Fuzzy yellow crystals discovered in an old uranium mine have been named “caseyite” in honor of William H. Casey, chemistry professor in the College of Letters and Science. “It was a complete shock and it made me smile,” said Casey, who was not involved in the discovery. “It made me a hero in the eyes of my 19-year-old son.”
The building blocks of caseyite are vanadium and aluminum compounds that have been a focus of research by Casey and his students for some 20 years.
“It’s really cool that these have been found in nature,” Casey said. “I spent two decades telling my fellow geochemists that these clusters are superb experimental models to test their ideas. Few listened and at least one said, ‘Those aren’t natural!’”
One of the caseyite building blocks is decavanadate, a vanadium-containing material that’s been studied for its potential as a diabetes treatment. The other main constituent of caseyite is almost identical to flat-aluminum 13, a heretofore synthetic compound with uses in phone screens and electronics.
Vanadium gives caseyite its bright yellow color. “If you don’t look too closely, it looks like somebody spilled the mustard from their sandwich on the rock,” said Anthony Kampf, curator emeritus at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who proposed the “caseyite” name, which gained approval by the International Mineralogical Association on May 4.
Staff survey deadline extended
The deadline for responding to the UC Staff Engagement Survey has been extended one week to Friday, June 14. The survey, a project of the Council of UC Staff Assemblies, or CUCSA, and systemwide Human resources, has gone out to a sample of roughly 20,000 nonrepresented employees around UC, inquiring about their experiences, needs and impressions working for the university.
“We greatly value the direct feedback from individual staff, which can help shape how we all work at UC Davis,” said UC Davis’ Christine chief human resources officer, and Paul Cody, acting chair of Staff Assembly, encouraging invitees to complete the survey. “There is always room for improvement and we appreciate your help identifying areas to improve the staff experience.”
The survey is confidential, meaning personally identifying information will not be shared with the university.
Think you might have missed the survey invitation? Check your email inbox, clutter and spam folders for a survey reminder sent June 3 from the survey administrator, Willis Towers Watson.
Learn more about the UC Staff Engagement Survey on the UC Davis HR website.
MSAP: Identifying future leaders
Applications are now being accepted for UC’s Management Skills Assessment Program, or MSAP, to be held in the fall. The Davis campus and UC Davis Health have seven slots to fill.
The program is designed to assess the management skills of high potential, early career supervisors, managers and professionals for future leadership opportunities. UC Davis Human Resources urges department heads to identify employees who would be good candidates for the program, and encourage them to apply, and advises that supervisor support is essential MSAP success.
The fall program is scheduled from Oct. 14 to 17 at the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead. UC Davis HR will pay the $1,095 program cost for campus and UC Davis Health participants; the fee includes all program materials and room and board for three days and two nights. Home departments are responsible for transportation and related costs.
See the UC Davis MSAP webpage for eligibility criteria and a link to the application. Deadline: 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 25.
Mobility shuttle to eliminate all fares
Transportation Services’ Mobility Assistance Shuttle, already free for students, will eliminate its fares for faculty and staff effective July 1.
“This change also extends our mobility support for disabled employees from the parking lot to their on-campus destination,” said Cliff Contreras, director of Transportation Services, or TAPS.
Students, faculty and staff using the service are required to provide medical documentation.
Faculty and staff fares have been set at $10 per ride, $30 a week and $108 per month (or $27 per week) — paid by the employees’ departments, with the cost sometimes passed on to employees.
Eliminating the fares is “one more way UC Davis is demonstrating its commitment to accommodating employees,” Contreras said.
A year ago, the campus stopped charging for disabled (DSA) parking permits.
Student regent nominee
A special committee of the Board of Regents has nominated Jamaal Muwwakkil, a doctoral student at UC Santa Barbara, to be next in line to serve as student regent.
The committee made its selection after interviewing finalists chosen by panels appointed by student body presidents and the UC Student Association. The panels started with a record number of applications, 113.
The full board is due to consider Muwwakkil’s nomination in July, and, if it is approved, he would serve as student regent-designate in 2019-20, able to participate in all deliberations, and would have voting privileges in 2020-21. He would succeed another graduate student, Hayley Weddle, who moves up to student regent on July 1; she is working toward a doctorate degree in education studies at UC San Diego.
Muwwakkil is enrolled in a Master of Arts-Ph.D. program in linguistics at UCSB, where his research specializations include African American language and culture, sociocultural linguistics and political discourse. He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics with college and departmental honors at UCLA in 2016.
“My passion for equity and access in higher education is informed by my lived experience,” said Muwwakkil, a first-generation college student who transferred from Los Angeles City College to UCLA.
Aggie Band on interim suspension
Emily Galindo, interim vice chancellor of Student Affairs, issued the following update May 29:
The Division of Student Affairs has placed the Cal Aggie Marching Band (CAMB) on interim suspension pending the completion of the independent review of recent allegations of misconduct. The Cal Aggie Marching Band Alumni Association has been on suspension from performing alongside the CAMB since winter quarter when allegations of misconduct of one of its members first surfaced. Interim suspensions have been implemented for other student groups previously under review for misconduct within the division. Our leadership is committed to conducting a thorough internal and external assessment to determine the best path forward to provide a safe and inclusive experience for all student band members.