LAURELS: Aldana Named to Leadership Academy

Quick Summary

  • She’s among 24 fellows in program aimed at increasing number of Hispanics in higher ed presidential positions
  • Louise Ferguson on the presidential track in American Society for Horticultural Science
  • UC Davis Medical Center an “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” for 9th consecutive year
  • IT personnel, others earn Sautter awards for Siteimprove, SiteFarm and Article 26 Backpack platform

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has chosen UC Davis’ Raquel Aldana as one of 24 fellows for the association’s inaugural Presidential Leadership Academy (La Academia de Liderazgo), designed to increase Hispanic representation in presidential positions in higher education.

Raquel Aldana mugshot

Aldana joined UC Davis in 2017 as a professor of law and associate vice chancellor for academic diversity (which is now part of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). She is co-chair of the campus’s Hispanic-Serving Institution Task Force.

La Academia is a direct response to the declining percentage of Hispanic university presidents (from 4.5 percent in 2006 to 3.9 percent in 2016), despite the unprecedented growth of U.S. Hispanic college student enrollment, officials of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, or HACU, said in a news release today (Aug. 1) announcing the inaugural class of fellows for La Academia de Liderazgo.

The fellows will participate in an array of leadership development activities designed to prepare them for leadership roles in the full spectrum of institutions of higher learning, but with a focus on leadership positions within Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Emerging HSIs. 

“The Presidential Leadership Academy, La Academia de Liderazgo, meets HACU’s mission to champion Hispanic success in Hispanic higher education,” said Antonio R. Flores, the association’s president and chief executive officer. “By preparing more Latinos/Latinas for leadership roles with a special focus on Hispanic-Serving Institutions, HACU and the fellows who participate will have a profound impact on the students they serve and the institutions they lead.”

The one-year fellowship program includes three seminars, with the first taking place in October in conjunction with HACU’s 33rd annual conference, “Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Meeting the Challenge of Prosperity and Equality,” in Chicago.

More than a dozen nationally recognized current and emeriti presidents and senior-level administrators will serve on the academy’s faculty. Mentorship with a university president will be a key component, as will be the development of a special project designed to have an impact at each fellow’s institution.

Louise Ferguson mugshot

Louise Ferguson, a faculty member in the Department of Plant Sciences and a Cooperative Extension pomology specialist, has taken office as the  president-elect of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Her appointment commenced in July at the society’s annual conference, held this year in Las Vegas. Her one-year term as president will begin next July, and after that she will serve for a year as chair of the board of directors.

“One of my primary goals in this leadership position will be to increase the endowment in order to financially support students — undergraduate and graduate — to become ASHS members, and to attend the organization’s annual meeting, present posters and talks, and meet colleagues,” she said. “All of this helps the students with leadership development and serves them when they launch into their post-graduate careers.”

Ferguson’s research and extension work is in fruit and nut trees, including pistachios, olives, figs, citrus and other subtropical fruit crops. She works with Cooperative Extension farm advisors and growers throughout California to establish research and outreach programs that support the fruit and nut industry. She is also a core faculty member in the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation program.

Acclaimed for her international agricultural development work in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, Ferguson is also recognized as an international leader in knowledge extension related to fruit tree crop production in many countries around the world.

She is the recipient of the Outstanding Extension Educator Award (2017) and Outstanding Extension Publication Award (2014), both from the American Society for Horticultural Science.

— Ann Filmer, director of communications, Department of Plant Sciences

The UC Davis Medical Center announced that it has been recognized as an “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” for the ninth consecutive year, a designation conferred by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in its annual Healthcare Equality Index. This year’s index is due out Aug. 16.

The medical center again earned a top score of 100 in the foundation’s evaluation of policies and practices pertaining to equity and inclusion for LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

“This designation recognizes the work of our health care team’s long-held commitment to delivering patient care that honors each person as an individual,” said David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of Human Health Sciences and chief executive officer of the medical center. “The award also highlights our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusivity as an employer. Equity and inclusion for both patients and employees are keys to our goal of providing truly compassionate, high quality care for everyone.”

The survey covers staff training; patient care services and support; employee benefits and community engagement; and a new factor that requires employers to offer their employees at least one health insurance plan that includes transgender-inclusive coverage.

Read the entire news release from UC Davis Health.

UC Davis IT personnel and others earned gold and silver honors and an honorable mention in UC’s annual Larry L. Sautter awards program for innovation in information technology, sponsored by the UC Information Technology Leadership Council.

The awards — their namesake served as associate vice chancellor for computing and communications at UC Riverside — recognize collaboration and solution-sharing across the UC system, on IT projects that advance the university’s missions of teaching, research, public service and patient care, or that improve the effectiveness of university processes.

UC Davis earned recognition for the following projects, listed by title:

• “Systemwide Collaboration on Accessibility: The Siteimprove Implementation Project” — A golden award for team members from all UC locations, for selecting and launching Siteimprove, an automated tool that monitors public-facing websites for accessibility issues that can impede use of the sites by people with disabilities. The implementation team included three UC Davis representatives, Jennifer Billeci, director, Student Disability Center; Joshua Hori, accessible technology analyst, Student Disability Center; and David Levin, director, Academic Technology Services.

SiteFarm logo in farm field
  • Shawn DeArmond, web architect and co-project leader
  • Carson Black, Anthony Hom, Mark Miller and Jeroen Post, web developers
  • Jessica Hayes, support analyst

The project also involved UCLA, UCLA Health and UCSF, and contributors from UC Berkeley and UC Merced.

• “Article 26 Backpack: Tech as an Educational Lifeline for Refugees “— Honorable mention for UC Davis’ cloud-based platform that assists refugees in reclaiming their right to education, by giving them a place to store their academic credentials. More than 600 refugees have created accounts through Article 26 Backpack: The Universal Human Rights Tool for Academic Mobility. Keith David Watenpaugh, professor and director of Human Rights Studies, served as project leader, and his team comprised Mona Finucane, former deputy director, Article 26 Backpack; and the following from IET:

  • Quico Gonzalez, professional services manager
  • Ernie Comer, project manager
  • Shawn DeArmond, web architect
  • Carson Black, Mark Miller, Anthony Horn and Jeroen Post, web developers

Read the UC news release about all the Sautter awards, and see the project applications.

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