What do professors do during summertime?


Summers are spent working, traveling, giving back to the community

Summer in Davis can be spent playing sports outside, learning new skills, traveling, hiking, performing research, playing music or taking classes. Some UC Davis community members may be wondering: what are some of our favorite professors doing when school is out?

Gwen Arnold, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, has some time this summer for travel, writing and research.

“So, for me, the summer is about catching up on all the research that got put on hold while teaching!” Arnold said in an email interview. “It’s possible to get research done while teaching, but never as much as you’d hope. And for those of us who don’t teach in the summer, it’s a time to dig into work without having to take as many breaks for meetings with students or with other faculty, both of which are scarcer on campus in the summer.”

Arnold plans to spend a few weeks during the summer visiting colleagues and family in Europe and has set aside a week to write academic papers during a cabin retreat. Arnold plans to visit Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to interview community stakeholders about governance during the boom and bust cycles of the fossil fuel extraction economies.

Duane Kouba, a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, enjoys spending summer playing basketball and teaching. Kouba coached on the UC Davis basketball staff for 18 years and has spent the last several summers promoting basketball participation in Filipino youth.

“My latest charity in the Philippines is to give away basketballs to children, youth, and adults in very impoverished neighborhoods in Cebu City,” Kouba said in an email interview. “I have spent time each summer in the Philippines for the past eight summers. I swim, bike, and play lots of street basketball, where I meet so many others who share my passion for basketball. It’s been my pleasure to give away hundreds of basketballs to my Filipino and Filipina friends there. It serves to lift their spirits as well as mine.”

Kouba has worked with programs such as COSMOS and SASP, teaching mathematics to middle and high school students in the Sacramento and Davis area. For a couple summers, Kouba taught mathematics to Vietnamese students at the middle school and high school and Filipino students at the university level.

Some professors and lecturers remain on campus to teach summer courses for students in Davis. Arnold and Kouba may be spending this summer away from teaching UC Davis students, but their time will be spent on valuable research and enriching travel experiences.


Written by: George Ugartemendia — science@theaggie.org