Washington engineering dean named chancellor at UC Santa Cruz

Denice Dee Denton, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington, was appointed chancellor of the University of California's Santa Cruz campus today (Dec. 14).

Acting on the recommendation of President Robert C. Dynes, the UC Board of Regents appointed Denton the ninth chancellor of UC Santa Cruz during a special meeting conducted by teleconference.

This press release is also available at the UC Office of the President web site at www.ucop.edu/news/archives/2004/dec14.htm.
She replaces M.R.C. Greenwood, who was appointed UC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs last February. Martin M. Chemers, provost and executive vice chancellor of the Santa Cruz campus, has been serving as acting UCSC chancellor during the search for a new permanent chancellor. Chemers will remain acting chancellor until Denton takes office.

"UC Santa Cruz is a campus on the move, and Denice Denton brings the perfect skills and credentials to build on the momentum that has been created by Provost Greenwood and Acting Chancellor Chemers," said Dynes. "She is an accomplished scholar, an energetic and articulate advocate about the role and importance of education in our society, and a skillful and innovative administrator who understands the increasingly important role UC Santa Cruz plays in the Silicon Valley economy and beyond."

Denton, 45, emerged as Dynes' top choice for the position after a national search that produced more than 700 prospects. The president was advised by a committee representing regents; faculty, students, staff, and alumni of UCSC; and the UC Santa Cruz Foundation.

"I am deeply honored by this appointment, and I am very excited to be joining the University of California and the UC Santa Cruz community in particular," Denton said. "The campus's expanding international reputation for academic excellence is a testament to the work of its outstanding students and faculty. I am eager to begin working with them, as well as with the dedicated staff, alumni, neighbors and friends of UC Santa Cruz, to continue the progress that has been made and to take on the exciting challenges that lie ahead."

Denton holds four degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including a Ph.D. As dean of engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, Denton directs an organization with 10 departments, 17 centers, 225 faculty members and an annual operating budget of $155 million.

"I am impressed by UCSC's tradition of pioneering, interdisciplinary research, and in particular the interesting new fields of research that are emerging from the intersection of disciplines," Denton said. "I look forward to supporting the faculty's innovative spirit and leading-edge work."

She went to UW in 1996 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she had spent the previous nine years as a faculty member in electrical and computer engineering. By accepting the deanship at UW, she became the first woman in the nation to lead an engineering college at a major research university.

Greenwood, UC Provost and UC Santa Cruz's most recent chancellor, praised the selection of Denton.

"I accepted the Provost position knowing that Santa Cruz had a strong leadership team, led by Marty Chemers," said Greenwood. "I am tremendously proud of the campus' many incredible accomplishments and I am confident that its strong upward trajectory will be further enhanced with the appointment of Denice Denton as chancellor."

During her tenure at the UW, she has been instrumental in establishing and promoting multiple programs that seek to make engineering accessible to segments of the population that traditionally don't see themselves as having a chance to pursue science-related careers.

In May 2004, Denton was among nine scholars honored by the White House with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, recognizing her role as a national leader in enhancing diversity in science and engineering. For more about her award: www.uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=4279.

At Wisconsin, she co-directed the National Institute for Science Education, a National Science Foundation-funded initiative to improve mathematics and science education from kindergarten through higher education. She also directed a program aimed at enhancing the quality of undergraduate instruction in manufacturing engineering and increasing the diversity of the undergraduate engineering population.

In addition, Denton chaired the executive committee of the Faculty Division of Physical Sciences at Wisconsin, which governs educational policy in a division of more than 530 faculty members.

Denton also has served as chair or member of numerous national committees and boards. She has received a number of teaching awards and was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2000 and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2004.

Denton was born in El Campo, Texas. She lives with her partner of seven years, Gretchen Kalonji, Kyocera Professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Washington. In her spare time, Denton enjoys taking her two dogs to the beach, sea kayaking, and world travel.

Additional information about Denton and her role as engineering dean at UW is available at www.engr.washington.edu/dean/.

Photos of Denton are available at www.ucop.edu/news/archives/2004/dentonphotos.html.

The UC Board of Regents approved an annual salary of $275,000 for Denton, which represents a two percent increase over the position's current salary of $269,500.

UC Santa Cruz has received increasingly national recognition for the quality of its research and teaching. Examples include:

. The first draft of the human genome was posted on the UC Santa Cruz Web site, and pioneering work in genomics continues at UCSC's Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering.

. The Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community combines academic rigor with social relevance. Its work influences policy-makers to make change for the better in areas such as environmental justice and bridging the digital divide.

. UC Santa Cruz is renowned for its strengths in marine/ocean sciences across multiple academic disciplines, including the research-oriented Institute of Marine Sciences and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center that provides public access to research achievements.

. Examples of distinctions in the arts include Shakespeare Santa Cruz, heralded as one of the nation's most innovative theater festivals, and the film and digital media program, which combines art and engineering to prepare students for success in the burgeoning film and video industries.

. UCSC is headquarters to UC Observatories/Lick Observatory, which operates Lick Observatory and is a managing partner of the world's largest ground-based telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

. The Santa Cruz Center for International Economics is a collection of renowned scholars focused on issues of international economics, broadly defined to cover international finance, international trade, and international political economy, among other topics. Faculty members associated with the center regularly consult with the Federal Reserve, World Bank and various governments throughout the world.

. The recently-established Institute for Advanced Feminist Research continues seminal work that nearly 30 years ago helped launch women's studies as a respected academic discipline throughout the U.S. and beyond.

. The Baskin School of Engineering is the newest school of engineering in the UC system. Its faculty's research is focused on 21st century disciplines of biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology. An example of groundbreaking research is collaboration in the national Engineering Research Center for Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems to develop implantable microelectronic devices for overcoming blindness, paralysis and stroke damage.

Some examples of major national rankings include the following:

. UC Santa Cruz ranked 1st in the nation for its academic research impact in the field of space sciences, according to an analysis conducted by the Institute for Scientific Information in 2003.

. UCSC ranked as the 2nd most influential research institution in the world in the physical sciences, according to a 2001 Institute for Scientific Information report.

. UCSC ranked 11th in the nation among public universities for the quality of its research productivity in The Rise of American Research Universities: Elites and Challengers in the Postwar Era, by Hugh Graham and Nancy Diamond.

. UCSC ranked 1st in the social sciences among U.S. public universities for the quality of its research productivity, according to the Graham and Diamond book.

. UCSC ranked 6th in the arts and humanities index in the Graham and Diamond book.

. UCSC ranked 15th among more than 60 elite universities for the percentage of students whose bachelor's degrees led to doctorates.

. U.S. News & World Report's rankings for 2005 place UCSC in the top quarter of national public universities.

UC Santa Cruz currently enrolls more than 14,000 students, of whom approximately 1,300 are graduate students. It offers undergraduates a selection from among 61 majors, 31 minors and 56 concentrations in the fields of arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences. UC Santa Cruz graduate study is available in 32 academic fields, with students enrolled at the certificate, master's, and doctoral levels. For more about UC Santa Cruz, visit www.ucsc.edu.


For more news and information about the University of California, please visit www.universityofcalifornia.edu.