LAURELS: Back-to-Back Innovation Wins for UC Davis Stores

A student reads a tablet computer.
With Inclusive Access, Ed Ju and other students can kick textbooks aside in favor of course material on tablets, laptops and desktop computers. (Photo by Stephen Kui/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Poet Katie Peterson receives Arts and Letters Award in Literature
  • Leslie Rabine, Brett Snyder named Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Fellows
  • 'Concussion' subject Bennet Omalu receives US Sports Academy's highest award in sports medicine
  • Bruce Hammock recognized for eicosanoid research
  • Institute of Food Technologists honors Bruce German, Carl Winter

The National Association of College Stores Foundation gives one, and only one, Innovation Achievement Award every two years, and UC Davis Stores just won its second consecutive award. None of the other member schools in the U.S. or Canada has ever accomplished this.

In 2014, UC Davis Stores won for its SmartStart program, whereby staff members act as personal textbook shoppers for students and their families.

“While we did not think NACS would honor the same university with back-to-back wins, we were very pleasantly surprised to learn we were selected as the most innovative collegiate retailer again in 2016,” said Jason Lorgan, stores director.

The 2016 award recognizes UC Davis Stores’ Inclusive Access digital course content delivery program, featuring adaptive material; i.e., the teacher personalizes it, even including assignments. For each Inclusive Access class in which a student enrolls, he or she receives access to the course material one to two weeks before the start of the class, and then has a minimum of 10 days, from the first day of the term, to cancel and pay nothing, say, if the student drops the course.

Among students who continue their enrollment, the bookstore is seeing higher “sell-through” rates compared with textbook purchases — and, with more sales, the bookstore is able to negotiate lower prices from the publishers. The net result: Students saved $2.3 million from the fall of 2014 through the fall of 2015, compared with what they would have paid for textbooks.

Beyond money savings, the bookstore points out the following benefits:

  • Engagement with the material is higher. That is, after all, one of the core goals of digital adaptive learning.
  • Students can avoid the bookstore rush at the start of every quarter.
  • Faculty are assured that all students have course materials on Day 1. Also, digital adaptive software gives faculty greater ability to structure their classes precisely, so each faculty member can pace his or her course the way they want and monitor progress to see exactly what their students are doing and when.

Inclusive Access began as a pilot in the fall of 2014, with 10 courses and 3,000 participating students. Last fall, the catalog had grown to 40 courses, and 13,000 students participated.

UC Davis Stores also scored several awards recently from the Independent College Bookstore Association and RMSA Retail Solutions, including first place for overall excellence in student supplies management (best financial performance), and several first-place awards for clothing sales.


A UC Davis poet, Katie Peterson, is among eight recipients of a 2016 Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, recognizing “exceptional accomplishment in any genre.”

Katie Peterson
Katie Peterson’s poems explore interior and exterior landscapes, exposure and shelter.

The academy gave 21 awards in all, eight like Peterson’s for “exceptional accomplishment in any genre,” and the rest for achievement in specific genres. The other award winners include two MacArthur “genius grant” Fellows and a Pulitzer Prize winner.  

Peterson, who has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford and a doctorate from Harvard, joined the UC Davis faculty as an assistant professor of English in early 2015. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program.

She has published three books of poetry: This One Tree (2006), Permission (2013) and The Accounts (2013), which won the Rilke Prize of $10,000. She has another book of poetry nearing completion and is working on a book of essays. 

Peterson’s poems explore interior and exterior landscapes, exposure and shelter.  “I like a poem that feels logical but is not — a poem in which thinking takes the shape of a hallucination,” she wrote in an artist statement. “I like a poem in which all of my intelligence fails. I am forced to use other tools: desire, anger, recklessness. I pursue beauty and memory not to preserve them but to try, against odds, to preserve that perishable pursuit.” 

The American Academy of Arts and Letters chooses its award recipients from among nominations submitted by members: 250 architects, artists, composers and writers. The winners often do not know who nominated them, which is the case for Peterson.

Lucy Corin, director of the Creative Writing Program, said: “A lot of incredible writers have to think very highly of your work for it to be honored in this way. I’m thrilled for Katie and for the new readers this will bring to her books.”


Two UC Davis professors are included in the inaugural cohort of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Fellows, comprising 30 artists, educators and activists.

The UC Davis fellows:

  • Leslie Rabine, professor emeritus in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program
  • Brett Snyder, an assistant professor in the Department of Design and a principal in Cheng+Snyderan experimental architecture studio based in Oakland

The fellows will ask and answer the question: “Can we design freedom?” Through a yearlong process of inquiry, dialogue and project generation, YBCA fellows will push the boundaries of how creative practice can affect change.

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is devoted to contemporary visual art, performance and film-video representing diverse cultural and artistic perspectives.


Forensic pathologist and neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in football players, has been named the recipient of the U.S. Sports Academy’s highest award in sports medicine, the Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award.

Omalu is chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County and an associate clinical professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The 2015 movie Concussion (starring Will Smith as Omalu) chronicles the doctor’s discovery of CTE and the opposition he faced from the National Football League and its medical representatives as he shared his concerns about the links between football and traumatic brain injury.

The U.S. Sports Academy lists among its criteria for the Jokl award an “abiding belief in and practice of ethical behavior in pursuit of knowledge.” The award is named after a former Olympic athlete, international sports medicine scholar and director of the University of Kentucky Rehabilitation.


Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor, is the inaugural recipient of the Eicosanoid Research Association’s John C. McGiff Memorial Award.

“Jack McGiff's generation told us how aspirin worked and provided humanity with a collection of new pharmaceuticals which has greatly improved the health of man and his companion animals,” Hammock said, referring to drugs that work through the eicosanoid pathway, regulating blood pressure, childbirth, pain, inflammation, tissue repair and other biologies. 

Hammock, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, is involved in research that could lead to new drugs for depression, bipolar disorder and some other central nervous system disorders. 

The award presentation took place during the association’s International Winter Eicosanoid Conference in Baltimore. McGriff founded the conference in 1998.


The Institute of Food Technologists announced its selection of two UC Davis scientists for awards to be given during the institute’s annual meeting this summer.

  • Bruce German, professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, and director of the Foods for Health Institute — Gilbert A. Leveille Award and Lectureship, given in partnership with the American Society of Nutrition. The award recognizes outstanding research and-or public service at the interface between the disciplines of nutrition and food science, over a period of five years or more, that has contributed to improved health and well-being.
  • Carl Winter, Cooperative Extension food toxicologist, Department of Food Science and Technology, and director of the FoodSafe program — Bernard L. Oser Food Ingredient Safety Award, honoring an institute of member for his or her contribution to the scientific knowledge of food ingredient safety or leadership in establishing principles for food ingredient safety evaluation or regulation.


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