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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

UC Davis ranks first in the world for agriculture, forestry

QS World University Rankings, an organization that annually ranks universities in 30 subject areas, recently ranked UC Davis No. 1 in the world for teaching and research in agriculture and forestry for the second consecutive year. UC Davis was also ranked in the top 15 for environmental sciences and in the top 35 for civil and structural engineering.

UC Davis’ College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has more than 6,200 undergraduate students in 27 majors, as well as more than 1,000 graduate students. Additionally, more than 3,000 acres of the UC Davis campus are dedicated to agricultural research.

“I think we received the ranking because of a combination of things,” said Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “The research and the teaching is top-notch, and that was very well-recognized in the ranking.”

QS World University Rankings looks at a multitude of sources to determine the rankings, including the universities’ academic reputation, student-to-faculty ratio and research output.

Daniel A. Sumner, the UC Davis director of the University of California (UC) Agricultural Issues Center, believes that UC Davis’ extensive programs make the University stand out in these fields.

“We have breadth … whether you go to the plant sciences or animal or agricultural departments you would find premiere fields,” Sumner said. “Across the board we are strong, from everything to food science to plant science to environmental science.”

Sumner credits the ranking to UC Davis’ high-quality work in a range of fields within the department and the participation in projects worldwide, including places like China, Africa and Latin America.

Though appreciative of the recognition, professors and staff are already looking towards future plans for the department.

“We’re doing a lot on the environment,” Dillard said. “Where we’re going to be heading is, how do we grow and prepare that food in an environmentally sustainable way? How can we leave the smallest footprint possible on the environment? I see us as being the leaders in that in the future.”

Dillard also said that there is going to be increasing levels of multi-disciplinary works and collaborations with other colleges within the UC Davis system, such as the medical center, veterinary school and engineering school.

“Issues of enormous importance [to focus on] include how to ensure there is sufficient nutritious food for the next two billion people in the coming 40 years, how to adapt to climatic changes causing both droughts and floods, as well as how to change our dependency on fossil fuels and how to manage and conserve water,” said Jan Hopmans, an associate dean in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and also a professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources.

According to Hopmans, the recognition will have positive effects on UC Davis.

“To have this ranking brings more international students to our campus,” Hopmans said. “This brings more diversity to our campus, and could encourage our California students to study abroad as well.”

Some students also agree that the rankings provide them with a sense of pride for UC Davis.

“It gives me confidence that I am in good hands here at UC Davis because I am part of a strong program that will continue to thrive in the coming years,” said first-year Melinda Wang, an environmental policy, analysis and planning major. “I know that there are numerous resources pertaining to my field of study that I may utilize and contribute to during my time here.”

According to Dillard, the rankings reaffirm the success UC Davis students and staff have reached through their focus and research and serve as a benchmark from which to improve.

“We’re really happy that we have the rankings, not so much from being a number one school, but because it gives us a feel of how we’re doing,” Dillard said. “It feels good because it recognizes all the hard work of our faculty, students and staff. It recognizes the hard work people are doing every day in outreach and extension. It’s a real proud moment that our school and college are being recognized.”

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