Alumni & Friends

Climate Change - Environmental Quality - Sustainable Agriculture - Landscape Interfaces

Welcome to the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR) at UC Davis. While budget cuts have been in the headlines for the past year, LAWR faculty, staff and students continue to excel maintaining our long-term excellence in teaching, research and outreach. Budget cuts have impacted our operations in many ways; however, we are moving forward to minimize the effects as best we can. We are currently recruiting for a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the area of Water Resources with the interviews scheduled to begin in Fall quarter. In addition, we are anticipating the recruitment of a new faculty member in the next year with a short-list of possible positions that includes remote sensing, climate modeling, and a regional scale hydrologic modeler. We are also hopeful of a possible new Cooperative Extension Specialist position in the area of irrigation/water management to fill a huge void resulting from the recent retirements of David Goldhamer, Terry Prichard, and Blaine Hanson.

Restructuring within the college has resulted in the formation of several administrative clusters. LAWR is partnering with Environmental Toxicology and Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology to share selected administrative functions, such as human resources, accounting and IT. Christel Cantlin, LAWR’s current Chief Administrative Officer, was selected to lead the administrative cluster. Our goals are to institute the new administrative structure with minimal disruptions and ultimately to achieve economies of scale and increased efficiencies by streamlining several processes (e.g., electronic purchasing, timesheets, merit/promotion).

One very positive note is that the number of undergraduates in our majors has experienced strong growth and many of our classes are filled to capacity. The Hydrology major has more than doubled in size over the past year while the new Environmental Science and Management major (a major which integrated our Environmental Resource Sciences major with the Environmental Biology and Management major) has more than 120 majors in its first year. LAWR is also exploring the efficacy of developing a new major in Earth System Sciences in collaboration with Geology to provide an interdisciplinary major focused on global change issues. The overall resurgence of interest in Environmental Sciences bodes well for our programs and will allow us to effectively compete for new academic FTE as they become available. As of Fall 2009, we had 82 active graduate students within our various graduate groups. Garrett Liles (Soils and Biogeochemistry graduate group) recently received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for his excellence in the classroom.

A number of graduate and undergraduate students under the direction of LAWR outreach coordinator, Pia van Bentham, launched a successful EnvironMentors program in which students from the Highlands Academy of Arts and Design in Sacramento where mentored to prepare them for college degree programs and careers in environmental science fields. Students from the program received two awards at the National EnvironMentors competition.

To ensure successful research, teaching and outreach programs in the future, it is likely that LAWR must increasingly rely on private funds, either through gifts, student scholarships or endowments. For that reason we have added a Giving Opportunities section to our webpage, for your information. If you are able to support our scholarships funds, we welcome your support.

On behalf of all of us in LAWR, we wish you all the very best!
Chair, LAWR