2020-21 Senate Chair Welcome Letter

Academic Senate Priorities: 2020-21 Roadmap

October 1, 2020

Dear Senate Colleagues,

My name is Richard Tucker, and I am chair of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate for the next two years. I am joined by Vice Chair Ahmet Palazoglu and by hundreds of you serving as committee chairs and members. Thank you for your commitment to shared governance at UC Davis, especially during these critical times.

I write to welcome you to the new academic year and to share Academic Senate priorities. With the pandemic, wildfires, UC financial uncertainties, and elections around the corner, this year we face known and likely unknown challenges. The Senate’s priorities will inevitably be fluid, as much as we try to plan. At the end of this letter, you will find instructional, mental health, and racial trauma resources that I hope will help you and your students navigate this year.

For 2020-21, we will continue to address COVID-19 instructional and operational issues. We will do everything possible to be proactive in our decision making and communications. We will continue to work closely with Chancellor May, Provost Croughan, and administrative partners on campus operational decisions, and with the systemwide Academic Senate on cross-campus matters.

In an effort to carry on some business as usual, we have also established non-pandemic priorities. The recommendations from last year’s Step Plus special committee are being tackled by a follow-up workgroup, and we are similarly tasking standing committees to review recommendations from the Special Committee on Evaluation of Teaching. Equitable Access remains an area of concern for many faculty and students; the Senate will receive data as its pilot program progresses, and we will provide rigorous, candid feedback. The Senate will also continue to engage on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, including merit and promotion activities and grant funding opportunities. Finally, we will maintain as always our strong advisory role on the campus budget.

Whether in your teaching or research or daily life, I deeply appreciate all of your work to adapt to our “new normal.” I hope that by the time I write this letter next year, we will have returned to some degree of “old normal.” But even if our altered pandemic life persists, I am confident that we and the campus community will meet our challenges and move our tripartite mission forward—even if, for a while, progress follows a crooked line.

I wish you all a safe and healthy year, and do not hesitate to contact me at aschair@ucdavis.edu with questions, comments, or concerns. My virtual door is always open.

Take care,

Richard P. Tucker, Ph.D.
Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
University of California, Davis


  • COVID-19 Academic Policies: This webpage houses the Davis Division’s official academic and instructional flexibilities, including for fall 2020. Notably, undergraduate courses are not required to hold final exams in fall 2020.
  • Keep Teaching: This website shares remote instruction strategies and tools, including alternative assessment methods should you not wish to hold exams.
  • Campus Ready: This website centralizes UC Davis’ COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, including comprehensive student information and FAQ sections that you can share with your students.
  • Mental Health and COVID-19: This flyer provides mental health wellness and support resources. Student Health and Counseling services has also provided a Box folder with additional resources.
  • Resources for Racial Trauma: As stated in its introduction, this webpage contains resources to “support our community as we continue to find ways to build and strengthen our diverse culture at UC Davis.” These resources build on those previously communicated to faculty at the end of spring 2020.