Provost Croughan: Fall welcome and updates

Provost Croughan: Fall welcome and updates

Dear Colleagues,

It is a great joy to begin the 2023-2024 academic year with you. Welcome back to our returning faculty and staff, and welcome to all of the new members of our campus. It is such a pleasure to see more people on campus with the feeling of fall in the cool morning air. 

As we begin this academic year, full of hope and excitement for what is to come, I am inspired by your passion, ambition, innovation, and enthusiasm. You are the reason UC Davis recently ranked 6th among U.S. public universities and also earned accolades for social mobility, public service and research. Thank you for all you do each day to further our teaching, research, and public service missions.

I am excited to share several updates with you, so grab a nice cup of tea or coffee and a seat in the CoHo, and settle in for a bit.

Several teams of faculty, staff, and students made great progress over the summer on important campus initiatives, and momentum remains strong going into the fall quarter. I want to thank everyone involved in these task forces and committees that are addressing pressing challenges, charting a path to a more sustainable future for UC Davis, and identifying ways we can elevate excellence across the campus. 

Members of the Sustaining Teaching and Research Task Force (START) met throughout the summer, and three of its six committees (graduate education, undergraduate education, and research) have also started their important work. START’s charge is to recommend specific actions that will bring about substantive improvements to our education, research, and service models, thereby enhancing our ability to fulfill our mission at the highest levels of achievement. Look for regular updates on START’s progress as well as town halls and other opportunities where you can share your input. Feedback for the task force also can be submitted to START through the website at any time.  

The Student Success and Equitable Outcomes Task Force launched in January 2023. Among that group’s charges are optimizing the campus’s approach to student achievement, retention, and equitable outcomes, and recommending programs and initiatives specific to the needs of our undergraduates. This task force is considering its first round of committee recommendations; recommendations will be sent to me and onto the Academic Senate for consultation as appropriate. 

The Revenue Generation and Institutional Savings Task Force, formed in May 2022, shared its final report over the summer. Nearly 2,000 ideas submitted through the IDEA$ at Work campaign were evaluated by committees in the spring and are now being considered for implementation. 

A campus steering committee is preparing for reaffirmation of our campus accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Senior College and University Commission, commonly referred to as WASC. The accreditation review will take place under the guidelines for a Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation, with two themes: the 2020 Initiative and Student Success and Equitable Outcomes. Information can be found at, and details on campus presentations, outreach and accreditation site visits will be shared in the coming months. 

Many thanks to all the task force and committee members for their dedication and hard work, as well as to the campus for your support and insights. As recommendations and results come forward, we will provide updates and seek your feedback.  

I recently shared a high-level, five-minute video created by the Budget and Institutional Analysis team that provides an overview of the campus budget. In a clear and simple manner, it explains our core funds structural deficit, and how it compounds each year. For reference, our current accumulated core funds deficit is $76 million. Thanks to the cooperation of administrative units, we identified more than $40 million in carryforward funds to help mitigate the deficit. I will continue communicating about the work we are doing to decrease the deficit and support the long-term fiscal outlook for our campus—and how you can help with this important work. 

With this bigger picture in mind, I recognize the challenges that some of you are facing in your classes and laboratories due to increasing labor costs. I want to reiterate the central administration’s commitment to help offset the costs resulting from last year’s new labor contracts. We will continue to prioritize the vibrant teaching and research enterprises on our campus. 

As we did in the spring and summer this past year, we will provide specific financial support to colleges and schools through spring quarter 2024 for the following: 

  • To fund the $10 million increase in salary and benefit costs for Academic Student Employees beginning from spring 2023 through spring 2024
  • To share the estimated $12-14 million cost increase in partnership with schools and colleges to fund new salary and benefit costs for academic researchers, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars 

For details on how we are sharing the costs, and the available funding, please refer to the message I sent to faculty in February. We know that shared funding between central campus, colleges, schools, units, and faculty is only a preliminary measure, and we are working to develop longer term solutions through the START Task Force.

Graduate Studies conducted seven workshops and held several meetings with small groups of faculty and staff to address questions regarding fall contract implementation for Academic Student Employees (ASEs), Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs), and Postdoctoral Scholars. Additionally, the Graduate Studies Student Financial Support team hosted workshops in July, August, and September regarding changes for GSR trainee/fellow positions that go into effect October 1, 2023. Graduate Studies has information available on their website about the new bargaining agreements, including frequently asked questionsforms, and resources. Questions can be sent to

Cybersecurity and Safety
Each fall, Information and Educational Technology sees an increase in cybersecurity attacks, and email is the most common cause. According to a report issued by IBM this year, the average cost [worldwide] for an organization that experienced a data breach was $4.45 million in 2023, an increase of 15 percent over the last three years. Please read IET’s latest technology update, with tips on protecting your information, and learn how to spot a scam.  

All faculty, staff, and students are strongly encouraged to register for WarnMe and Aggie Alert, a service that provides timely information during emergencies and urgent situations. Members of the UCD community can register online and enroll in alerts by campus location. More information is available on the WarnMe webpage

Leadership Updates
Several announcements were made during the summer, including those below, which you can find on the Provost’s Messages page.

  • Julie Greenwood will join us from Arizona State University on October 16 as the new dean of Continuing and Professional Education, stepping in for Dean Susan Catron, who is retiring.
  • Jeremy Ganter was named interim executive director for the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts to replace Executive Director Don Roth, who retired in August.
  • University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith retired in June and Bill Garrity was named interim university librarian on July 1. 
  • Cynthia Carter Ching stepped in as interim dean for the School of Education while a search to replace Dean Lauren Lindstrom continues. Professor Lindstrom will return to the faculty in 2024 following a one-year sabbatical. 
  • UC Center Sacramento Director Richard Kravitz announced he will step down and return full-time to the faculty in the School of Medicine on June 30, 2024, after more than a decade leading the center. The search for a new Director will begin soon.
  • Jason Stewart was selected as the permanent assistant executive vice chancellor and chief of staff in the Office of the Provost. 
  • Joanna Johnson, inaugural leader for the Writing Center in the Office of Undergraduate Education, joined UC Davis on July 1. The Writing Center is located in the Teaching and Learning Complex

Support Resources
As a reminder, UC Davis offers many resources for our faculty, staff, and students. New beginnings can be exciting but also can cause stress. No matter what you are experiencing, if you need help, please reach out to the Academic and Staff Assistance Program for mental health support. 

If you interact with a student who needs mental health support, please refer them to the Aggie Mental Health website. Should they need other resources, such as housing, food or financial assistance, Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center offers services. 

Thank you again for helping to transform lives through teaching, research, and public service. UC Davis is known as a world-class university because of you, and I look forward to seeing where our collective ambition, creativity, and talents take us this year. Go Ags!

All the best,

Mary Croughan
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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