Senate, Federation Announce Campus’s Top Academic Awards

Quick Summary

  • Jay Lund: Academic Senate’s distinguished research award
  • Daniel Wilson: Academic Federation’s James H. Meyer award
  • Other awards recognize teaching, mentoring and public service

The Academic Senate and Academic Federation have made their selections for the campus’s most prestigious academic awards for 2023, honoring 17 members for exceptional research, teaching and mentoring, and public service.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering can boast it is the home of the top award winner in each organization: Jay Lund, distinguished professor, Faculty Distinguished Research Award from the Academic Senate; and Daniel Wilson, academic administrator, James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award from the Academic Federation.

The late Meyer, animal science professor, department chair and dean who would become UC Davis’ third chancellor (1969-87), played an important role in the history of the Academic Federation, having proposed its formation (it began as the Academic Staff Organization) for academic appointees who were not members of the Academic Senate, and supporting the organization through his chancellorship.

Unique among UC campuses, the Academic Federation represents academic appointees in titles such as lecturer (Unit 18), adjunct professor and librarian, agronomist and specialist, professional researcher and project scientist, and academic administrator and academic coordinator — about 2,000 members total. The UC Davis Academic Senate, representing some 3,000 ladder-rank faculty members, is one division of the systemwide Academic Senate, with each campus constituting a division.

The Academic Senate and Academic Federation will hold a joint awards reception in the spring, with details to be announced at a later date.

The write-ups below for each of the recipients are adapted from the citations prepared by the senate and federation award committees.

Academic Senate

Jay Lund, UC Davis faculty, poses on walkway with Arboretum Waterway behind him
Jay Lund, distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Research Award for 2023. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Faculty Distinguished Research Award

Jay Lund, distinguished professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, and vice director of the Center for Watershed Sciences — Professor Lund has made foundational contributions to the fields of groundwater management, reservoir operations, water conservation, ecosystem management, solid waste management and transportation. His research on integrated water and environmental management, water markets, demand conservation, game theory and integrated large-scale water operations has produced several groundbreaking theoretical advances. Professor Lund has established himself as the preeminent international leader in the theory and practice of water resources systems analysis, particularly in applying mathematical techniques to provide multidisciplinary solutions to water problems of public importance. He has advised government agencies and organizations on water management issues, and his models and research have impacted water management policies worldwide.

Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Awards

J. Anthony Seibert headshot, UC Davis faculty
J. Anthony Seibert

J. Anthony Seibert, professor, Department of Radiology, School of Medicine — Professor Seibert is a medical physicist who has been instrumental in setting safety, regulatory compliance and imaging standards of medical radiology at the national level. He has served as chair, trustee and secretary of several organizations, including the American Board of Radiology, the American Board of Imaging Informatics, the American College of Radiology, the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. In addition, through service in the National Council of Radiological Protection and Measurements, and the Food and Drug Administration’s National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee, Professor Seibert’s recommendations have been adopted into state laws and industrial standards.

Ulfat Shaikh headshot, UC Davis faculty
Ulfat Shaikh

Ulfat Shaikh, professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine — Through extensive advocacy and public service efforts, Professor Shaikh is a leader in advancing the quality of children’s health at the local, state and national levels. She serves as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, where she has advocated for the elimination of race-based medicine, among other important contributions. At the state level, Professor Shaikh served as clinical quality officer for the California Department of Health Care Services during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Professor Shaikh is a member of the Children’s Hospital Association, where she advocates for increased member engagement with child protective services, juvenile justice systems, foodbanks, crisis nurseries, foster care and local health departments.

Daniel Sperling headshot, UC Davis faculty
Daniel Sperling

Daniel Sperling, distinguished professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, and Department of Environmental Science and Policy, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and director, Institute of Transportation Studies — Professor Sperling has significantly influenced transportation policy in California and nationwide through, among other venues, his leadership at the California Air Resources Board. He has testified before Congress several times and was the first chair of the Future of Transportation Council of the Davos World Economic Forum. Furthermore, Professor Sperling has been instrumental in designing the low-carbon fuels program and has informed state policy on vehicle electrification through his work with the California Air Resources Board. His input in the Select Committee on Climate Change supported legislative action to reduce emissions and improve air quality in California and the United States.

Glenn C. Yiu headshot, UC Davis faculty
Glenn C. Yiu

Glenn C. Yiu, professor, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine — Professor Yiu has energetically expanded access to ophthalmological services in underserved communities. He established and expanded a teleophthalmology program, which has screened more than 2,500 patients. He co-directed the Paul Hom Asian Clinic to provide free eye care to the local Asian community, and he obtained funding to support eye screening at UC Davis Health’s student-run community clinics. Professor Yiu has partnered with CommuniCare Health Centers to provide remote eye grading, and he has negotiated with Noridian, California’s Medicare contractor, to promote insurance coverage for teleretinal imaging. He has also lobbied policymakers to address barriers to remote eye screening.

Distinguished Teaching Awards: Undergraduate

Camelia Hostinar headshot, UC Davis faculty
Camelia Hostinar

Camelia E. Hostinar, associate professor, Department of Psychology, College of Letters and Science — Associate Professor Hostinar communicates complex material with clarity, inventiveness and infectious enthusiasm. She ensures students feel understood as individuals in large classes, even when teaching remotely. She links rigorous academic research to the real-world concerns of her students; for example, during the pandemic, she helped students understand their own experiences by exploring the relationship between stress and physical and mental health. Students who work in her lab engage with all levels of the research process, with many presenting their work at the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference. Students also benefit from her support in pursuing graduate work in their field, with 10 of her students being admitted into graduate programs in the past three years.

Brian Gaylord headshot, UC Davis faculty
Brian Gaylord

Brian Gaylord, professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences — An enthusiastic and passionate lecturer, Professor Gaylord creates a learning environment that supports students tackling difficult topics, together. He emphasizes critical thinking and understanding processes over memorization, and he engages students in effective and thought-provoking ways. All of this happens in the supportive, welcoming climate Professor Gaylord creates in his classrooms, and as his student nominators explain, he offers them the most personalized approach to student evaluation they have encountered at this university. For example, Professor Gaylord organized his EVE 120 class around a term paper of the student’s choice, providing individual written feedback at each step of the process, which helped students feel invested in the course and themselves.

Patrica Koehl headshot, UC Davis faculty
Patrica Koehl

Patrice Koehl, professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering — Professor Koehl is an exemplary teacher and mentor. As a member of the Department of Computer Science, he has built a catalog of popular and wide-ranging undergraduate classes, including “Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science” (ECS 020), “Computational Structural Biology” (ECS 129) and “Ethics in the Age of Technology” (ECS 188). His students appreciate his generosity with his time, and the long lines outside his office hours offer additional proof that he is a deeply engaged mentor. Finally, Professor Koehl engages in a variety of teaching-related outreach activities at other universities throughout the world, and he teaches high school students as a part of the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, or COSMOS.

Mona M. Monfared headshot, UC Davis faculty
Mona M. Monfared

Mona M. Monfared, associate professor of teaching, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences — Associate Professor of Teaching Monfared has positively impacted her undergraduate students and mentored many. Her innovative, active-learning approach emphasizes developing visual media to supplement traditional course material. She brings humor to her biochemistry course, making the class less daunting and the material more relatable for her students. During recent difficult circumstances on campus (e.g., wildfire smoke), she quickly adapted the learning environment by holding virtual office hours with YouTube livestreams. In the words of one of her students, “Professor Monfared’s innovation and dedication to teaching
has set a new bar for instructional excellence in our department and college.”

Distinguished Teaching Awards: Graduate and Professional

Stuart Meyers headshot, UC Davis faculty
Stuart Meyers

Stuart Meyers, professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine — Professor Meyers has shown long, outstanding commitment not only to his students and mentees, but also his peers and community. He has always been willing to step up and step in, exceeding both department and school average teaching loads, passionately delivering complex topics such as gamete fertilization and assisted reproductive technology through interactive and engaged means. He has an innate quality to motivate and support others to succeed and achieve their goals. Professor Meyers has and will continue to impact the careers and life trajectories of many students.

Christopher Simmons headshot, UC Davis faculty
Christopher Simmons

Christopher Simmons, professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences — Professor Simmons is an accomplished mentor and teacher whose contributions to graduate education go above and beyond. For example, his innovative teaching methods include engaging high-quality animated computer graphics and virtual reality headsets. Furthermore, he has mentored future professors on use of these technologically advanced pedagogical modalities, and he has conducted research on virtual learning approaches. He has launched graduates from his lab into careers across government, academia and industry.

Academic Federation

Daniel Wilson poses in front of world's largest centrifuge capable of simulating earthquake motions
Daniel Wilson, photographed at the Center for Geotechnical Modeling where he serves as the associate director, is the recipient of the James H. Meyer award for 2023. (Rishi Donapati/UC Davis)

James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award

Daniel Wilson, academic administrator, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering — He is the associate director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling, overseeing operation of the world’s largest centrifuge capable of simulating earthquake motions. In his 25-year career at UC Davis, he has contributed to seminal advances in the performance of civil infrastructure systems subject to multihazard loadings (seismic, tsunami, windstorm, flood and landslide). In addition to his contributions to the field, he supports the UC Davis mission through student mentorship and extensive campus service contributions.

Distinguished Service Award

Rebecca Stein-Wexler headshot, UC Davis faculty
Rebecca Stein-Wexler

Rebecca Stein-Wexler, health sciences clinical professor, Department of Radiology, School of Medicine — She has served as vice chair for education in the Department of Radiology for more than 10 years and director of the radiology residency program for 11 years, and is now chief of the Division of Pediatric Radiology. In addition to this distinguished record of service to UC Davis Health, she has worked extensively through radiology education and outreach to address global inequities in health care. In addition, she is the founding chief of the UC Davis Chapter of RadAid, an international nonprofit public service organization that brings radiology to the world, vice president of the UC Davis Chapter of Health4theWorld and director of global education and outreach in the Department of Radiology.

Excellence in Research Award

Christopher Lucchesi headshot, UC Davis project scientist
Christopher Lucchesi

Christopher Lucchesi, assistant project scientist, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine — He has made significant recent advancements in treatment potential for osteosarcoma cancers. Through modulation of cancer-relevant protein-protein interactions, he demonstrated an ability to make radio-resistant osteosarcoma cancers sensitive to radiation, potentially increasing survivability of both human and canine patients. He has secured multiple research grants, including the largest one-year UC Drug Discovery Consortium Seed Grant to date. His research, publications and grants are an impressive example of the quality of research conducted at UC Davis.

Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching or Mentoring Award

Danielle Harvey headshot, UC Davis faculty
Danielle Harvey

Danielle Harvey, adjunct professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine — She is recognized for an excellent teaching record, a broad teaching portfolio and effective mentoring of graduate students. Her contributions go beyond the classroom, as she serves on numerous Epidemiology and Nutritional Biology dissertation committees to provide statistical expertise and mentorship support. Her exceptional dedication to graduate student teaching and mentorship for 19 years has influenced many students’ success.

Pauline Holmes headshot, UC Davis faculty
Pauline Holmes

Pauline Holmes, continuing lecturer/supervisor of teacher education, School of Education — She is recognized for consistent excellence in teaching, leadership and innovation in teacher education for more than 31 years. As a liaison between administration, teacher education faculty and students, she has excelled at keeping everyone connected in an ever changing social and educational environment. Students admire her for her holistic approach and support as a mentor and a role model, which have helped her students become teacher leaders.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

Timothy Brelinski headshot, UC Davis faculty
Timothy Brelinski

Timothy Brelinski, continuing lecturer, Department of Classics, College of Letters and Science — He is recognized for excellence in teaching and continued curricular innovation of classics courses that are taken by approximately 15% of UC Davis undergraduates. He has mentored many students individually and in small groups to develop their understanding of classic texts. His consistently stellar teaching evaluations demonstrate his mastery of a broad spectrum of material that engages his students and elicits intellectual curiosity in his classroom.

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