Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Rector Visits UC Davis in California

The original article appeared on the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile website and below is an English translation.

"Our university has been collaborating with UC Davis in several fields and coordinating academic exchanges for more than 20 years. UC Davis is a member of U21 and a leader in veterinary medicine and agricultural sciences. This connection has grown even stronger in recent years. Rector Ignacio Sánchez traveled with his wife Dr. Salesa Barja to the University of California, Davis, to hold a series of meetings with the directors of this North American institution. The goal of the meetings was to assess the current relationship and joint work being pursued by both institutions in various departments and also to strengthen opportunities for continuing the internationalization of UC. 

They were warmly received at the University of California, Davis on Wednesday by Provost Ralph Hexter who is in charge of the academic guidance of the institution, and Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor for Global Affairs, Professor Joanna Regulska, who has led the international development of the university in recent years.

The purpose of the first meeting was to analyze the current and future relationship between the two institutions in the various areas in which academic work is jointly pursued. It is important to note the growing links among the various knowledge areas and the key collaboration between the two universities. Afterward they visited the Robert Mondavi Institute, which is a cutting-edge teaching and research institute that is home to the Departments of Viticulture and Oenology, Food Science and Technology, sensory facilities and a food innovation kitchen. They were welcomed by the director, Professor Andrew Waterhouse.

From there Rector and Doctor Barja met with the Dean of the School of Law, Professor Kevin R. Johnson. Together they reviewed the international exchange program between the two schools. They next met with Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor Regulska who was accompanied by Professor Michael Lazzara, the Associate Vice Provost of Academic Programs in Global Affairs. This office is tasked with coordinating the academic exchange that takes place between the two education centers. Their directors have visited our university twice in recent years. On Wednesday at midday they met with Chancellor Gary S. May and his wife LeShelle May. Provost Hexter and Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor Regulska were also in attendance. Together they assessed the status of academic collaboration between the two universities. Upon the meeting's close, they had a convivial lunch accompanied by the University's Steering Committee, the Vice Chancellors, and deans and directors from a range of academic departments at UC Davis.

In the afternoon, the Rector met with the Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor Prasant Mohapatra in order to review the joint projects in the fields of veterinary medicine and sciences. Near the end of the day, they went with UC Professor Fernando Mardones to visit the School of Veterinary Medicine and meet with Dean Michael D. Lairmore, who had visited our university last year. They took the opportunity to sign a collaboration agreement for developing our nascent veterinary medicine degree program. Its undergraduate courses will begin in March of next year.

The next day began with a meeting at the UC Davis Global Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, headed by its Faculty Director Lovell "Tu" Jarvis in which the center's professors and directors all participated. A roundtable was held to assess the initiatives of the center and possible areas of collaboration with UC. Additionally, the Rector met with the Associate Dean of the World Food Center, Professor Ermias Kebreab and the Director of the Air Quality Research Center, Anthony Wexler. He also met with the Executive Director of the Coastal & Marine Sciences Institute (CMSI), Professor Tawny Marie Mata and professors at the center in order to study potential opportunities for joint collaboration between CMSI and the ECIM of Las Cruces. After the meeting, the Rector visited the teaching hospital for Veterinary Medicine guided by Chilean Professor Ghislaine Dujovne. In the evening, Charles Walker, the Director of the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas hosted a dinner for the professors of the history and modern music of Latin America. After dinner they went to a concert of Mexican singer and composer Lila Downs who sang "Día de Muertos:  Al Chile," at the University Concert Hall, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

The topic for October the 11th was primarily in the field of health. It began with a meeting at the Medical Education Building located in Sacramento, 20 kilometers from Davis, where all of the UC Davis health department buildings are situated. Rector Sánchez and Dr. Salesa Barja were greeted by the Supervisor of the Department of Pediatrics, Doctor Satyan Lakshminrusimha and the Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Allison Brashear. They also had the chance to meet with a group of specialists in respiratory illnesses, specifically cystic fibrosis and asthma. Next they went to UC Davis Children's Hospital, guided by Dr. Diana Farmer, Professor and Supervisor of Surgery. They had lunch with Dr. Andrés Sciolla, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the School of Medicine - who had also recently visited UC - and with the Dean of the School of Nursing, Stephen Cavanagh. Once back at Davis to complete the day, the Rectorand his wife met with Helene Dillard, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, a leader in the agriculture and forestry sciences.

As the visit came to an end, the Rector stated that, "This thorough and comprehensive visit to the various departments and areas of UC Davis has demonstrated the progress we have made over the years in terms of academic exchange projects and mutual collaboration in diverse fields of knowledge."

He also made mention of the many professors at our university who were educated at and conducted academic and collaborative work with this prestigious university, which is the foundation for projects under development today.

He foresees new and interesting lines of work opening up in the coming years in the fields of veterinary medicine, agronomy, law, engineering, medicine, nursing and more.

Chancellor May and a key delegation from UC Davis will visit our education center in April of next year, at which time the UC Davis Global Center will be inaugurated. It will be a place for academic development that demonstrates the institution's interest in the area, and within which UC shall play a leading role.

"Significant opportunities for joint work and development with this distinguished institution are opening up, which is all in keeping with the pursuit of UC's internationalization," he said.

The relationship between UC and UC Davis goes back 20 years when the bilateral exchange agreement was set up, just as with all of the other University of California campuses. We've hosted more than 500 University of California students at UC and approximately 800 students have gone to California on exchange. Likewise, there is a bilateral exchange agreement with the School of Law and for cooperation with the School of Veterinary Medicine. Many of the academics at UC have completed their doctoral training at UC Davis in the areas of engineering, agronomy and forestry, engineering, medicine, psychology, history and letters.

The university has recently hosted UC Davis academics that have participated in programs of scientific symposia and interdisciplinary seminars at the School of Letters and Science, the Institute of History and the School of Law. Similarly, many UC professors have done their internships at UC Davis. One of the more recent groups includes the delegation from the UC Department of Inorganic Chemistry, which participated in the Miller Symposium."

Read the original, full story in Spanish at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile website.

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