UC Davis today (May 16) announced the appointment of Professor Phil Kass as vice provost of Academic Affairs, succeeding the retiring Maureen Stanton, effective July 1.
Kass, a faculty member in the School of Veterinary Medicine for 27 years, has been working under Vice Provost Stanton since 2013, when he took the then-new position of associate vice provost for faculty equity and inclusion. In addition, he is a committee member with the UC Davis ADVANCE initiative, which works to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.
Stanton is wrapping up a 35-year career at UC Davis. She joined the faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor and eventually moved up to chair of the Department of Evolution and Ecology before taking the vice provost’s job on Jan. 1, 2012.
“In conducting our campus search for Mau’s replacement, we determined Associate Vice Provost Kass to be an ideal candidate,” said Ralph J. Hexter, interim chancellor. “He is an outstanding campus citizen, well respected in our academic community. And he shows daily how he applies his experience and passion to recruiting and advancing an increasingly diverse faculty.”
Kass came to campus as a freshman in 1976 and has earned five UC Davis degrees: bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in veterinary medicine; Master of Science in statistics; and Ph.D. in comparative pathology/epidemiology. He did post-doctoral work in environmental epidemiology in the UCLA School of Public Health.
A faculty member since 1990, he is the recipient of his school’s Faculty Teaching Award (2009-10) and two Outstanding Faculty Awards from the Graduate Group in Epidemiology. He is the author or co-author of more than 500 published papers, and also has written or co-written several book chapters.
A statistician in research and in Academic Affairs
Kass is a former chair of the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, where he specializes in quantitative epidemiology in companion animals — that is, analyzing data to identify factors that contribute to disease.
“You can adapt these same statistical methods to anything,” said Kass, which is exactly what he has been doing in Academic Affairs. He analyzes data to identify factors in faculty promotions, for example, and examines faculty salaries to gather information for a salary equity program that he and Vice Provost Stanton developed in conjunction with the Academic Senate.
In addition, his work in Academic Affairs and with ADVANCE and other hiring initiatives has contributed to increased diversity in the faculty ranks, in terms of both gender and ethnicity.
Kass, who oversees faculty hiring, does not normally meet with candidates, but he and his staff developed a brochure that serves as a good “sales” tool for getting candidates to say “yes.” The brochure touts UC Davis Work-Life, “a family-friendly program to enhance careers in our academic community” — covering such topics as stopping the tenure clock for the birth, adoption or placement of a child (approved automatically for the primary caregiver); and faculty work-life advisors.
And, if a dean asks for his help in the latter stages of a recruitment, Kass the five-time UC Davis graduate is more than happy to promote “this amazing place” with such diverse expertise — in medicine, nursing, law, veterinary medicine, education, management, engineering, agriculture, the sciences and the humanities. “Where else can you find all of that in one place?” he asked.