Message from the Chair: Michael Parrella
Jan. 24, 2012
As we move into 2012, there are reasons for excitement and optimism. However at the same time we are deeply saddened by the loss of two of our colleagues. Dr. Richard "Dick" Rice (who was with the department for 33 years) and Marvin Kinsey(whose career spanned 37 years with the department) passed away towards the end of 2011. While the Department of Entomology is one of the best in the nation, we should never forget that much of our reputation is based on those that have gone before us, and Dick and Marv represented the very best of what this department is about and contributed enormously to its reputation.
Historic changes do not often happen to departments on university campuses, but we will experience this at several levels in 2012. We anticipate a departmental name change that will reflect the addition of the (former) Department of Nematology faculty into our ranks. As soon as this is officially approved, a formal announcement will be made. We look forward to welcoming our colleagues from Nematology and anticipate developing a new strategic and academic plan that reflects the mutual interests in both the disciplines of Entomology and Nematology.
The early retirement of Penny Gullan and Pete Cranston has left a major gap in our systematics core, and we will partially alleviate this in 2012 as we recruit for the Everet and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics (the chair formerly held by Pete Cranston). We are putting the final touches on the job description and should be advertising for the position soon. Because the position is an Endowed Chair, we will be searching for a more senior colleague to join us and we will be hiring at the title of associate or full professor. This position reflects another "historic" change for the department -- for the first time we will be hiring a faculty member on a 9-month appointment. On the positive side, this is consistent with most faculty appointment on the campus. However, all the current faculty in the Department of Entomology and in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) have what is called an 11- month appointment with the extra 2 months reflecting research/outreach activity related to the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES). Obviously this change is related to the budget crisis as well as to the diminishing status of the AES on the campus.
As we look into the coming year, the budget crisis continues to threaten the entire UC System. As we recently heard from the Chancellor and Provost, the state's contribution to students on the UC campuses has been reduced from $17,000 per student in 1990-1991 to less than $7,000 per student in 2010-2011. In the past four years, our campus alone has lost 40 percent of its state budget, while tuition has increased by 84 percent. Under such a dire scenario, there cannot be business as usual as we look to the future. A new budget, new model for the UC system and for the CA&ES is being discussed and we have to wait and see how the CA&ES and the department fares under this new monetary arrangement. We are one of the strongest departments on the campus and will weather this difficult time.
As I write this I am ending my sabbatical in Chile where I taught two graduate courses at the Catholic University, Valparaiso as well as a fly fishing course in Quillota and Puerto Montt. I look forward to rejoining the department in February. I wish the department faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends the best in the New Year.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology