UC Davis Chancellor Katehi apologizes to lawmakers over ‘lapse’ in taking DeVry seat. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee
UC Davis Chancellor Katehi apologizes to lawmakers over ‘lapse’ in taking DeVry seat. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee

Education

UC Davis’ Katehi will teach one course per quarter, conduct research in $318,000 position

By Diana Lambert and Sam Stanton

dlambert@sacbee.com

July 31, 2017 02:30 PM

UPDATED August 01, 2017 04:21 PM

Former UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi will teach one engineering course per quarter over the next nine months in her new $318,000 faculty position, school officials said Monday.

Her first course this fall is a one-unit graduate seminar scheduled to meet 50 minutes each Friday, according to a listing on the Office of the University Registrar website.

UC Davis officials said Katehi will also conduct research. Specific details of her research topic were unavailable Monday.

“She’s a researcher, and part of her work as a faculty member is to do research at a research institution,” said UC Davis spokeswoman Dana Topousis. “I believe this schedule is common of top tier universities like ours.”

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Katehi, 63, resigned as chancellor last August after months of controversy, culminating with a $1 million, four-month investigation launched by University of California President Janet Napolitano. She was granted a year of paid leave and is scheduled to return as a professor in September.

Besides her salary, she will get research funding of $150,000 that does not serve as personal compensation, according to a July 6 letter signed by Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter. That comes from a total of $400,000 allocated for her research through June 2021.

Katehi is supposed to use the $150,000 on a student to help her with scientific proposals, a student assistant to help her put content online, research-related travel and an open source website. She has nearly two dozen U.S. patents and has supervised 44 doctoral students, according to her College of Engineering profile.

Katehi’s course this fall, Electrical and Computer Engineering 290, involves “discussion and presentation of current research and development,” according to a UC Davis catalog. It is scheduled from 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.

She will have two undergraduate courses later in the school year. In winter 2018, she will teach a four-unit introductory electromagnetics course that previously met twice a week for nearly two hours. In spring, she will teach a three-unit course in electronic circuits and systems that has a 50-minute lecture twice a week and a nearly three-hour lab session. Based on a previous Engineering 100 class outline, labs are typically run by teaching assistants.

Two other distinguished professors in the electrical engineering department, N.C. Luhmann Jr. and Jerry Woodall, are scheduled to teach one class in the fall.

Luhmann will teach a three-unit, 80-minute class that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. He also is the director of the Davis Millimeter-Wave Research Center, according to its website.

Woodall will instruct a four-unit class that meets nearly two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He runs his own research group that investigates “emerging electronic materials and novel microelectronic devices that have the highest potential impact on society,” according to the group’s website.

Luhmann earned $249,000 and Woodall earned $303,000 in 2015, the most recent year for which UC pay data is available.

“So in terms of what we would normally define as a teaching load, Professor Katehi is one-third and a quarter, respectively of that of her peers in the department,” said James Finkelstein, a professor at George Mason University and an expert on university executive pay. “In my view, teaching a one-credit course, which in this case is a topics seminar, is not a full teaching load.”

Katehi and Engineering Dean Jennifer Sinclair Curtis did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.

Katehi’s new nine-month salary as a distinguished professor, when annualized, is equivalent to the $424,000 annual amount she received as chancellor, The Sacramento Bee reported Friday. The salary was determined by the engineering department, according to university officials.

Katehi can earn additional money from work on extramural grants or through summer teaching, Hexter wrote in his letter.

Last year, she initially drew criticism for accepting a board seat from for-profit DeVry Education Group while it was under federal investigation for allegedly misleading students. She later came under fire when The Bee reported she spent heavily on image-enhancing firms to boost her reputation after the 2011 pepper-spraying of student protesters by campus police.

When Katehi resigned, she agreed to return this year as a faculty member. But first, as is the tradition, she was allowed to take a year off at her chancellor’s pay, plus retirement and health benefits.

“The initial severance deal for one year for full chancellor pay for no work seems outrageous,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. “This new faculty arrangement adds insult to injury, especially for students and families struggling to pay for college.”

McCarty said he and other lawmakers have discussed the matter and may address it further after their recess. “It certainly has raised some eyebrows and goes to the larger narrative as far as UC oversight,” he said. “We are asking them to cut costs and focus on student enrollment and this is basically another example of the opposite.”

The university’s new chancellor, Gary S. May, will officially take the reins Tuesday.

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert