IN THIS COLUMN
- Kelly Kissock, director, Energy and Efficiency Institute; and professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
- Erum Abbasi Syed, assistant dean, Graduate Studies, and chief of staff to the vice provost and dean
- Janet Napolitano and Santa J. Ono, outgoing leader and incoming leader, respectively, University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3
The Energy and Efficiency Institute announced that Kelly Kissock will join UC Davis in July as the institute’s director and faculty director, with additional appointments as a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and to the Chevron Endowed Chair in Energy Efficiency.
Kissock is coming here from the University of Dayton, where he served as a professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, director of the Renewable and Clean Energy graduate program, and the Industrial Assessment Center. He also served as the director of Ohio Lean Buildings, run by the university’s Building Energy Center.
The UC Davis institute accelerates the development and commercialization of sustainable energy solutions and trains future leaders in energy.
“We are thrilled to have Kelly join and lead our institute,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research. “He is an internationally recognized leader in energy efficiency, who brings deep expertise and skills that will be invaluable to building upon UC Davis’ success in these areas.”
Kissock said: “Everyone in our field has been influenced by the institute’s pathbreaking research in water, lighting, cooling and transportation efficiency.
“It is a particularly eventful time to join the institute as California embarks on the second phase of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030. The institute and UC Davis will help lead this transition by engaging students, faculty and partners in solving the most difficult challenges with the greatest impacts. I look forward to working with everyone on these important opportunities.”
Erum Abbasi Syed has moved from her administrative post in the College of Letters and Science to Graduate Studies, where she serves as assistant dean and chief of staff to Vice Provost and Dean Jean-Pierre Delplanque.
As assistant dean, Abbasi Syed will manage Graduate Studies operations, including the unit’s pending move to the Graduate Center at Walker Hall, which will open upon completion of the hall’s renovation. Graduate Studies has a 50-person team serving more than 6,000 graduate students, 1,000 postdoctoral scholars, and faculty and staff in nearly 100 graduate programs.
Abbasi Syed joined UC Davis and the College of Letters and Science in 2013. She served as a chief administrative officer, leading the operations and administration of the departments of Anthropology and Sociology, as well as the Middle East/South Asia Studies and Languages program.
She has participated in several campuswide committees and initiatives, such as the Staff Diversity Administrative Advisory Committee and the 2014 Working Group on Diversity and Inclusivity. She received a Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award in 2019 and a Worklife Champion Award in 2017.
Before joining UC Davis, she served as assistant director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Denver and an MBA from California State University, Sacramento.
As Janet Napolitano prepares to step down as UC president later this summer, she is already turning over leadership of the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, to Santa J. Ono, president of the University of British Columbia, who will take over June 30.
Napolitano spearheaded the formation and launch of UC3 in February 2018. UC3, an organization of leading North American research universities working together to accelerate local and regional climate action, has since grown from its original 13 member institutions to 22.
“President Ono and the University of British Columbia have been leaders within UC3 since its formation, so this is a natural transition that will build on the strong foundation we have established,” Napolitano said. “I am confident that President Ono’s leadership will take the coalition to new heights as research universities continue to pursue urgent climate research and solutions that will help secure a sustainable future for our communities.”
The leadership transition comes at an important moment for UC3, which recently launched its 2020-25 Strategic Plan. Over the past two years, UC3 has convened thousands of university leaders, elected officials, policymakers, philanthropists and advocates in two dozen community forums across the U.S., Mexico and Canada to discuss on-the-ground climate solutions.
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