A Message from Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter to Faculty and Staff


Dear Members of the UC Davis Community,

I write personally to welcome you back to UC Davis as we begin a new academic year. Whether we have worked on campus for a long or only a short time, I am confident that we all share an excitement about what the new year will bring—and that, I think, is one of our university’s great strengths.

As we collectively look toward the future, let me briefly update you on some important UC Davis news.

Chancellor Search

As many of you know, President Napolitano has put the search for a permanent UC Davis chancellor on a fast track, as she is planning to present the Regents with a candidate at the Board’s January meeting. The recruitment committee will soon be on our campus for an all-day meeting with various campus stakeholders as part of that process.

In the meantime, please know that Interim Provost Ken Burtis and I are committed to doing all we can during this time of transition to make sure UC Davis continues its impressive upward trajectory. I am pleased to say we recently received some external validation of the university’s standing just last week when US News & World Report returned us to the Top Ten rankings for public universities.

Fall Convocation: Inspiring Dialogue and Community

The 2016-17 academic year got off to a spirited start on Tuesday, Sept. 20 with our Fall Convocation, which focused on our efforts to have the university play more of a leadership role in fostering true dialogue, both on campus and off. Those in the audience were treated to stirring spoken-word poetry readings by three UC Davis students, videos featuring members of our campus community talking about constructive dialogue and attentive listening, and a compelling keynote address from Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a proud alum of UC Davis and our School of Law who is now chief justice of the California Supreme Court.

Presided over by Dean Kevin Johnson of the School of Law, convocation also kicked off a year-long series of events and conversations about the importance of bringing respect and understanding to our public discourse. You can watch the videos, read the students’ poetry and my remarks at this link on my website. As I told the audience, “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.” I hope many of you will participate in our upcoming forums as we explore ways to improve communications and dialogue.

I also wanted to update you on some important university initiatives you may have been following. If you are interested, you can find that progress report here.

Thank you all. I hope you have a wonderful 2016-17 at UC Davis.


Ralph J. Hexter
Interim Chancellor