- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The UC Davis Department of Entomology has been renamed the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Carolyn de la Pena, UC Davis interim vice provost for undergraduate education, relayed the message May 28 to interim dean Mary Delany of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
The faculty of the Department of Entomology and Department of Nematology had earlier proposed the consolidation of the two departments in response to a recommendation by the College for the elimination of the Department of Nematology. In the interim following consolidation, the name, “UC Davis Department of Entomology,” was used until university administrators approved the new name.
Of the 27 faculty members in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, five are nematologists.
Michael Parrella, professor of entomology, serves as the department chair, and nematologist Edwin Lewis, professor of both entomology and nematology and former interim chair of the UC Davis Department of Nematology, is the department’s vice chair. Professor Steve Nadler served as the last chair of the Department of Nematology.
Said Nadler: “Since approval of the consolidation of our departments nearly two years ago, our nematologists and entomologists have been working together and finding common ground to build upon prior successes. As the state economy improves and the university grows, I believe our newly named department will be successful in adding faculty positions that rebuild core research areas that were lost through faculty retirements.”
The UC Davis Department of Entomology began as an offshoot of the UC Berkeley Department of Entomology, while the UC Davis nematologists were closely linked with UC Riverside nematologists.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology traces its roots back to Oct. 30 1907 when UC Berkeley professor C. W. Woodworth spoke to the State Farmers' Institute in Davisville (now Davis) on the "Whitefly Situation in California." This was a forerunner to the Farmers' Short Courses (three-to-six-week courses) launched in the fall of 1908.
UC Davis established a two-year non-degree program in entomology in 1913 and its first degree in entomology in 1923-24 when Stanley Freeborn moved from Berkeley to Davis to head up this new and expanding program. The Davis campus began its administrative independence from Berkeley under Provost Freeborn (later chancellor) in 1952. R. M. Bohart became vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1957, and the following year, the College of Agriculture instituted the rotating-chair system. In the spring of 1960, entomology settled into its new quarters in Robbins Hall, and in 1971, moved into the newly built Briggs Hall, intended for biological sciences faculty and staff.
The history of the UC Davis Department of Nematology began in 1954 with the establishment of the Statewide Department of Plant Nematology, comprised of the UC Riverside and UC Davis nematologists. The University of California was the first academic institution to recognize nematology as a field of science separate from plant pathology, entomology or parasitology.
In 1962, research competency at the two sites broadened sufficiently for the university to approve of a name change from the Statewide Department of Plant Nematology to the Department of Nematology. In 1962, J. D. Radewald was appointed as a Cooperative Extension Specialist at UC Riverside. In 1965, statewide University administration embarked on a decentralization program, giving the individual campuses greater autonomy.
From 1965 onwards, the two nematology departments evolved independently. In 1969, D. E. Johnson was appointed as a Cooperative Extension Specialist at the San Joaquin Valley Research and Extension Center at Parlier.
UC Davis entomology and nematology faculty have received worldwide recognition for their research, teaching and public service.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, considered the top news and job-information source for college and university faculty members, administrators, and students, ranked the UC Davis Department of Entomology as the No. 1 in the country in 2007. Factors considered were remarkable performances in faculty scholarly productivity, scientific citations per faculty, percentage of faculty with a journal publication, number of journal publications per faculty, and grantsmanship, among other factors. (The rankings have not been updated since 2007.)
UC Davis is No. 1 in the world for teaching and research in the area of agriculture and forestry, according to rankings released this year by QS World University Rankings.