fall Seminar Series

Landscape architecture presents a fall lecture series, to be held Fridays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 184 Young Hall. Dates and topics include:

  • November 9: Plan. Seek. Action: Designing the Process of Wayfinding
  • November 16: Community Design: What’s Health Got to Do with It?
  • November 23: No seminar
  • November 30: Gender and Historic Preservation: Lessons from Syria
  • December 7: Inclusive and Regenerative Design—Real World Examples

Brad Wilcox
Department of Human Ecology
(530) 752-4115
[email protected]

Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • Folk Music Jam Session
    Fridays, November 9 and December 7, 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.
  • Walk With Warren
    Wednesday, November 14, noon to 1 pm, Gazebo.
    Join Warren Roberts, superintendent emeritus of the arboretum, as well as a famous storyteller and punster, for an always engaging noontime exploration of West End gardens.
  • Plants of the Southwest
    Saturday, November 17, 2–3:30 pm, Arboretum Headquarters (LaRue Road).
    Explore autumn sages blooming in the collection that features plants from the Southwest.
  • Garden Prep for Winter
    Saturday, December 1, 2–3:30 pm, Ruth Risdon Storer Garden.
    Find out how arboretum gardeners prepare garden beds for winter weather.



Seed Central/Food Central Networking Event: November 8, 2012

Seed Central/Food Central hosts an afternoon of speakers and networking once a month to bring together seed and food professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. This month’s event will be held from 1:30–7 p.m. on Thursday, November 8. The initial presentations will be held in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building. At 3:30 p.m., the event will be held at the UC Davis Conference Center.

  • 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. — Economic Prosperity through Regional Collaboration, research and technology presentations, PES Room 3001
  • 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. — The Plant and Seed Sciences Corporate Affiliate Partnership Program, research consortia opportunities, UC Davis Conference Center
  • 4:30 to 7 p.m. — Forum, featuring 90 minutes of networking time followed by speaker Alan Bennett, professor of plant sciences, at the UC Davis Conference Center

The catered event is free of charge, and anyone in food, plant, and seed is welcome. The event attracts a large contingent of students interested in talking to industry scientists and managers.

Please RSVP at The calendar of events is at

Upcoming speakers for Seed Central/Food Central include:

  • December 13: Food science and technology professor Bruce German, “Foods for Health: Bringing Health Benefits to Genetic Traits”
  • January 10, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, “Evolutionary Genomics of Maize and its Wild Relatives”

Kathleen Bess
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 754-2162
[email protected]

From the Soil to the Table: November 9–10, 2012

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science presents “What Science Does and Doesn’t Tell Us about Terroir,” an in-depth examination into the current understanding of terroir, during a program to be held November 9–10 on campus at the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater.

On Friday afternoon, explore the terroir of the Napa Valley, including a guided wine tasting of Napa Valley cabernets, led by master of wine Peter Marks. On Saturday, hear about the latest scientific studies of terroir, the extension of the concept of terroir to tea, cheese, and other foods, and a debate about what science does and does not tell us about terroir.

  • Registration for the full program is $135 for the general public, and $125 for Friends of the RMI, industry partners, or UC faculty, staff, and students.
  • Registration for Friday only is $65 for the general public, and $50 for affiliates.
  • Registration for Saturday only is $85 for the general public and $75 for affiliates.

For registration and more information, visit

Tracy Dickinson
(530) 752-5233
[email protected] 

Water Strategic Initiative Conference: November 14–15, 2012

The UC ANR Water Strategic Initiative Conference and program team meetings will be held November 14–15 at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). The theme of the conference is “Water: Opportunities and Challenges.” Participants will share information about water-related research and will be encouraged to look for opportunities for collaboration. The water panel will also seek input on the Draft Strategic Initiative on Water Plan, which is posted at

For more information visit  

[email protected]
(530) 752-1581 or (530) 752-2442

Symphony of the Soil: November 17, 2012

A screening of the documentary film, “Symphony of the Soil,” will be held Saturday, November 17, at 6 p.m. in 1001 Giedt Hall. The event is free and open to all ages. No ticket or registration is required.

"Symphony of the Soil” is a 104-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.

There will be a reception from 5–6 p.m. preceding the film, and a panel discussion with director Deborah Koons Garcia after the showing. The event is hosted by the UC Davis Soils and Biogeochemistry Graduate Group and sponsored by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

Eve Hightower
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
(530) 752-2742
[email protected] 

UC Soil Fertility Short Course: November 28, 2012

A UC Soil Fertility Short Course will be held Wednesday, November 28, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. Sponsored by the UC Vegetable Research and Information Center, the short course will focus on the practical aspects of soil fertility management in an era of escalating fertilizer costs and increasing government regulation of nutrient inputs for environmental water quality protection.

Topics include:

  • getting the maximum value from soil testing
  • interpretation of laboratory soil test results
  • comparing fertilizer sources
  • developing crop nutrient management plans
  • fertilizer management and environmental protection

Although the focus will be on nutrient management in annual cropping systems, much of the material presented will be relevant to perennial crops as well. The program is intended for growers, CCAs, PCAs, government agency personnel, and others involved in fertility management planning.

Registration, which includes lunch, refreshments and study materials, is $75 for students and UC personnel. For others, registration is $150. More information is available on the VRIC website (

Gale Pérez
UC Vegetable Research and Information Center
(530) 752-1748
[email protected]

Seed Business 101 Horticulture: December 3–7, 2012

Registration is open for “Seed Business 101–Horticulture,” a short course to be offered on campus December 3–7, presented by the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center. The course was created with input from industry executives to accelerate the careers of promising new employees and young managers. It also offers insights and perspective to seed dealers and companies offering products and services to the seed industry.

The cost is $3,300, although discounted early bird opportunities are available. Registration includes all course materials, lunches, breaks, and two course dinners. Enrollment is limited to 30 participants. For more information, visit

Jeannette Martins
(530) 752-4984
[email protected]  

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CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is published monthly. Send news items to editor, [email protected].

Editor: Robin DeRieux
Writing: Robin DeRieux, Mary E. Delany
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

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