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Roundtable: ‘Science In a Post-Truth Era’ 1st Program in ‘Dialogue and Discernment’ Series

By Dateline Staff on February 9, 2017 in University

A public roundtable with faculty is planned later this month on the topic of “Science In a Post-Truth Era,” exploring the growing marginalization and suppression of science by political and public leadership — and what can be done about it.

The program is the first installment of a new discussion series, Dialogue and Discernment, sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor. The series will provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students to come together “to discuss the promise and practice of addressing controversial issues through informed and rational dialogue and critical evaluation of ideas.”

“Science In a Post-Truth Era” will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter will give introductory remarks, and Professor Deb Niemeier (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and School of Education) will moderate the roundtable discussion and the dialogue with the faculty and the audience.

Here are the faculty members who are participating in the roundtable:

  • Benjamin Houlton, professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources; Chancellor’s Fellow; and director of the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment
  • Tessa Hill, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
  • Joe Dumit, professor in the Department of Anthropology and of Science and Technology Studies, and director of the Institute for Social Sciences
  • Veronica Morales, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

More about Dialogue and Discernment

The words “dialogue” and “discernment” in the series title derive, respectively, from the themes of Interim Chancellor Hexter’s 2016 Fall Convocation address and 2016 Fall Commencement address.

What can such dialogue and critical reception achieve that alternative efforts cannot? What are the elements that foster functional dialogue? How can all of us learn to be more-astute interpreters of the ideas we encounter, and how do we evaluate the reliability and credibility of their sources? What role should universities play in advancing functional dialogue and the exercise of discernment? These are among the questions that this series will address.

Typical events will feature a presentation by one or more faculty members, students, campus leaders and/or distinguished visitors, followed by a substantial period in which the audience can ask questions and share views.

If you would like to submit an idea for a future topic in this series, please write to

Dialogue and Discernment website

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or