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LAURELS: Nash Prize winner Bisson, Distinguished Emeritus Cahill

By Dave Jones on April 15, 2014 in University

That Professor Linda Bisson has a long and distinguished record of service to the Academic Senate and shared governance is a given. But what really stands out is the way she goes about her work.


“Indefatigable,” “wonderful mentor,” “level-headed,” and “sensitive to the rigors of teaching, research and service.”

These are just a few of the ways Bisson’s colleagues described her in nominating her for the 2014 Charles P. Nash Prize — a prize that she is due to receive at a dinner on April 30. See details below.

The Davis Division of the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation, the Davis Faculty Association and the Nash family have been presenting the Nash Prize since 2008, the year after Charlie Nash’s death. He was a professor of chemistry and a longtime faculty leader.

The prize honors a faculty member who epitomizes Nash’s commitment to shared governance, and his advocacy on behalf of faculty interests and welfare. Funding for the $1,000 prize comes from the campus community and the Nash family and friends.

Bisson, who holds the Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology, served as Academic Senate chair in 2006-07, 2007-08 and again in 2011-12, succeeding Professor Bob Powell when he was appointed vice chair of the systemwide Academic Senate.

“More important than the number of major service obligations that Professor Bisson took on was her approach to those activities,” textiles and clothing professor Margaret Rucker wrote in her nomination letter. “In keeping with the spirit of Charlie Nash and his approach to service, she was not afraid to confront hard issues and ruffle a few feathers to insure fair play and the maintenance of shared governance.”

Professor Thomas Famula of animal science write: “Long before she advanced to head the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, Linda was a hard-working and dedicated member of the faculty — one who kept students and their needs foremost in her mind, while recognizing the concomitant role of the faculty in the health and well-being of the campus.

“This ‘marriage’ of student needs and faculty responsibility is at the heart of shared governance, and her skills in both these areas clearly demonstrate her qualifications for the Charles P. Nash Prize.”

In summarizing their nominations, eight faculty members stated: “For more than a decade, Professor Bisson has been a strong voice on our campus for shared governance, a fearless and relentless advocate of faculty interests while at the same time insisting on the importance of engaging productively with the administration.”

The Nash Prize dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30, reception at 6, dionner at 6:30, in Ballrooms A and B at the Conference Center. The price is $35 per person, and reservations are due by next Tuesday, April 22, to Ceremonies and Special Events, by telephone, (530) 754-2262, or email.


Atmospheric scientist Thomas Cahill, an international authority on the makeup and transport of airborne particles, recently received the Emeriti Association’s 2014 Distinguished Emeritus Award. The presentation took place during the association’s annual luncheon.


The award honors outstanding scholarly work or service performed by an emeritus or emerita professor since retirement. In Cahill’s case, that includes analyses of the pollution that spewed from the ruins of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Cahill holds emeritus status in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, and the Department of Physics.

The Emeriti Association lauded him for his outstanding professional career in the area of atmospheric aerosols, or particulate matter.

“He has combined his research on the impact of aerosols with a highly visible and effective public service component, using his knowledge to address local, national and international problems," the associate declared.

“His focus on the impact of atmospheric particulates has consistently focused on human health effects,” including, for example, the threat of aerosols from railroads and freeways, as well as the World Trade Center.

After officially retiring in 1994, Cahill formed the DELTA Group (Detection and Evaluation of Long-Range Transport of Aerosols) to study aerosol impacts on global climate.


New fellows in nutrition and psychology:

  • Barbara Schneeman, professor emerita, Department of Nutrition — American Society for Nutrition. “Fellow” is the society’s highest honor, recognizing significant discoveries and distinguished careers.  
  • Andy Yonelinas, professor, Department of Psychology, and associate director, Center for Mind and Brain — Society of Experimental Psychologists, the oldest and most prestigious honorary society in psychology.


The editors of Behavioral Ecology recently chose 17 “influential” papers and reviews published by the journal in its first 25 years — and UC Davis’ Scott Carroll co-authored one of the featured papers.

Carroll, an evolutionary ecologist, researches patterns of ongoing evolution in wild and anthropogenic environments. His studies on changes in soapberry bugs in response to plant introductions are seminal contributions to the understanding of diversification.

He is a member of Sharon Lawler’s lab in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the founding director of the Institute for Contemporary Evolution, in which UC Davis is a partner.

Behavioral Ecology, the flagship journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, was first published in 1990. Now, in an online-only, anniversary edition, you can read Carroll’s article and all the others chosen as standouts in the journal’s history.

Carroll provided the virtual edition’s “cover” photo: soapberry bugs at his study site in the Florida Keys.

His paper “inside” the virtual edition is titled “Divergence in Male Mating Tactics Between Two Populations of the Soapberry Bug: II. Genetic Change and the Evolution of a Plastic Reaction Norm in a Variable Social Environment,” which he co-authored with Patrice Showers Corneli.

Carroll did the research while working on his doctoral dissertation (in biology) at the University of Utah. He co-authored the paper as a post-doctoral scholar in the Hugh Dingle’s lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology (before it expanded to include nematology).

Corneli analyzed aspects of the data for her master’s thesis in statistics from the University of Utah; she’s now an associate research professor in that university’s Department of Biology.

The journal’s editor-in-chief, Leigh Simmons, of the Center for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia, provided this comment, in the index, on Carroll and Corneli’s work: “This article exemplifies the behavioral ecology approach, examining as it does both ecological determinants of behavior and its genetic basis. It foreshadowed important theoretical developments into strategic allocation to sperm competition traits, and contributed more generally to our understanding of the evolution of phenotypic plasticity.”


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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,