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NEWS BRIEFS: David Biale tapped for Humanities Institute

By Clifton B. Parker on May 3, 2013 in University

David Biale, a leading scholar of Jewish intellectual and cultural life, has been named director of the UC Davis Humanities Institute.

He is slated to begin in his new post on July 1. He succeeds Associate Professor of English Seeta Chaganti, who has been serving as interim director since January.

Biale, the Emanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History, is the author and editor of 10 books and 74 articles over his 36-year career. He is also a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His most recent book is titled Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Secular Jewish Thought (Princeton University Press, 2011).

A faculty member on campus since 1999, Biale founded the Jewish Studies Program and is currently serving as chair of the history department. In 2011 he received the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, the highest honor the university bestows on its faculty.        

Biale said, “As an intellectual and cultural historian, my work has always drawn from other disciplines, especially literature and philosophy. In leading the Humanities Institute, I look forward to working collaboratively with faculty, students and staff in determining how to strengthen what is already a very strong organization.”

Decision day for transfers, May 10

Decision day for prospective transfer students is set for Friday, May 10. It is the second Decision UC Davis of the spring, but, unlike the first one (for prospective freshmen), this one is still being held on a Friday.

Admissions officials moved the freshman decision day to a Saturday this year, so as not to overtax parking lots and garages with around 5,000 visitors.

Only about 2,000 people are expected for transfer day. Visitors are being advised to use parking Lot 25 in front of the Activities and Recreation Center; overflow parking will be directed to the west entry parking garage.

Registration open for IT Security Symposium

Registration is now open for the UC’s 2013 IT Security Symposium, for information technology professionals from around the UC system. The symposium is scheduled for June 18-19 at UC Davis.

The $75 registration fee includes lectures, panel discussions, hands-on labs, meals, refreshments, conference materials and an event T-shirt.

The agenda features nearly 50 different sessions, ranging from “Using a Web Proxy to Stop Users from Downloading Viruses” and “Mobile Devices: Threats and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)” to “Safe Enablement: Academic Freedom and Network Security Are Not Mutually Exclusive.”

All registrations include a seat at the first session on June 19, “What the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Means to You,” presented by Ernest McDuffie, tasked by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to lead the initiative.

Registration continues until May 17, and cannot be arranged at the event.

Questions? Send them by email to the planning committee,

Forum: What makes you tick?

UC Davis will hold its third annual TEDxUCDavis event on May 18. The event will focus on the theme, “What Do You Work Towards,” with goal of helping individuals articulate what makes them tick.

The event is organized under the direction of student curator Cory Warshaw and produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance. TEDxUCDavis: What Do You Work Towards will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Main Theatre, Wright Hall.

Some of the innovators scheduled to speak include UC Davis faculty and other experts: Dr. Bryan Enderle, professor of chemistry and avid theologian; Larry Bogad, professor of political performance; Vishal Gurbuxani, chief technology officer at Velti; Dr. Amy Williams, professor of geology and MARS Laboratory collaborator; and Stewart Long, aerial photographer. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss their reactions to the talks. It is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance at Tickets, pending availability, will also be sold at the door. The cost of general admission is $25; tickets for alumni, faculty and staff are $20; and UC Davis student tickets are $15.

Questions be directed to Christine Ton, director of marketing, at 408-547-7807or Follow the event on Twitter or Facebook

Bike auction set for May 4

Is your bicycle a bit rusty after all this rain? Hundreds of potential replacements are awaiting your bid during a campus bike auction May 4.   The Bicycle Progrm of Transportation and Parking Services, or TAPS, conducts an auction like this twice each academic year, once in the fall and once in the spring — to clear out the program’s inventory of abandoned bicycles.   Interested people are invited to view the available bikes starting at 8 a.m. The auction is scheduled to begin at 9 and continue until each of more than 400 bicycles has gone up for bid. The location is the first floor of the West Entry Parking Structure off Hutchison Drive.   More information about the auction is available here.

Summit eyes food fraud 

A group of researchers, policymakers and communicators gathered at UC Davis recently to discuss food fraud, a widespread practice that hurts consumers and honest producers of honey, juice, wine, olive oil, seafood and more.

“The scope of the problem is remarkably large, and it’s not a victimless crime,” said Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis which hosted April 23 summit. “We need to come together to fight for the integrity of the food and drink we consume.”

Food fraud is not new, but the practice is growing. For example, some people may dilute juice and use chemicals and coloring to make it taste like the real thing, or mislabel fish, mix spices with cheaper leaves and resin, or bottle so-called extra virgin olive oil that doesn’t even come from olives.

“About two-thirds of the extra virgin olive oil sold in the United States is not extra virgin, and some of it hasn’t even been in the same room with an olive,” said Dan Flynn, director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “Food fraudsters do it because it’s lucrative. They can make as much profit in adulterating food as selling cocaine, without the risks.”

Many of the 60 participants said they will join forces with other producers, retailers, policy-makers and communicators to define the problem and fight for legislative, legal and outreach solutions. Their first step is to form a commission, which is underway.

Michael Roberts, director of the Center for Food Law and Policy and an adjunct food law professor at UCLA, who spoke at the summit, said, “Consumer demand carries a lot of weight in the marketplace."

Expand your horizons on Web accessibilty

UC Davis will hold sessions on Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 9 to help raise awareness about how people with disabilities use the Web. People are invited to test one or more web pages from 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in 1310 Surge III.

The program is one hour long and repeats each hour. Staff will present brief sessions (10-20 minutes each) addressing Web accessibility. Participants will learn about Web accessibility, testing websites, converting your documents into accessible formats, and creating accessible PDFs, among other things.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort whose goal is to focus one day on calling attention to the issue facing people with disabilities in accessing digital forms of the Web. More information is available here.



Media contact(s)

Clifton B. Parker, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,