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TRANSITIONS: New Directors, New Chief, New Counsel

By Dateline Staff on September 8, 2017 in University News

Katharina Ullmann, a UC Davis alumna, has been appointed director of the Student Farm, succeeding Mark Van Horn, who retired in June after 30 years in the position.

The Student Farm is part of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, which had this to say in an ASI Blog post: “Ullmann’s rich 13-year background in sustainable agriculture research and experiential education will provide excellent leadership for the farm’s 20 acres of organic vegetable, fruit and flower production, its campus food security efforts, and its diverse learning opportunities.”

Ullmann received a Ph.D. in entomology from UC Davis in 2014 and most recently served as the national crop pollination specialist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, where she led efforts to help farmers ensure successful crop pollination.

Katharina Ullmann mugshot

Her professional background includes pollinator research experiments in collaboration with citizen scientists and growers, environmental education programs for K-12 students, mentoring undergraduates, and five years of farming in the United States and Austria.

In her new role, Ullmann said, “I’d like to foster an environment that continues to support student initiative and sustainable agriculture and food systems. I’m stepping in to a strong and motivated community of learners and doers, and I’m excited to be part of that team.”

The Student Farm’s Fall Welcome event, Tuesday, Oct. 3, provides an opportunity to see the farm, learn about sustainability initiatives around campus and meet the new director. Send an email to Aubrey Thompson to receive Fall Welcome announcements.

Kent Pinkerton mugshot

Professor Kent Pinkerton has moved up to director of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, succeeding Marc Schenker, distinguished professor of medicine and public health in the School of Medicine, who retired June 30.

Pinkerton has faculty appointments in pediatrics at the School of Medicine, and in anatomy, physiology and cell biology in the School of Veterinary Medicine. He is the director of the Center for Health and the Environment, and the associate director of the Environmental Health Sciences Center.

He served as the associate director of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety for 15 years before becoming the director.

He is a specialist in the respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological effects of inhaled environmental air pollutants. He has conducted a number of studies in the San Joaquin Valley to better understand how airborne particles in the agricultural setting contribute to the development of lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD.

He is now studying which agricultural practices pose the greatest risk to farmers and farmworkers from inhaling particulate matter.

Read more about Pinkerton.

Kimberley McAllister mugshot

Professor Kimberley McAllister’s appointment is now permanent as the director of the Center for Neuroscience. She had been serving as the interim director since October, when she stepped in for Cameron Carter upon his being named the interim vice chancellor for research.

The Center for Neuroscience fosters interdisciplinary research into understanding brain function in health and illness. Research findings contribute to health improvements and new therapies for disease.

McAllister had served as the center’s associate director since July 2013 prior to becoming the director (and, by the way, she is the first woman to hold the post). She has faculty appointments in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences; and the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine.

She joined UC Davis in 2000 as an assistant professor and has been affiliated with the Center for Neuroscience since starting her independent research. She seeks to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern the formation, stabilization and refinement of connections among neurons in the central nervous system. She is particularly interested in understanding how experience and environmental exposures affect brain development and plasticity, the ability of the brain to modify its own structure and function.

Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences, described McAllister as “an outstanding scientist of international stature who has been recognized with a long list of prestigious awards.” Dean Winey cited McAllister’s “remarkable track record of leadership” as the center’s associate director, and said she possesses “unique creativity, passion for innovation and discovery, and focus on interdisciplinary collaboration to understand and improve brain health.”

Read more about McAllister.

Shondella Reed mugshot

Senior counsel Shondella Reed from the UC Office of the President has joined the Office of the Campus Counsel for the 2017-18 academic year.

Mike Sweeney, interim chief campus counsel, said Reed is on loan from the general counsel’s office at UC headquarters. “She is well regarded around the UC system for her outstanding legal mind, and we are very happy to have her here,” Sweeney said.

Reed is a member of the general counsel’s labor and employment practice group, focusing on labor-management relations, compensation issues, personnel policies, diversity initiatives, discrimination claims, compliance, and management training. She also represents the university before state and federal administrative agencies.

At UC Davis, in addition to supporting the campus counsel’s office on employment matters, Reed has a broad portfolio that includes student affairs, graduate studies and athletics; diversity and inclusion; and freedom of expression. 

“She will support us with her great legal skills, while also getting valuable campus/hands-on experience that she wouldn’t normally get at the Office of the General Counsel,” Sweeney said.

Reed earned her undergraduate and law degrees at UCLA. Prior to joining the UC Office of the General Counsel, she was an associate with Jones Day in San Francisco and Littler Mendelson in Las Vegas, representing public and private sector employers in labor and employment matters.

Two men standing together, holding badge
Farrow, left, receives his badge from Chancellor May.

Joseph A. Farrow is on the job as the new chief of the UC Davis Police Department. He comes to UC Davis after leading the California Highway Patrol for 9½ years.

Chancellor Gary S. May swore in Farrow in a private ceremony Aug. 28. A public swearing-in event will take place in the next few weeks.

UC Davis announced Farrow’s appointment on July 25. Then-Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter made the selection in coordination with May, who would take office a week later.

Farrow graduated from the CHP Academy in 1979 and had led the agency since 2008 under Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown. 

As the UC Davis chief of police, Farrow has oversight of more than 80 full-time employees and 50 student employees on both the Davis and Sacramento campuses. 

He succeeds Matt Carmichael, who served as police chief for five years before retiring last September. Lt. Jennifer Garcia served as the interim chief prior to Farrow’s arrival.

Read more about Farrow.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Content provider Cody Kitaura can be reached at 530-752-1932 or