Linda Katehi returns to UC Davis as research professor, will earn $318,000 salary

BRIAN NGUYEN / AGGIE FILE

Katehi will teach one class per quarter in 2017-18 school year, conduct research

Following her 2016 resignation from the position of UC Davis chancellor, Linda Katehi will return to the university as a professor and researcher in the fall of 2017, earning $318,000 for the nine-month academic year. According to The Sacramento Bee, Katehi’s salary for the 2017-18 school year will be approximately equivalent to her previous 12-month chancellor salary of $424,000.

For the upcoming Fall Quarter, Katehi will teach Electrical and Computer Engineering 290 — a seminar in electrical and computer engineering, meeting on Fridays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. She will continue to teach at least one course in both Winter and Spring Quarter.

At a press meet-and-greet on Aug. 1, Chancellor Gary May defended Katehi’s salary, although he did not approve the number himself.

“Professor Katehi is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a world-renowned scholar in her field,” May said. “That salary is certainly consistent with others of that same [caliber]. As [a former] Engineering Dean, I’m familiar with those salaries and her salary is not in any way out of bounds.”

In addition to her expertise in the field of engineering, Katehi’s UC Davis biography also recognizes her as a distinguished professor of women’s and gender studies, although the classes she will teach in this department are currently pending.

ASUCD President Josh Dalavai emphasized his unhappiness with Katehi’s return to campus and the high salary she will earn.

“This is very unfortunate and goes to show that sometimes university decisions are made for the primary purpose of saving face as opposed to doing what’s best for students,” Dalavai said via email.

Napolitano asked Katehi to resign in the wake of multiple controversies –– including allegations of allowing campus police overreach and subsequent internet scrubbing following the 2011 pepper spray incident –– for which she took full responsibility –– as well as moonlighting for corporate boards. Katehi also faced accusations of nepotism at UC Davis in regard to her daughter-in-law’s promotion to the position of assistant vice chancellor.

Katehi officially resigned on Aug. 9 as part of a settlement, receiving her chancellor’s salary for the 2016-17 school year while on sabbatical and retaining the professorial position at UC Davis that she will soon return to.

Anna Lee, a parent of a UC Davis alumnus, stated her frustration with Katehi’s return to teaching, specifically in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Department, via email.

“There has to be more qualified professionals, male or female, to teach Professor Katehi’s class,” Lee said. “[Especially] when she has not been teaching for a while. It is inappropriate for Professor Katehi to use the ‘woman’ card as added ‘experience’ when she herself was ineffective as a campus leader.”

In 2006, Katehi became an associate dean for academic affairs and graduate education at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor –– a position she held until 2009. Prior to that, she was a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, where she became the John A. Edwardson dean of engineering in 2002. Katehi has also served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lee said she predicts a possible fundraising backlash as well as a general lack of support for the university in light of Katehi’s return.

“Integrity should always be part of a good role model for incoming engineering classes,” Lee said. “Chancellor Gary May can lead by setting a good example that he can make tough decisions, instead of rubber-stamping the return of Professor Katehi. Although Chancellor May wants to move forward with his ambitious fundraising for Davis, he must remember that prudent financial management will give Davis [alumni] the confidence that their donation is being spent wisely. Chancellor May should know all campus funds are subject to public scrutiny, […] and everyone is watching.”

Dana Topousis, the interim strategic communications lead and executive director of news and media relations at UC Davis, stressed Katehi’s teaching experience and expertise. Topousis denied that Katehi’s salary was inconsistent or unmerited.

“Professor Linda Katehi is a […] remarkably distinguished professor of engineering,” Topousis said via email. “Her academic credentials and merits stand strongly on their own. Professor Katehi’s robust academic accomplishments fully merit her salary level, and it is consistent with similarly distinguished peers throughout the UC system, including those who are members of the National Academy of Engineering. Her workload for her first quarter is consistent with professors returning to their faculty posts. She will be conducting research and doing other work […] as part of her workload.”

 

Written by: Aaron Liss — campus@theaggie.org

Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Katehi’s daugher-in-law was promoted to the position of vice chancellor. She was promoted to the position of assistant vice chancellor. The Aggie regrets the error.