- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources, issued the following statement today (Sept. 18):
Earlier today (Sept. 18), UC President Janet Napolitano announced that she will be stepping down as president of the University in August 2020. President Napolitano joined UC as the first woman to lead the university in 2013.
We are thankful for President Napolitano's leadership and vision to address critical issues that affect California, the rest of the country and the world.
Recognizing the challenge of feeding a growing worldwide population, Napolitano launched the Global Food Initiative to inspire more collaboration and draw from the collective resources of all 10 UC campuses, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop solutions for food security, health and sustainability.
To address the threat of climate change, she created the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which marshals resources from across the UC system to research and develop ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To attract and retain top-flight academics, she created the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs to help UC campuses and UC ANR encourage donors to establish endowed chairs to fund research. The Presidential Match has enabled UC ANR to fill five endowed positions in UC Cooperative Extension, ensuring the scientists will have a dedicated source of funding for their ongoing agricultural research.
Finally, she emphasized the university's commitment to diversity by taking actions to let immigrant and LGBTQ members of the UC community know they are welcome and supported.
The UC Board of Regents will soon appoint a search committee to start a national search for the next president of the University. Per policy, the search committee will include student, academic and alumni representatives who will seek input from the UC community and the public.
More information, including highlights of President Napolitano's tenure at the University, can be found at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/university-california-president-janet-napolitano-announces-decision-step-down-next-year.
Following a national search, Napolitano has tapped Glenda Humiston, Ph.D., currently the California state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, as her nominee for the vice president for the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Humiston has 25 years of experience working on agriculture, natural resources, sustainability, and economic development in rural communities. President Obama appointed her to her current position in 2009.
“Glenda Humiston is a great fit for the UC system at a time when drought has heightened the importance of sustainable agricultural practices,” said Napolitano, who launched a Global Food Initiative last year. “She is a knowledgeable, thoughtful and action-oriented leader who will expand the impact of an agriculture and natural resources division whose reach already extends across the globe.”
The UC Board of Regents will vote on the terms of the appointment at its July 21-23 meeting.
“I am thrilled to join UC's work on the ground linking world-class research with local know-how to elevate rural economies and boost agricultural production,” Humiston said. “Together we can work to provide innovative science-based solutions to farmers and deliver healthier food systems and healthier environments for all Californians.”
Humiston, who earned her doctorate in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, served President Clinton as deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment at USDA. She managed the Sustainable Development Institute at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa, as well as the World Water Forum in Mexico City in 2006. Early in her career, she served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia.
The ANR head oversees 1,350 people working in 60 county offices, nine research and extension centers, and three administrative centers. The position became vacant upon the retirement of Barbara Allen-Diaz, the former vice president, on June 30.
- Author: Alec Rosenberg
The UC Global Food Initiative is intended to marshal the university's resources – including curriculum and world-class research, student efforts and operational efforts in place across the university's 10 campuses – to address global challenges related to food.
“This initiative grows out of a commitment made by all 10 UC campus chancellors and myself,” Napolitano said. “It is a commitment to work collectively to put a greater emphasis on what UC can do as a public research university, in one of the most robust agricultural regions in the world, to take on one of the world's most pressing issues.”
The food initiative will build on UC's tradition of innovative agricultural research to support farmers and ranchers. Future efforts will build on work already begun by UC's 10 campuses and its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) to address internal and external issues with a variety of approaches.
UC research, for example, taught Californians how to remove salts from the alkali soils in the Central Valley, transforming that barren landscape into one of the world's most productive farming regions, Napolitano noted in her presentation to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.
Today, the World Food Center at UC Davis stands with 26 other centers dedicated to food and agriculture on that campus; students and faculty at UC Santa Cruz are transforming the field of agroecology; and the Berkeley Food Institute is studying the relationship between pest control, conservation and food safety on Central Coast farms. The cutting-edge Healthy Campus Initiative at UCLA taps all members of the campus community.
The initiative is not limited to seeking any single solution or set of solutions to the myriad food issues confronting the world, Napolitano said.
“The idea,” she said, “is to provide the intellectual and technical firepower, as well as the operational examples needed for communities in California and around the world to find pathways to a sustainable food future.”
In describing the building blocks for the initiative, Napolitano noted that the university's agricultural outreach and public service programs – in every California county and more than 100 nations – bring UC resources to individuals and communities to help them access safe, affordable and nutritious food while sustaining scarce natural resources.
The university's work also will help inform and drive policy discussions from the local to the international levels, and expand partnerships with government agencies such as the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“This initiative shows great vision and leadership from President Napolitano and the University of California,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, “Climate change and population growth will greatly strain our ability to provide healthy food to people here and around the world.
“President Napolitano's proposal to leverage the strategic assets of the entire UC organization makes it a valuable partner in addressing the significant challenges and opportunities for our production agriculture and food system.”
Emphasizing that student engagement is key, Napolitano announced, as one of her first actions, the funding of three $2,500 President's Global Food Initiative Student Fellowships to be awarded on each campus to undergraduate or graduate students. The fellowships will fund student research projects or internships.
Among other early efforts to be undertaken as part of the initiative are the following:
- Internally, campuses will heighten their collective purchasing power and dining practices to encourage sustainable farming practices, and model healthy eating and zero food waste; food pantries and farmers markets that exist on some campuses will be spread to all 10. Partnerships with K-12 school districts to enhance leveraging procurement for these purposes also will be explored.
- Food issues will be integrated into more undergraduate and graduate courses, catalogues of food-related courses will be developed, and demonstration gardens will be made available on each campus to increase opportunities for students to participate in experiential learning.
- Data mining of existing information will be deployed to help develop insights and action plans for California agriculture and responses to climate change.
- New policies will be enacted to allow small growers to serve as suppliers for UC campuses.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of our nation's Cooperative Extension system, the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is sponsoring a day of science and service on May 8.
We need your help to make our science projects successful. The more people who participate, the more data we'll have to analyze.
Everyone in California is invited to participate. It's quick and easy. Go to beascientist.ucanr.edu, choose a project, and record your observations about conserving water, growing food or counting the numbers of pollinating bees, birds and butterflies in your neighborhood. You can share your observations on an interactive map and upload photos if you like.
This is a great opportunity to learn about California's natural resources and the role of agriculture in all our communities.
For 100 years UC Cooperative Extension has been turning science into solutions to build healthy communities. From creating new varieties of fruits and vegetables, fighting off invasive pest attacks, and helping school kids learn about healthy eating, UC's work benefits every Californian.
- Author: Shelly Meron, UC Office of the President, (510) 987-9200, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The division of Agriculture and Natural Resources will report directly to the UC President, effective today. By taking this action, I want to underscore both the important role agriculture plays in California's economy and culture and the value the University places on its service to this industry.
“Since UC's earliest days as a land-grant university, ANR has delivered outstanding service and research innovations to California growers, ranchers, gardeners and youth. I am committed to enhancing those long-standing partnerships.”
Historically, the ANR vice president reported to the UC president, just as the campus chancellors do. Six years ago, as part of a broader reorganization, the division was put under the umbrella of the UC Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
“I'm pleased that the president recognizes the importance of ANR to the University and the state of California,” said ANR Vice President Barbara Allen-Diaz. “We all look forward to continued service to the people of California and to strengthening our relationships with the agricultural community under President Napolitano's leadership.”
ANR includes more than 700 academic researchers and 300 UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisors and specialists, based on campuses and in county offices throughout California. This year the United States celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cooperative Extension. UCCE is one of the oldest in the nation, opening the first office in Humboldt County in 1913.
ANR operates nine research and extension centers that contribute to breakthroughs in food production and processing that have increased yields, reduced irrigation and fertilizing costs, and eradicated invasive pests and diseases.
In addition, ANR manages the statewide 4-H Youth Development program, serving more than 150,000 young people. It also manages California's Master Gardener program and community-based nutrition programs that reach 222,000 adults and children annually.