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NASH PRIZE: Professor Howard Day

By Dave Jones on May 6, 2011 in University

Faculty Research Lecture Award goes to Margaret Ferguson.

Other Academic Senate and Academic Federation awards.

Dateline staff

Professor Howard Day’s commitment to UC Davis is solid as a rock, and not just in terms of his academic discipline: geology. He also is recognized for his commitment to shared governance, and to promoting faculty interests and welfare — in the same vein as the late Charles P. Nash.

For that reason, Day is the recipient of the 2011 Charles P. Nash Prize, as announced last week by the Academic Federation, the Academic Senate and the Davis Faculty Association. The prize comes with a $1,000 honorarium, funded by the campus community and Nash’s family and friends. A dinner in Day's honor is set for next week (see details below).

The prize has been given annually since Nash’s death four years ago at the age of 75. The chemistry professor served two terms as chair of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, and also worked on behalf of the Academic Federation and the Davis Faculty Association.

“Faculty and students go to Howard Day for advice, both in terms of scientific and technical matters, and in areas of professional development, faculty governance and conflict resolution,” said his nominators for the Nash prize. “His colleagues recognize him as an individual possessing the highest personal and intellectual standards who has unselfishly given his time to the department, the university and his profession.”

In a news release, the Academic Federation, Academic Senate and Davis Faculty Association noted Day’s work as the chair of the Academic Senate Special Committee on Academic Personnel Process Reform, saying he provided “the initial, thorough, thoughtful and balanced approaches to improving the personnel review process at a time when it was essential that changes be made.”

In addition, he has served as the chair of the Academic Senate’s Faculty Privilege and Academic Personnel Advisers Committee, and has been called upon frequently to assist in difficult and time-consuming conflicts for the Campus Mediation program.

All the while, he has maintained an internationally respected and well-funded research program on the petrogenesis of metamorphic rocks.

He also is involved in programs aimed at preparing science teachers of the future. For example, under Day’s leadership, the campus launched a new Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences to help meet the state of California’s critical need for high school science teachers. And, at the campus’s request, he initiated and directs the Math and Sciences Teaching Program, or MAST, which is UC Davis’ contribution to the University of California Science and Mathematics Initiative.

Day has served as chair of the geology department, and has contributed to the College of Letters of Science in a variety of capacities: chair of the Faculty Personnel Committee, the Academic and Planning Council, and a number of recruitment committees, for example.

Said one of his nominators for the Nash prize: “Professor Day approaches his service commitments with the same rigor and integrity that he conducts his research, and the respect of his colleagues for his contributions is reflected in continued requests for his service.

“Like Charlie Nash, Professor Day brings distinction to UC Davis through his research and teaching, in addition to his extraordinary service to the campus and to faculty welfare.”

The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. A reception is set for 6 p.m. and the dinner at 6:30. People interested in attending should contact Edwin Arevalo, (530) 754-7468 or as soon as possible.

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,