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TRANSITIONS: Pickett Joins Academic Affairs

By Dateline Staff on December 5, 2017 in University

Quick Summary

  • She’s appointed associate vice provost for faculty equity and inclusion
  • Muir Institute names Sara L. Nichols as associate director of strategic initiatives

Cynthia L. Pickett, associate professor of psychology, has been named associate vice provost for faculty equity and inclusion, in Academic Affairs.

Cynthia Pickett mugshot

“Dr. Pickett brings a unique set of skills to Academic Affairs as a social scientist, a psychometrician, and an Academic Senate leader with years of service on the Affirmative Action and Diversity Committee,” Vice Provost Phil Kass said in announcing the appointment.

Pickett is the second person to serve as the associate vice provost for faculty equity and inclusion. Kass was the first, appointed by then-Vice Provost Maureen Stanton in 2013. With her retirement looming earlier this year, the university conducted a campuswide search and chose Kass as her successor, effective July 1.

Now Pickett is charged with providing leadership to achieve and sustain excellence, equity and diversity in the UC Davis faculty, in concert with other campus officials. 

She joined the UC Davis faculty as an associate professor in 2004. Her research interests include social identity, group perception, self-stereotyping, the self, social cognition, self-regulatory processes, social exclusion and intergroup relations.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Stanford University, then continued her education at Ohio State, earning a master’s in social psychology, and a Ph.D. in social psychology (major) and quantitative psychology (minor). She was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, for three years, and the University of Chicago for two years before joining UC Davis.

Muir Institute names strategic initiatives leader

The John Muir Institute of the Environment recently named Sara L. Nichols as associate director of strategic initiatives.

Sara Nichols mugshot

“Sara’s past work on California’s cap-and-trade market, coupled with her global leadership working on driving climate solutions overseas, marks her as extremely well positioned to help lead the Muir Institute into more of a global problem-solver for people and the planet,” said Ben Houlton, the director. “Sara brings tremendous positive energy and experience working at the interface of policy, industry and science.”

Nichols spent the last year in Berlin as a Transatlantic Fellow for the Robert Bosch Foundation, working as a consultant to the German Federation of Industries and Adelphi Research on topics including climate diplomacy, international energy policy and emissions trading.

Before that she worked as an air pollution specialist for the California Air Resources Board for more than four years, specializing in program development and allowance allocation for the California Cap-and-Trade Program, dealing with greenhouse gas emissions.

Besides leading large-scale interdisciplinary research and outreach initiatives, she will foster external relationships in support of fund diversification, assist in the management of larger development activities, and oversee external and internal advisory boards.

Nichols received a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara and went on to receive a master’s degree in environmental economics and policy from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

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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