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Davis: Colleges and Schools

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
In 1905, the legislature appropriated funds to buy a "University Farm" to provide a place to teach scientific and practical agriculture and to provide a site more typical than Berkeley for research in California agriculture. The Davis campus, initially known as the University Farm and later as the Branch of the College of Agriculture, was administered by an assistant dean who reported directly to the dean at Berkeley. Formal instruction began in January, 1909. There were 18 farm school students, five degree students from Berkeley, and five special students.

By 1920, courses were available for degree students to complete their junior year at Davis and by 1922, lower division courses were available for students who wished to complete their first two years as well. It was soon possible for degree students to complete all requirements for graduation in several majors. Graduate study followed, initially in cooperation with the Berkeley faculty.

The College of Agriculture at Davis was established on July 1, 1952 as a part of the reorganization plan of the University which was approved by the Regents on March 30, 1951. The reorganization of all the University's agricultural activities by the establishment of a University-wide Division of Agricultural Sciences under the direction of the Vice President for Agricultural Sciences, Harry R. Wellman, was approved by the Regents on September 19, 1952. This provided for coordination of the teaching and research on the four campuses which had agricultural programs. Fred N. Briggs was the first dean of agriculture and assistant director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. James H. Meyer was named dean and associate director in 1963.

When the college was established there were 17 departments, ten of which operated initially as joint departments with Berkeley. Three departments--nematology, biochemistry and biophysics, and animal physiology--were later added. In 1952, these departments supervised ten curricula with 20 majors. Four curricula were added, including agricultural business management, agricultural production, international agricultural development, and range management. In 1965, the faculty revised and consolidated curricula to include agricultural biosciences, agricultural economics and business management, agricultural education and development, agricultural science and management, family and consumer sciences, food science, and soil and water science.

Curricular changes were considered jointly by the campuses involved in agricultural programs. Improvements followed advances in agriculture and the basic sciences related to agriculture. This tended toward more and more specialization and resulted in neglecting general education, especially in the social sciences and other humanities. To correct this, the Davis faculty voted on May 24, 1962 to require a minimum of 24 units in agriculture and closely related subjects, 24 units in the natural and physical sciences, 24 units in the social sciences, and 16 units of free electives for each curriculum. This left 36 units for meeting major requirements and other prerequisites.

The greatest growth in staff followed World War II. In 1952, there were 233 budgeted full-time equivalent academic positions in agriculture. This increased to 388 by 1964-65. This growth was required for teaching in more specialized areas of agriculture and some of the sciences basic to agriculture and was also a response to research needs. The continued expansion of responsibility in these two areas led the Regents to designate the Davis campus as the principal center for agricultural teaching and research in a statement of policy at their meeting on October 23, 1959.

When the college was established in 1952, there were 252 non-degree, 645 undergraduate, and 147 graduate students enrolled. By the fall semester, 1964-65, there were 1,019 undergraduate and 598 graduate students. Three hundred and twenty-six of the graduate students were working for the Ph.D. degree. source

College of Engineering
The College of Engineering traces its history back to 1915, when a Division of Agricultural Engineering was organized under the leadership of J.B. Davidson. Although in the early days of the University Farm most students at Davis preferred the two-year non-degree program, degree work in engineering was offered in cooperation with UC Berkeley in 1926.

In 1959-60 the Kerr Commission determined that California needed an additional engineering school and that Davis was the logical site. Authorized as a separate college in 1962, the College of Engineering initially functioned as a single unit without separate departments. Roy Bainer, who had been on campus since 1929, became the first dean of the college. The first year there were 200 undergraduate students, 42 graduate students, 20 faculty members, and about 100 classes. Majors were available in agricultural engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. In 1963, at the instigation of Edward Teller, the Department of Applied Science was organized at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This graduate department was designed to interact with the national laboratory but was administered through Davis.

In the years between 1962 and 1967, 65 faculty members were hired, while student enrollment grew to 650. Before long the complexity of administering the increasingly large college required that it be reorganized along standard departmental lines. Chemical engineering was the first department (1964-65), but by 1965-66, the college had departments of agricultural, chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, besides the Department of Applied Science. In 1966 the college was granted full accreditation.

The space problems that were to haunt the college for decades began in the early 1960s. In 1967 Bainer Hall was opened, greatly expanding the previous quarters of the college in Walker Hall, but the college soon outgrew this new building, and temporary quarters were provided with leased trailer-type units. Planning for Engineering II began, but it was not completed until 1993. Construction of Engineering III began in 1998, with occupancy slated for the fall of 2000.

Undergraduate enrollments continued to grow faster than anticipated, especially given the nationwide decline in engineering enrollments in the late sixties. By 1969, when John D. Kemper became the second dean of the college, more than a thousand engineering undergraduates were enrolled. By 1975 the number had jumped to 1580, and the college was receiving many more applications than it could admit. Meanwhile, the college began a concomitant effort to diversify the pool of engineering students. The Engineering Summer Residency Program, targeting high school students from under-represented groups, began in 1975, followed by the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program in 1983. The MORE (Minority Opportunities for Research in Engineering) program began in 1987, and the Center for Women in Engineering in 1991.

In 1983 Mohammed S. Ghausi became the third dean of the college. The major challenges of the 1980s and 1990s were in the area of research funding and improving public recognition of the strengths of the college. Ghausi launched an ambitious multiyear "Silver Anniversary Campaign," which eventually raised over $54 million for college improvements. He also was instrumental in creating several engineering support groups, including the Board of Visitors and the Industrial Affiliates.

As engineering disciplines have matured, some realignments of departments have taken place. In 1992 the Department of Civil Engineering became the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Department of Agricultural Engineering was renamed the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. In 1992 the computer science faculty split away from the Department of Electrical Engineering to create a new Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The materials science program moved from the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering to the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1993.

In 1996 Alan J. Laub became the fourth dean of the college. By 1999 extramural research funding reached $43 million, undergraduate enrollments were about 2,700, and graduate enrollments over 700. The UC Davis College of Engineering is currently ranked in approximately the top ten percent of engineering schools in the nation. source

School of Law
In July 1962, the Regents of the University of California decided to expand publicly supported legal education in California by creating a new law school on the UC Davis campus. Academic and physical planning for the new law school began immediately. In 1964 Edward L. Barrett Jr., a UC Berkeley law faculty member, was appointed the school's founding dean. He selected law professor Daniel J. Dykstra as the school's first faculty member and Mortimer D. Schwartz as its first librarian. In 1971 Dykstra became the law school's second dean, followed by Pierre R. Loiseaux (1974-78), Richard C. Wydick (1978-80), Florian Bartosic (1980-90), Ellen R. Jordan (1991-92), Bruce A. Wolk (1993-95), and Rex R. Perschbacher (1998-present).

In the fall of 1966, the School of Law began operating in temporary buildings with an initial entering class of 78 and a faculty of four. The law school almost immediately attained full national accreditation from the American Bar Association and membership in the Association of American Law Schools. The school's permanent building was completed in the fall of 1968 and named after Martin Luther King Jr. in recognition of his efforts to achieve social and political justice for the poor and disadvantaged by lawful and orderly means. Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court and former governor of California, presided over the dedication ceremonies on April 12, 1969. That spring, the law school graduated its first class of 68 students.

From its founding, King Hall combined a rigorous academic program in law with strong interdisciplinary studies and pioneering programs in clinical legal education. By 1969-70, the law school offered clinical programs on Legal Problems of the Prison Inmate, the Selective Service System, Legislation, and Criminal Law. In 1981 the law school established one of the nation's first clinical programs addressing the problems of immigrants. Currently King Hall operates nationally recognized programs in immigration law, prison law, civil rights and family protection, plus environmental law, federal taxation, public interest law, legislative process, employment relations, and administration of criminal justice. Early support through a Ford Foundation grant created the Center for the Administration of Criminal Justice, a joint law and social science program.

Today the law school is recognized for its international and environmental law programs, the latter ranked in the top 20 nationwide. The last decade has seen a major expansion of international programs. Together with University Extension, King Hall has cosponsored a four-week summer program for lawyers and judges from around the world, the Orientation in USA Law Program. In 1996 the law school created its LL.M. degree program aimed at students educated outside the United States. An innovative part-time working professional Master's Degree in International Commercial Law nears final approval.

By remaining relatively small, King Hall has earned a reputation for excellent teaching, highlighted each year by the William and Sally Rutter teaching award. The student body has been notable for sponsorship of public interest activities, including creation of a public interest loan repayment fund, the Perfect Tender infant care co-op, and weeklong programs honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. In recent years the law school has been nationally recognized for quality of student life and ranked at the top of its cohort in supporting women students.

King Hall today has 38 full-time faculty, 15 to 20 adjunct faculty who teach in specialty areas, and a student body of 515. The law library's holdings exceed 260,000 volumes. The addition of new faculty members in recent years promises to continue King Hall's traditions of innovative and creative scholarship, diverse faculty and student body, commitment to public service, and supportive learning environment. source

College of Letters and Science
The College of Letters and Science was established at Davis in 1951 in recognition of the need for broadening the scope of campus offerings to provide students the opportunity to choose a well-rounded, general education program. Herbert A. Young, professor of chemistry, was appointed the first dean of the new college, and served in this capacity from 1951 to 1964.

Before 1951, instruction in the basic natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences was provided, primarily for the benefit of undergraduate majors in agriculture, by faculty members of divisions within the College of Agriculture. A number of these divisions became departments in the new College of Letters and Science. In the fall of 1951, 76 students enrolled as letters and science majors.

By the fall of 1964, the undergraduate enrollment in the college increased to 3,431. By 1965 the number of departments increased from the initial figure of 14 to 29, and there were approximately 325 faculty members. At that time undergraduate majors leading to the B.A. or B.S. degrees were offered in 29 different fields which were more or less traditional for students of the liberal arts or basic sciences. Instruction leading to the M.A. or M.S. degrees was offered in 24 fields. Instruction leading to the Ph.D. degree was offered in 13 fields.

Through the years, the Davis campus developed strong teaching and research programs in the biological sciences. With maturity, the College of Letters and Science developed comparable strength in the humanities, social, and physical sciences. A significant number of the faculty received Guggenheim fellowships, and one member of the history faculty was a 1965 Pulitzer prize winner. Among the organized research units of the college was the Crocker Nuclear Research Laboratory, which sponsored the construction of a 70-inch cyclotron for low energy nuclear research. Others included the Institute of Governmental Affairs, the Laboratory for Research in the Fine Arts and Museology, and the Agricultural History Center. source

Graduate School of Management
A graduate program in business on the UC Davis campus was first proposed in 1965. Although the Board of Regents approved the program in 1966, it was not until 1978 that the Graduate School of Administration received final approval from the UC Davis campus. Alexander F. McCalla, professor of agricultural economics and administration, served as acting dean from 1979 to 1981 and was responsible for the school's initial organization and development. He hired the first two permanent faculty members in 1980.

The two-year graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Administration provided both entry-level and midcareer students with an understanding of management approaches to problem solving and an awareness of the environment within which public and private management decisions are made. The second year of the program allowed students to select from four concentrations: business management, management of public programs, financial management, or environmental and natural resource management.

In 1981 Gary M. Walton, professor of economics and dean at the University of Miami, was named the first dean of the Graduate School of Administration. The program's charter class of 40 students was admitted that year. During the 1980s, the Graduate School of Administration focused on bringing technology to the classroom. Thanks to two grants from Hewlett-Packard Corporation, the school's Information Systems Laboratory (ISL), exclusively for management students, was extensively expanded and upgraded.

By 1989 the school had experienced significant growth, to a total of 15 faculty members and 116 students. During this year the name of the school was changed to the Graduate School of Management (GSM). Robert H. Smiley, then associate dean at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, was appointed as the school's second dean.

Through the years, the GSM has established joint degree programs with other academic and professional units at UC Davis, including the College of Engineering (1982), School of Law (1984), Department of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine (1990), Department of Agricultural Economics (1996), and School of Medicine (1997). As the school has matured, the profile of entering students has changed. In 1989, GSM students had an average grade point average of 3.3 and an average score of 630 on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Students entered the program with three to five years of work experience and came from a variety of backgrounds including accounting, engineering, biotechnology, marketing, information systems, and the public sector. In 1999, the average GMAT score for entering students had increased to 675, and students entered the program with approximately five years of work experience.

Today, the Graduate School of Management includes 25 faculty, 130 full-time students, 290 working professional students, and over 1,000 alumni. Entering students are able to choose from 10 areas of management concentration or create their own concentration tailored specifically to their interests. Full-time students have the opportunity to participate in international exchange programs in Italy, Hong Kong, Mexico, Holland, France, Germany, and Finland. GSM faculty members have become well known in their fields of research and are often contacted by media to give expert opinions on current business issues.

More than 85 prominent regional corporations currently participate in the School's Business Partnership program, providing unrestricted financial support. The Dean's Advisory Council, composed of 45 regionally influential business executives, also supports the school with advice and monetary contributions. Every year since 1996, U .S. News and World Report has ranked the GSM as one of the nation's top MBA programs. source

School of Medicine
Recognizing the rapidly expanding population of California and in response to state mandate, the Regents of the University of California in 1963 authorized the establishment of a four-year medical school at UC Davis. In 1965, Chancellor Mrak identified C. John Tupper, M.D., a young associate dean at the University of Michigan Medical School, as the leading candidate for the founding dean's position. Tupper arrived in Davis to take charge in February 1966.

Dean Tupper took on the challenge of developing a completely new medical school with vigor and foresight. Within six months, construction was started on several temporary buildings that became the first offices, lecture halls, and laboratories of the school, and an affiliation agreement was signed with the then-Sacramento County Hospital, which would serve as the School's primary clinical teaching facility until such time as a new university teaching hospital could be built. With remarkable speed, Tupper recruited the first seven faculty members to help develop the new curriculum. By the fall of 1968, nearly 70 faculty members had been recruited.

In 1968, the first class, consisting of 48 students, was recruited from 564 applicants, and on September 30, 1968, instruction began. The curriculum was innovative, offering mostly multidisciplinary teaching, clinical problem solving, and sufficient free time to encourage initiative among the students. The faculty was also responsible for teaching 15 Ph.D. candidates, 32 rotating interns, and 30 residents at the renamed Sacramento Medical Center.

Despite the setbacks of failed health bond issues in the 1970s, the school continued to grow and develop, increasing class size to100 by 1971. When it became clear that a new university hospital would not be built, negotiations began with the County of Sacramento to purchase the Sacramento Medical Center. After renovations and operational improvements the county facility was renamed the University of California, Davis Medical Center in 1978.

In 1977 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark Bakke decision, clarifying the admission policies of the school after a legal challenge by a rejected applicant. In 1979 Tupper stepped down as dean, and Hibbard E. Williams, an internist and endocrinologist from Cornell University Medical College, was recruited as dean in 1980. The school continued to grow during the 1980s with the near-doubling of its faculty, a major increase in its research budget, and the addition of new research programs. A phased reduction in class size to 93 occurred in the mid-1980s in response to national mandates. During this time, a major expansion of the UC Medical Center took place under the leadership of Director Frank Loge.

In 1992 Dean Williams stepped down, and Dr. Gerald Lazarus was recruited from the University of Pennsylvania to become the next dean. A strategic plan was developed, growth continued at the Sacramento campus, a Shriner's Hospital was constructed adjacent to the Medical Center, and the school's national reputation grew considerably.

In 1996 Dr. Joseph Silva, chairman of the school's Department of Internal Medicine, became dean. A new planning process was initiated to help the school position itself for the next century and to continue its distinction as one of the nation's outstanding comprehensive medical schools. source

School of Veterinary Medicine
The University of California first established a College of Veterinary Medicine in San Francisco in 1894, but that enterprise closed in 1899. In 1901 a Division of Veterinary Sciences was established in the College of Agriculture at Berkeley, and a few years later a branch of the Division was established at the University Farm. In 1946 the present School of Veterinary Medicine was founded on the Davis campus, absorbing the UC Berkeley program. In 1948 ground was broken for the school's first major building (later named Haring Hall), and in 1950 it was occupied. The first class of 42 Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), all men and mostly from farm and ranch backgrounds, graduated in 1952. At that time the veterinary profession was almost exclusively focused on livestock health concerns.

Since 1952 the school has graduated more than 4,200 DVM and developed another professional degree program, the Master of Preventive Medicine (MPVM) program, which has graduated more than 750 alumni from 75 different countries. The faculty has grown from its modest beginnings of 32 members to more than 300, and staff numbers have grown from a handful to more than 800. The resident training program, which began in the late 1960s with five interns/residents, has grown to 90 residents in 28 different disciplines. The first graduate student (M.S. and Ph.D.) were accepted in the 1950s; many of them went on to become members of the Davis faculty. By 1960 the program had grown to 40 graduate students, and by 2000 to 140 enrolled in 17 different graduate groups. As the scope and scale of instructional programs have become multidimensional, the annual student population in all four programs has risen to about 740. The current entering DVM class consists of 80 percent women, in sharp contrast to earlier years.

The school's programs, once totally contained in Haring Hall, are currently spread among 40 different buildings around the campus. In contrast with the total 1948 budget of $350,000, the current budget of $125 million includes some $60 million in research support.

In earlier days an average animal exam consisted of checking the heart, lungs, and temperature, and a certain amount of educated guesswork based on symptoms. Many diagnoses of livestock problems were made on the necropsy table. The symptomatic animal was often sacrificed to save the rest of the herd. Today advanced treatments are commonly used (diagnostic tests, surgical techniques, and vaccines) that were nonexistent in 1948. A single blood sample can rule out 50 diseases in a matter of minutes, and ultrasound, nuclear scintigraphy, MRIs, radiation therapy, and kidney dialysis are routine. Campus veterinarians conduct organ transplants and hip replacements, fix broken bones, and restore sight through eye surgery. Infectious diseases are much better understood, and prevention has become policy. Food safety concerns have moved onto the farm to prevent contamination at the farm source, and individual animal medicine for livestock has given way to population health and herd medicine.

Human health has become an important focus of many veterinary activities. The faculty promotes the "one medicine" concept, with basic and clinical veterinary scientists joining with medical school faculty to work on cross-species health problems including Lyme disease, diabetes, brain tumors, asthma, and AIDS. Research efforts are largely organized around 15 common research centers, and health scientists collaborate to obtain support, maximize resources, and take advantage of each other's expertise.

The current caseload at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital (VMTH) is 30,000 cases per year, 80 percent of which are companion animals. VMTH staff now do in one month what the VMTH was originally designed to do in a year. The school is currently deeply engaged in efforts to increase working space, funding, and faculty resources for anticipated growth in the immediate future. source

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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 06/18/04.