Breakfast with the Chancellor
Staff joined Chancellor Gary May and his wife, LeShelle, for breakfast at the Chancellor’s residence on March 1. Also in attendance were Ralph Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor; Ken Burtis, Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost; Kelly Ratliff, Vice Chancellor of Finance, Operations & Administration, Karl Engelbach, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor & Provost, and members of the Staff Assembly Executive Committee, Kate Shasky, Chair, Ahna Heller, Communications Chair, and Staff Assembly Coordinator, Asheley Greenlee. They were joined by Sandy Batchelor, Worklife Coordinator, Heitman Learning Center; Carla Datanagan, Marketing & Program Manager, Conference & Event Services; Jason Fearing, IT Service Desk Manager, College of Engineering; Lisa Feldmann, Financial Aid Funds Analyst, Financial Aid & Scholarships office; Elizabeth Forrest Lambert, Director of Marketing & Communications, Graduate Studies; Jim Hewlett, Technology Solutions Lead, Supply Chain Management; Gloria Partida, Staff Research Associate, Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior; Veronica Passalacqua, Curator, C.N. Gorman Museum; Tim Samartino, Facilities Manager, Veterinary Medicine Dean’s Office; and Hampton Sublett, Director of Strategic Solutions, FOA Vice Chancellor’s Office.


After Chancellor May welcomed the guests, the conversation got underway. Topics of discussion included:


  • The Chancellor reminded everyone to participate in the “To boldly go” strategic planning:  "We’re looking for creative ideas, from all parts of the campus and community that can help drive UC Davis forward. If you have suggestions or insights regarding strategies that can help power us forward, or good ideas of any kind, we want them. I encourage you to submit them to our website at!" Chancellor May noted that he is personally reading all submissions.
  • An attendee mentioned the recent QS World University Rankings and our excellent position in agriculture and veterinary medicine. Regardless of our preeminence in certain fields, Chancellor May noted that UC Davis has a “pathological humility” and that we need to raise our influence state-wide, nationally, and internationally.
  • How our graduates impact the region and finding the numbers so we can communicate about our “human capital.” Chancellor May noted that our colleagues in development are also looking to quantify this and share alumni contributions and successes.
  • Getting staff engaged in the mission of the university and in their communities whether hands-on or monetary. The Chancellor mentioned establishing a day of service in the future.
  • Building an affinity with the health campus and showcasing the good works of both campuses on both sides of the Causeway. An attendee mentioned that some medical conferences are now being held on the Davis campus, which is a positive change.
  • Staff orientation to campus services and how we can do better. An attendee suggested a “Happy One Year Anniversary” for new staff that includes a re-orientation to campus.
  • How do staff find out what they need when they need it? There is too much information and, in some cases, duplicative information to sift through to find answers, sometimes multiple versions of the answer. Duplicate services and information cost us in dollars and loss of efficiency. Kelly Ratliff noted that centralization of some functions, services, and information is beneficial in a number of ways.
  • Some staff are afraid of change or have change fatigue. Ideas were discussed about how to make staff part of change process. Kelly Ratliff also noted that a new program in Facilities will invest funds to implement improvement ideas that staff bring forward.
  • We have to do better with change management – more in person training and staff engagement in the change process. Someone noted that we need to create a culture of respect, kindness, and resilience.
  • An attendee noted that not all staff are supported by their supervisor/manager and that training might be helpful. And, recognize those managers who do things well and who are “Worklife Champions,” in supporting staff.


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.