IN THIS COLUMN
- Milmon Harrison, Office of Undergraduate Education
- Michael T. Brown, Office of the President
- Donna Shestowsky, School of Law
- Ashutosh Bhagwat, School of Law
Milmon Harrison, associate professor of African American and African Studies, took up a new role Jan. 1 as associate dean for academic programs in Undergraduate Education. His new portfolio includes serving as faculty director of the University Honors Program and providing academic leadership for the Undergraduate Research Center and the First-Year Seminars program.
Previous to his appointment in Undergraduate Education, he served as an associate dean in Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies in the College of Letters and Science.
He is a UC Davis alumnus, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, with highest honors and departmental citation, in 1994, becoming a first-generation college graduate. He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology at UC Santa Barbara.
He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1998, first serving as a lecturer in African American and African Studies and the departments of Religious Studies and Sociology for three years before joining the professorial ranks in 2000. He served as chair of African American and African Studies from 2008 to 2011.
Harrison brings a long history of recognized excellence in teaching, mentorship and leadership to this position, including with the programs he is now leading.
This spring he will teach an honors course on the history of the Black presence in California’s Central Valley, his current research focus. He has taught honors seminars on topics ranging from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Second Life, conducting the latter course in the virtual reality platform being studied.
His connection with the Undergraduate Research Center goes even deeper: As a UC Davis undergraduate, he presented at one of the center’s earliest annual conferences.
A critical part of his new position is providing leadership in advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. He has been highly recognized for his contributions in this area, most recently being named the inaugural recipient of the Ralph Aldredge Faculty Excellence Award, given by the UC Davis African Continuum (2021), and having been selected as one of the first faculty members to receive a Chancellor’s Fellowship for DEI (2020).
“I’m so excited to build with Dr. Harrison in UE,” said Cynthia Carter Ching, interim vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education. “His trajectory and his story will be so inspiring to our students, and he has a proven track record of working with faculty across the university. Our UE academic programs are in good hands.”
While the campus has increased its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in recent years, these issues have been at the forefront throughout Harrison’s 20-year teaching career.
“From my courses’ subject matter and content to the ways in which I have introduced storytelling and other inclusive pedagogical interventions, I am intentional about making sure my classroom is a space where all feel welcome and heard, while they learn about the experiences of communities to which they may have never been exposed,” he said. “It’s what I do every day.”
Michael T. Brown plans to step down as systemwide provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs, at the end of this academic year, according to an announcement from President Michael V. Drake.
The president shared the news “with mixed emotions and deep gratitude,” saying Brown “has contributed significantly to the university in myriad ways” in his nearly five years as provost.
“Under his leadership, we developed UC’s 2030 goals with a particular focus on closing equity gaps, growing and diversifying the professoriate, and growing and diversifying the graduate student body as part of advancing inclusive excellence,” Drake said.
During the pandemic, Drake said, Brown has played a vital role in effectively coordinating with the UC academic community, on critical elements of the university’s response, including the switch to remote education.
Prior to joining the Office of the President, Brown served on the faculty in the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology at UC Santa Barbara for more than 28 years, rising to the rank of full professor.
He had been the dean of UC Santa Barbara Extension for more than 12 years when then-President Janet Napolitano selected him in 2017 to be the systemwide provost.
Drake said he has asked Brown to stay on as senior advisor to the president for a period of time following this academic year, in part to continue leading some critical projects. They include overseeing the implementation of the university’s repatriation policy and other priorities related to supporting Native American students and communities.
Drake said his office will soon launch a national search for Brown’s successor.
The Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution recently elected Donna Shestowsky, professor of law and a Martin Luther King Jr. Research Scholar, as the section chair. She will take office in 2023 after a year of service as the chair-elect.
Shestowsky, who has a law degree and a Ph.D. in psychology, teaches courses in negotiation strategy and alternative dispute resolution as well as criminal law, and a seminar in legal psychology. She received the law school’s Distinguished Teaching Award for 2017.
The board of governors of the California Independent System Operator, or ISO, recently elected law professor Ashutosh Bhagwat as the board chair for 2022. The ISO is a public benefit corporation responsible for running the high-voltage electricity grid in California.
Bhagwat is serving his third term on the board, after being appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow board members, the ISO’s team and our stakeholders and partners to extend the day-ahead market, support the state’s carbon-free goals while maintaining grid reliability, and providing excellent customer service,” he said in a news release.
Bhagwat, a widely published scholar in constructional law, holds the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality. He is also Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law.
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