February 2019
Staff joined Chancellor Gary May and his wife, LeShelle May, for breakfast at the Chancellor’s residence on February 8, 2019. Also in attendance were Karl Engelbach, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor & Provost, Ken Burtis, Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost; and members of the Staff Assembly Executive Committee, Jennifer Jackson, Events Chair; and Asheley Greenlee, Staff Assembly Coordinator. They were joined by Sam Bishop-Green, Assistant Director, Preferred Partnership Program (UP3); Valeri Garcia, Guardians Scholars Program Coordinator, Office of Educational Opportunity & Enrichment Services; Heather Gastellum, Associate Director, Campus Recreation; Sarah Koller, Collection Maintenance Supervisor, University Library; Alison Metzger-Jones, External Relations Manager, College of Engineering; Kristy Peterson, Director of Alumni Relations & Network Strategy, Graduate School of Management; Niki Peterson, Senior Program Manager, Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Tinkerbell Peterson, First support animal to attend Breakfast with the Chancellor; Gloria Partida, Staff Researcher, Neurology, Physiology, & Behavior; Richard Ronquillo, Associate Director of Departmental and Student Outreach, Student Housing and Dining Services; and Jennifer Wagelie, Academic Liaison, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

After Chancellor May welcomed the guests, introductions were underway and attendees shared their favorite thing about working for campus. Staff had so many great and unique things to say about their experience working for campus as well as suggestions for ways in which campus can improve, some of which are listed below:

  • Many staff noted that what they appreciate most about working for UC Davis is the relaxed work atmosphere and the work/life balance their job enables. 
  • Another staff member commented that UC Davis is a magnet for international diversity, drawing top talent from around the world. 
  • One staff member described how she is constantly encouraged to be innovative and creative in her job. She is able to develop a program that is gaining recognition as a program to emulate nationally.
  • Collectively, staff reflected that the work they support has an impact on an entire spectrum of humanity through different fields of study. UC Davis may seem small, but we are mighty in our impact!
  • A staff member from Student Housing and Dining Services expressed the gratification gained from the work they do that impacts students and being a student-serving institution. Many universities claim to be student-first, but they have seen firsthand the dedication UC Davis is committed to help students succeed.
  • A staff member from the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art described how the Manetti Shrem is truly leading model of what a 21st century museum looks like. Not only is it an interactive and engaging experience, but it demonstrates the synergy of faculty research and campus culture. Additionally, they shared that the Manetti Shrem had 937 attendees at the opening of the Xicanx Futurity exhibition- a record-breaking number since their opening.
  • Many staff agreed that having the opportunity to have face time with campus leadership makes them feel valued at UC Davis and that leadership is making a personal investment in retaining staff. 
  • Another staff member expressed that they are excited to see both the long-term action plans put in motion for the Strategic Plan, in addition to seeing changes in the short-term to address some of these areas of concern today.
  • Staff pondered different ways we could show off UC Davis and brand the excellence we already obtain in order to increase our recognition as a leading university.
  • One staff member asked Chancellor May what surprised him most about UC Davis. Chancellor May replied that he was most impressed by the consistent level of excellence across campus. UC Davis is a leader in a vast array of categories. Most are familiar with the contributions to agriculture research and veterinary science, but we are also leaders in a breadth of areas. 
  • Many staff lamented that they wish there was a better way to effectively communicate across campus. Ken Burtis brought up that perhaps targeted advertising to staff to display content they may be more inclined to see would be a start to this common problem.

The overall sentiment of the breakfast was that we are lucky to serve an institution that is committed to working together to achieve great things and will continue our pursuit to be drivers of academic success and innovation.


If you’re interested in participating in a Breakfast with the Chancellor, visit this page on the Staff Assembly website for more information and an application.