April 2016 Spring Report




Since Fall 2015, we have continued studying the “soul” of the organization, its purpose, and its membership.  A major outcome of this process is our vote to do away with dues and instead welcome ALL Emeriti into membership in UCBEA.  To accomplish these objectives, we are currently revising our by-laws and constitution, and will be bringing the revision to the membership in early May 2016.  In addition, we are in the process of changing our organizational structure by dissolving our 501C(7) status and instead becoming an affiliated support group on the campus.  The ultimate goal of these changes is to allow the organization to be a stronger voice when dealing with Emeriti issues as well as a more welcoming environment for participating in leadership and activities.


To date, we have had four Saturday luncheons with the following distinguished speakers:  Seth Rosenfeld (author of “Subversives”), Richard Taruskin ( Dept. of Music), George Lakoff (Dept. of Linguistics), and Mary Ann Mason (School of Social Welfare); our May speaker will be Jennifer Doudna (Depts. of Molecular & Cell Biology and Chemistry).


To facilitate our involvement with emeriti on campus, we have strengthened our Departmental Emeriti Representative group and program.  The role of the Emeriti Representative is to be the link between an academic unit and the UCBEA and Associate Vice Provost (AVP) in exchanging up-to-date information and ideas regarding retirement issues.  Working with UCBEA and the AVP, the role of the representative is to be a resource to the faculty in their unit, in assisting those planning for retirement and in supporting the continued engagement of emeriti in activities in their unit and in the broader campus community as desirable.  This Spring, we have had one meeting with over 30 Departmental Emeriti Representatives.

We are pleased to announce that we have awarded the Distinguished Emeritus/a Award for 2016-17 to Prof. Emeritus David Wake.  The Emeritus/a of  the Year Award is determined by a committee of the UCBEA.  UCBEA considers the accomplishments and contributions of a retired faculty member since retiring; thus, the glories of the active faculty days are NOT considered; rather, the glories of the retired faculty days ARE the primary considerations.

David Wake is professor emeritus of integrative biology and former Director and curator of herpetology at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UCB.  Professor Wake is known for his work on the biology and evolution of the salamander as well as general issues of vertebrate evolutionary biology.   He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Linnean Society of London, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.  David Wake is commemorated in the names of the salamander Cryptotriton wakei (Wake's moss salamander), the skink genus Davewakeum, the frog genus Wakea, and the lizard Cyrtodactylus wakeorum (Wakes' gecko)—the latter two named jointly after him and his wife, UCB Professor Emerita Marvalee Wake.

We are also proud to announce that two emeriti have been awarded the Dickson Emeriti Professorship, 2016-17-- John Casida and Jack Kirsch. 

Professor Emeritus John Casida was Professor of Entomology and Toxicology in the College of Natural Resources from 1964 to 2008 and Emeritus Professor of the Graduate School since his retirement.  His research in the Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory has emphasized pesticide mode of action and metabolism. This information is important to optimize pesticide use, improve their selectivity and environmental characteristics, and minimize the hazards of exposure for humans, domestic animals and other non-target species.

Professor Emeritus Jack Kirsch was Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCB from 1964 until his retirement in 2006.  After formal retirement, Prof. Kirsch continued his research programs, one of which was an effort to resolve the difficult problem of assigning protein function from DNA sequences, while another served to develop a computational algorithm that is able to identify mutations in an enzyme of choice that will decrease the catalytic activity.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheldon Zedeck, President, UCBEA