October 2016

Dear fellow Aggies,

These are exciting times at UC Davis, and I believe we all share a great sense of anticipation about what 2017 will bring.

A permanent UC Davis chancellor is expected to be named early next year. I am happy to report that the search advisory committee had a productive day on our campus Tuesday, September 27 when it met with a wide range of campus constituencies. The Academic Senate is soliciting further input through a series of town halls scheduled October 11. Your thoughts on a new chancellor are encouraged throughout the search process and can be emailed to davischancellor@imsearch.com. President Napolitano hopes to present a candidate to the Board of Regents in January.

I want you all to know that Interim Provost Ken Burtis and I have been doing all we can during this transition to ensure that the university continues on its impressive upward trajectory.

I am pleased to say we recently received more external validation of the university’s standing when the inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings listed UC Davis as the sixth best public university in the nation, based on the lifetime value of the educational experience. In fact, four of the top nine were UC campuses—UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC San Diego, in that order. Also, U.S. News & World Report returned us to its top ten rankings among public universities, and the Washington Monthly magazine placed us tenth for contributions to society.

The new academic year got off to an inspiring start with our Fall Convocation, which explored how all of us at UC Davis can promote more open-minded dialogue on emotionally charged issues. As I said in my remarks, “In these contentious times, it is more than ever crucial that we improve our capacity to conduct debates and dialogue—that is, if we want our university to be a true community, and also a true scholarly community, one that fearlessly pursues truth by critically engaging with the broadest range of ideas.”

We will be following up throughout the year with a series of events and conversations to further explore how we can foster real dialogue, both on and off campus. This is an exciting opportunity for UC Davis to play a leadership role among American universities. We can help develop new ways to discuss contentious issues that will promote understanding, encourage work toward common goals, and honor the idea of community.

You can find on our website a video of the Fall Convocation, which included powerful spoken-word performances by students and a compelling keynote address by Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court Chief Justice and a proud alumna of UC Davis and our School of Law.

Thank you for being part of the Aggie community and for all that you do for UC Davis.

Ralph J. Hexter
Interim Chancellor