UC Davis receives 29 Awards of Excellence in District VII CASE Competition

More than a third of UC Davis projects entered into the competition won awards

UC Davis won 29 Awards of Excellence in the District VII Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) this year, 16 more than in 2016. The six gold award winners are eligible for the grand gold awards, to be announced during CASE District VII’s annual conference held in March.

According to the CASE District VII website, District VII comprises institutions in the western region of the United States including the states of Arizona, California, Guam, Hawai’i, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands and Utah. The judging of awards is based in nine broad categories under which specific awards are allocated: advancement services, alumni relations, design and photography, digital communications, magazines, marketing, publications, special events, video and writing.

This year’s gold award winners include: Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art Legacy Dinner for Individualized Special Events, Centralized Gift Processing at UC Davis — Our Journey to GREATness for Best Practice of Advancement Services, UC Davis 2016-17 Viewbook for Student Recruitment Publications: Viewbooks and Prospectuses (Print), Graduate Student Fellowship Matching Initiative for Targeted Campaign and Grand Canyon Website for two awards — Individual Sub-Websites and Innovative Use of Technology.

Each spring, UC Davis graduate students of geology, ecology and hydrology embark on 225-mile river journey down the Colorado River for an ecogeomorphology class taught by professors emeritus Peter Moyle and Jeffrey Mount, which they documented on their gold award winning Grand Canyon website. A combination of ecology, geology and morphology, the ecogeomorphology class teaches students how to apply scientific thinking and test hypotheses in a natural, outdoor setting.

Nicholas Pinter, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences who joined the 2016 spring cohort, emphasized the value of expedition-based teaching for students studying geology, morphology and ecology.

“It’s an amazing thing that UC Davis does — not just teach about the Grand Canyon, geology or ecology, but actually taking students out into one of the wildest places left in the United States for an intense scientific and wilderness experience,” Pinter said in a podcast featured on the website. “In most places this is not a class, it’s something special UC Davis does. This was graduate students and professors only, doing intense cutting-edge science not in in the classroom but in the field, mile deep down into the Colorado plateau, floating through these intense rapids down the river for up to three weeks at a time.”

The immersive, mobile-friendly website includes interactive elements such as 360-degree videos, audio clips of speakers and a map for users to follow their journey. Joe Proudman, a multi-media specialist at the Office of Strategic Communications, was one of the two videographers who joined the Grand Canyon trip and produced content for the award-winning website.

“Our whole office contributed to the Grand Canyon Project, and the fact that it won two CASE District VII gold awards is a testament to the teamwork, vision and ability we have in Strategic Communications,” Proudman said. “This is a trip in which you are just immersed in the wonders of the Grand Canyon, and we wanted to carry that through by including 360 video, high-quality video and images. Kat Kerlin was able to eloquently capture the trip in her writing, which was more than a fun rafting trip — it was about students becoming better scientists. And interactive web designer Tom Watts was able to find a design that not only combined all that, but did so in a way that helped us tell the story better.”

Another gold award winner, the recently launched Graduate Student Fellowship Matching Initiative, encourages donors to endow more funds for graduate student fellowships. These fellowships seek to benefit students in need by matching them with fellowships they are eligible for in a short period of time, thereby increasing access to higher education.

Michelle Dean, a UC Davis graduate student and participant in the Guardian Professions Program (GPP), has benefited from the new program as she can now focus on school with the fellowship’s financial aid.

“Alumni and donors who give back to UC Davis allow others to follow their dreams and goals that maybe wouldn’t have been a reality without their gifts,” Dean said in a statement on UC Davis Dateline. “The fellowship I received through GPP gives me the flexibility to pursue additional educational interests and the ability to focus on my education and thesis work instead of having to stress as much about financial responsibilities. This allows me to enjoy my time as a graduate student and definitely improves my quality of life.”

The matching program will support more than 90 graduate student programs at UC Davis, opening more doors for eligible students with a clear education path.

More information about all of the awards can be found on the UC Davis Dateline website.

Written by: Kaitlyn Cheung — campus@theaggie.org