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New leaders in student affairs, and academic personnel

By Mitchel Benson on July 20, 2007 in University

Fred Wood, a chemist by training who came to UC Davis in 1978 as a junior college transfer student and then spent all but two of the next 29 years here, was expected to be tapped this week as the campus's new vice chancellor for student affairs.

The UC Board of Regents was expected to confirm Wood's appointment, which followed a national search, at its meeting earlier this week on the UC Santa Barbara campus. Wood, who served for three years as interim vice provost for undergraduate studies, and, most recently, as associate vice provost for undergraduate studies, would begin serving in his new post on Aug. 1.

As vice chancellor for student affairs, Wood will oversee all the campus employees and services that support and enhance the student academic experience. The wide array of programs that fall within the Division of Student Affairs includes the Activities and Recreation Center, Office of Financial Aid, Student Housing, Office of the Registrar, Advising Services, Intramural Sports, UCD Bookstore and Intercollegiate Athletics.

"Confidence in Fred Wood's abilities came through loudly and clearly in the search process," said Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "His experience with students, with courses and course availability, his academic credibility owing to his work with the Academic Senate and with faculty colleagues generally, his appreciation of and on-the-ground understanding of the offices and activities in Student Affairs — all suggested he is indeed the right person to next lead our nationally recognized student affairs office."

Wood succeeds Janet Gong, who served as interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs beginning Jan. 1, 2007, and now will return to her previous post as associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. As interim vice chancellor, Gong succeeded Judy Sakaki, who joined the UC Office of the President as vice president for Student Affairs.

"Davis has created wonderful opportunities for students in student affairs," Wood said. "And when student affairs and academic affairs really work closely together in a mutually supportive, synergistic manner, then you really create some fantastic opportunities for students."

Wood has served since April as the associate vice provost for undergraduate studies and, prior to that, served since 2004 as the interim vice provost for undergraduate studies.

His other posts on campus have included associate dean in the College of Letters and Science and undergraduate instructional coordinator and senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry.

Wood emphasized his "commitment to building bridges and a strong collaborative partnership." One of his goals in his new post, he said, is to "do what I can to ensure that the students reflect the diversity of the state of California. I want to focus on academic preparation and admissions to really create that diversity, and build an inclusive community where everyone feels connected and a part of the place. I think we can do that."

Wood received an associate in arts degree in physical sciences from Diablo Valley Community College in Pleasant Hill, before transferring to UC Davis, where he received his bachelor's degree and doctorate in chemistry.

As vice chancellor, Wood will receive an annual salary of $210,000.

White: academic personnel

In another administrative move, Bruce White, associate dean for academic personnel and planning in the College of Engineering, was expected to be confirmed this week by the regents as interim vice provost for academic personnel, succeeding Barbara Horwitz, who was tapped in May to serve as interim provost and executive vice chancellor. White's appointment would be effective July 1.

Horwitz will serve in that post while the campus conducts a national search to replace Provost Virginia Hinshaw, who left at the end of June to take over as chancellor of the University of Hawaii's flagship Manoa campus on the island of Oahu.

White has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate from Iowa State University. White, a professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering, has served as associate dean in the College of Engineering for five years and so brings a great deal of relevant experience to the interim vice provost position.

A wind-studies specialist, he is perhaps best known for the research he did regarding the design of the Giants ballpark in San Francisco now known as AT&T Park. The study was instrumental in re-aligning the orientation of the stadium to protect it from wind effects.

In July 1995, the Giants front office asked White to evaluate the team's plans for a new waterfront stadium in San Francisco. He reviewed the stadium design and made suggestions about reducing wind problems. Then he tested scale models of two designs for the park — the original plan and a modified plan, based on his suggestions. He gave the Giants a startling answer: Either design would be much windier than the team's existing home at Candlestick Park, which was widely despised for its wind problems. But White also provided the solution: rotate the second of the stadium designs nearly 180 degrees. That's just what the builders did.

As interim vice provost for academic personnel, White will receive an annual salary of $190,000.

Media contact(s)

Mitchel Benson, (530) 752-9844,