The Future of the Public University

The University of California is in the midst of one of the most critical periods in its history. For the past several years especially, the 10 UC campuses have faced extremely difficult choices as they attempt to cope with sharply diminished funding from the State of California. Inevitably, determining the right ways to respond to this more-austere economic climate has proved a formidable task—as well as a source of passionate debate within the UC system and beyond. At the center of the debate is the question of what the University of California—and any public university—should and can be in the 21st century.

Since the campus events on and around November 18, 2011, the topic has assumed a special relevance, and urgency, for UC Davis. In response, the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor have committed to facilitating an inclusive and productive dialogue on the future of the public university. As part of this commitment, the two offices have established this webpage in support of lectures, panels, forums, and other campus events designed by, or offered for the benefit of, the UC Davis community.

All interested schools, colleges, departments, and campus groups are encouraged to contribute to this crucial dialogue. Limited assistance in event publicity, organization, and/or funding is available from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor—requests are invited.  Additional opportunities to participate or help shape this larger campus dialogue are available through The Provost’s Forums on the Public University and the Social Good (see description below).

Upcoming Campus Events

Videos of Past Events


The Provost’s Forums on the Public University and the Social Good

To complement other campus efforts, the Office of the Provost has established a new speaker series entitled The Provost’s Forums on the Public University and the Social Good.

This series is aimed at furthering awareness and dialogue on this important topic within and beyond the university community, and also at exploring the potential to make UC Davis a center for the study of the role of the public university in contemporary society.

For the 2015-16 academic year, there will be approximately six public presentations by expert speakers, plus associated events. The series is overseen by the Office of the Provost in cooperation with the university’s Center for Regional Change.

The forums will address a range of fundamental questions, including:

  • What is the role of the public university (including its character, purposes, tasks, etc.) today?
  • What will the role of the public university be in the future?
  • Are current organizational arrangements in public universities suited for its present and future functions and responsibilities?
  • Are the financial challenges faced by public universities, domestically and globally, more than just an issue of budget allocation? Are they also a symptom of a larger crisis facing public higher education?

The central aim of the Provost’s Forums is to engage questions such as these in a series of public lectures plus related events, including workshops and classroom visits.

Events have now been scheduled for the 2015-16 academic year. All interested members of the UC Davis community are urged to suggest one or more speakers for the 2016-17 academic year. For more information, see the "Call for Proposed Speakers."


The Provost’s Forums on the Public University and the Social Good

Calendar of Events 2015-16

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

“Universities, Hospitals and the Social Mission”

Julie A. Freischlag, Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and Dean of UC Davis School of

Glenn Richard Olds, Founding Dean of UC Riverside School of Medicine and President of St. George’s University

Lecture: 3 to 5:00 p.m., Kalmonovitz Appellate Courtroom, King Hall; Reception: 5 to 5:30 p.m., King Hall Courtyard

Monday, February 8, 2016

“The Great Mistake: How Private-Sector Models Damage Public Universities and How They Can Recover”

Christopher Newfield, Professor of Literature and American Studies University of California, Santa Barbara

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center, Reception 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room Patio, Student Community Center

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Christopher Kelty, Professor at University of California, Los Angeles with a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, Department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m. AGR Room, Alumni Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., AGR Room

Monday, May 2, 2016

“New Research Methods for Critically Engaging the Equity Question in Higher Education”

Estela Mara Bensimon, Professor and Director, Center for Urban Education, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center, Reception 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room Patio, Student Community Center

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cristina Gonzalez, Professor of Education, Spanish, and Portuguese at the University of California, Davis

Liliana Pedraja, Ph.D. in Science Education, M.S. in Science Education, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Ph.D. in Business Administration, M.A. in Management and Marketing, Polytechnic University of Valencia

Lecture: 3 to 5 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center, Reception 5 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room Patio, Student Community Center

Calendar of Events 2014–15

(Note: Some times and locations are subject to change. Additional events will be added as they are confirmed.) 

Thursday, October 9, 2014:

“STEM, Immigration, and Controversy: Does the U.S. Have Enough STEM Workers?”

Michael S. Teitelbaum, Senior Research Associate, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

Lecture: 4 to 5:30 p.m., Kalmonovitz Appellate Courtroom, King Hall; Reception: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., King Hall Courtyard

Thursday, November 20, 2014:

“Keeping Track of One’s Moral Compass Despite Pressures to Lose It: How a Public University Can Maintain Its Integrity”

Haavi Morreim, Professor of Human Values and Ethics, University of Tennessee

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

(This lecture is a part of a larger conference that will take place at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. It will be streamed live to that conference.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015:

"Diversity and the University of California: Is It Possible?"

Patricia Gándara, Research Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences, UCLA, and Gary Orfield, Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science, and Urban Planning, UCLA

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

Friday, March 6, 2015:

"Rescuing Biomedical Research: The Path Ahead"

Bruce Alberts, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UC San Francisco

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

Thursday, April 16, 2015:

"How disruptive can we be? Intended and unintended effects of changing academic practices"

Alessandro Duranti, Dean of Social Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

Wednesday, May 20, 2015:

"The End of the Corporate University: What We Are Now"

Wendy Brown, Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

Calendar of Events 2013–14

12.2.13:

“Opportunity, Meritocracy, and Access to Higher Education”

Caroline Hoxby, Professor of Economics, Stanford University, and Director of the Economics of Education Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

1.22.14:

“Access and Affordability: A Student and Faculty Perspective”

Ann Stevens, Professor and Chair, Department of Economics, UC Davis, and Chair, UC Davis Study Group on Accessibility and Affordability

Lecture and Student Panel: 4:30 to 6 p.m., MU II, Memorial Union; Reception: 6 to 7 p.m., MU II, Memorial Union

2.13.14:

“Open Access, Cooperation, and Commons: The (Uncertain) Retreat of Possessive Individualism in Networked Society”

Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies, Harvard Law School, and Co-Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Lecture: 4 to 6 p.m., Alpha Gamma Rho Room, UC Davis Alumni Center; Reception: 6 to 7 p.m., Tower Lobby, UC Davis Alumni Center

2.21.14:

“The University and the Public Good: What Should We Be Doing on Climate Change?”

Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

3.14.14:

“The Constitutional Dimensions of Academic Freedom”   

Robert Post, Dean, Yale School of Law

Panelists: Henry Reichman, Professor Emeritus of History, CSU East Bay, First Vice President of the AAUP, and Chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure; Roberta Rehm, Associate Professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at UC San Francisco; and Ralph J. Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of UC Davis.

Lecture and Panel: 2 to 4 p.m., Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center; Reception: 4 to 5 p.m., Yoche Dehe Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center

4.4.14:

“The Humanities and the Common Good”   

Speakers: David Marshall, Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UC Santa Barbara; and William Ladusaw, Dean of Humanities and Professor of Linguistics at UC Santa Cruz.

Panelists: Margaret Ferguson, President of the Modern Language Association and Distinguished Professor of English at UC Davis; Christopher Reynolds, President of the American Musicological Society and Professor of Music at UC Davis; and Ralph J. Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Distinguished Professor of Classics & Comparative Literature at UC Davis.

Presentations and Panel: 4 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

4.22.14

“Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California”

Based on the forthcoming book of the same title from Stanford University Press.

Presenters/chapter authors: Steven Casper, Henry E. Riggs Professor of Management, Keck Graduate Institute; Christophe Lécuyer, Professor of the History of Science and Technology, Université Pierre et Marie Curie; Cyrus Mody, Associate Professor of History, Rice University; Daniel Sumner, Frank H. Buck, Junior Professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; and Mary Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs and Dean of the Extension, UC San Diego.

Introducers/book editors: Martin Kenney, Professor of Human and Community Development, UC Davis, and Senior Project Director at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy; and David C. Mowery, William A. & Betty H. Hasler Professor of New Enterprise Development at the Walter A. Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.

Discussants: Sean Randolph, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute; David Hodges, Daniel M. Tellep Distinguished Professor of Engineering Emeritus, UC Berkeley; Mario Biagioli, Distinguished Professor of Law and Science & Technology Studies, UC Davis; William Lacy, Vice Provost of University Outreach and International Programs and Professor of Human Ecology, UC Davis; and Andrew Hargadon, Charles J. Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship, Graduate School of Management, UC Davis.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Presentations and Discussion: 1 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:20 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

5.7.14

“Diversity’s Promise for Excellence in a Pluralistic Society: The Public University and the Common Good”   

Daryl Smith, Senior Research Fellow and Professor Emerita of Education and Psychology at the Claremont Graduate University.

Panelists: Kevin Johnson, Dean of the UC Davis School of Law, and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest law and Chicana/o Studies; and Maureen Stanton, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Evolution and Ecology, UC Davis.

Lecture and Panel: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center.

6.2.14

“The Public University and the Social Good: UC Davis Student Views”

Davis Honors Challenge (DHC) students Andrea Jao, Jack Killion, Michael Rogers, Susan Rowe, Megan Sabbah, and Jack Taylor will discuss UC Davis student views on “the public university and the social good,” gleaned from an online survey, a focus group, and one-on-one interviews conducted spring quarter.

Panelists Adela de la Torre, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies, and Director of the Center for Transnational Health, UC Davis; and Ann Huff Stevens, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, and Director of the Center for Poverty Research, UC Davis, will join the DHC teams after their presentation to discuss the implications of their findings and respond to audience questions. The student presenters will be introduced by their DHC professor, Dr. Nesrin Sarigul-Klijn, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Director of the Space Engineering Research and Graduate Program (SpaceED), UC Davis.

Presentation and Panel Discussion: 4 to 5:15 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 5:15 to 6 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center.

Calendar of Events 2012–13

10.12.12:

“Universities in Crisis: A Global Perspective”

Michael Burawoy, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

“Opening Remarks” by Ralph J. Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, UC Davis

2.8.13:

“The Past and Future of the Innovative University”

Roger Geiger, Distinguished Professor of Education, The Pennsylvania State University

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

2.22.13:

“Making the ‘People’s University’: Exploring the Civic Mission of Public Land Grant Universities and Cooperative Extension”

Lawrence Busch, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Co-Director, Center for the Study of Standards in Society, Michigan State University. Presentation title: “Land Grant Universities: Market Good or Civic Good?”

Rose Hayden-Smith, Strategic Initiative Leader, Sustainable Food Systems; 4-H Youth, Family and Community Development Advisor; and Food and Society Policy Fellow, University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura County. Presentation title: “Growing Community: 100 Years of Extension Work in California Gardens”

James Lapsley, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, and Chair, Department of Science, Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis Extension. Presentation title: “We Are Both Hosts: Napa Valley, UC Davis, and the Search for Quality”

Scott J. Peters, Professor of Cultural Foundations of Education and Co-Director of Imagining America, Syracuse University. Presentation title: “Extension Reconsidered”

Symposium Lectures: 1:10 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

3.7.13:

“Contested Politics of Knowledge in the Public University”

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University 

George Lipsitz, Professor of Sociology and Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Ken Reardon, Professor and Director, City and Regional Planning graduate program, University of Memphis

Symposium Lectures: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Closing Keynote and Reception: 5 to 7 p.m., Davis Odd Fellows Hall

4.17.13

“Challenges and Opportunities for Public Research Universities in Brazil”

Carlos H. de Brito Cruz, Professor, Physics Institute, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP); Scientific Director, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

5.8.13

“From Mandalay to Memorial Union: How Public Universities Keep Dreams Alive”

Allan E. Goodman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Institute of International Education

Lecture: 4 to 5 p.m., AGR Room, Alumni & Visitors Center; Reception: 5 to 6 p.m., Moss Patio, Alumni and Visitors Center

6.5.13:

“Faculty Labor Markets: Structural Challenges and Cyclical Shocks”

Sarah Turner, University Professor of Economics and Education, University of Virginia

Lecture: 4 to 5:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center; Reception: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center


To learn more about upcoming Provost's Forums or to access videos and other materials from past ones, see Upcoming Campus Events or Videos of Past Events.