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German and Russian

The department was instituted in the spring of 1950, when G. Ledyard Stebbins moved from Berkeley to Davis in order to reorganize the teaching of the beginning course in genetics and to become vice-chairman for the Davis section of the graduate group in genetics. In July of the same year, he was joined by Melvin M. Green. From 1950-57, a two-man section of the Berkeley department, with Stebbins as vice-chairman, performed the duties designated. In addition, they offered a course in organic evolution and in the structure of the gene. In July, 1957, they were joined by Richard Snow. In addition to sharing in the teaching of Genetics 100, he initiated a course in cytogenetics. In July, 1958, in accordance with the general policy of separating departments in Davis from those in Berkeley, the genetics department on the Davis campus became autonomous, with Stebbins as its first chairman. Further additions were Alex S. Fraser, January, 1963; Harris Bernstein, September, 1963; and Robert W. Allard, July 1, 1964. Fraser became chairman in 1963, replacing Stebbins; Snow was acting chairman in 1965.

The original department was housed in the Animal Science Building until 1963, when it moved into newly constructed quarters in Hutchison Hall.

In 1961, the department received a genetics training grant from the National Institutes of Health. This grant made possible the appointment of a series of visiting professors for one semester, plus a number of postdoctoral research associates and graduate student scholars. The eminent geneticists who taught for one semester under this grant were: Karl Sax and Hans Gloor (1961-62); Alex S. Fraser (1962-63); Jens Clausen and Ralph Comstock (1963-64); Barbara Maling and Bernard John (1964-65); Hugh Donald and Diter von Wettstein (1965-66). In addition, the National Institutes of Health grant made possible shorter visits to the campus for seminars or lectures on the part of a large number of eminent geneticists.

In 1965, the department offered nine undergraduate courses and five graduate courses and seminars. In addition to its six staff members, it included three postdoctoral research associates and 18 graduate students. source

The deparment was incorporated into the Division of Biological Sciences in 1970; see also Division of Biological Sciences.

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Instruction in the field of geography began on the Davis campus in 1955 with the appointment of Kenneth Thompson to the Department of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, and Sociology. In 1957, Herbert Schultz, a meteorologist with the Department of Agricultural Engineering, was made a lecturer in geography to provide instruction in climatology. By 1959 both economics and sociology had been constituted as separate academic departments, leaving anthropology and geography as a combined department, a situation which lasted until 1964 when each of these two fields was given full departmental status. Howard F. Gregor and Philip L. Wagner were appointed to the department in 1960 and 1961, respectively, and the range of course offerings in geography widened. Stephen C. Jett and Paul D. Marr both joined the department in 1964 and a further addition to the staff was made in 1965 so that for the academic year 1965-66 the geography staff had six full-time members and one part-time member.

An undergraduate major was first offered in 1961 and the M.A. program was begun in the fall of 1965. Plans for a Ph.D. program were underway in the late 1960s.

Enrollment in geography courses increased from 80 in 1955-56 to 1,027 in 1964-65. In the spring semester of 1965 there were 16 undergraduate majors and four graduate students in geography. The departmental course offerings included 26 undergraduate courses and six graduate courses, covering all the major sub-areas of geography. source

Geography is now a program area of Landscape Architecture in the Department of Environmental Design; see also Environmental Design.

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The Department of Geology traces its origins to 1935, when C. A. Anderson commuted to Davis from UC Berkeley by train to give courses in geology. The first permanent faculty member, Charles G. Higgins, joined UCD in 1953. Two other geologists were added in 1957 and 1959, Donald Emerson and Emile Pessagno, respectively. In 1959 the Department of Geological Sciences was established, and the first geology students graduated in June 1960. An M.S. degree was authorized in 1962.

The department began development in earnest in 1963, when Cordell Durrell joined it as chair. Durrell initiated the change of the departmental name to Department of Geology. Other new faculty during the 1960s included James W. Valentine, Eldridge M. Moores, Jere H. Lipps, Richard Cowen, Daniel I. Axelrod, and Ian D. MacGregor. The department formulated its first long-range development plan in 1969, which emphasized two foci: crust and mantle evolution, and paleobiology-paleoenvironments. A few years later, a third focus, environmental geology, was added. Several faculty members were swept up in the plate tectonic revolution in geology that occurred between 1966-1972. Papers by Moores and Valentine became famous as some of the foundation documents in the plate tectonics revolution and helped establish the UCD geology department as a leader in the field.

During the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s the department grew with the addition of nationally known faculty in petrology (Howard W. Day, Charles R. Lesher), structural geology ( Robert J. Twiss, Harry W. Green), geochemistry (Robert I. Zierenberg, Isabel Montanez, Dawn Summer), paleoenvironments (Jeffrey F. Mount, Howard W. Spero, Sandra J. Carlson, Geerat Vermeij), and environmental geology (Robert A. Matthews). The graduate and undergraduate programs have become nationally famous, and the department attracts top graduate students from throughout the world. For several years the department has ranked among the top 25 graduate programs in the nation.

Several faculty members have developed international reputations. UC Davis geology faculty have received many awards, including a MacArthur fellowship awarded to Geerat Vermeij, a Packard fellowship to Anne Hofmeister, a President's faculty fellowship to Louise Kellogg, and an honorary D.Sc., the Geological Association of Canada Medal, and Presidency of the Geological Society of America to Eldridge Moores. In the late 1990s J. F. Mount, then chair of the department, received widespread publicity as an advocate for creative ways for the United States to alleviate damage to lives and property from large floods. source

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German and Russian
German was the first foreign language introduced into the teaching curriculum at UC Davis. Celeste Turner Wright initiated instruction in 1933, and under her guidance, the study of the German language continued in the following years.

A great expansion in offerings occurred in 1949 when Siegfried Puknat, a professional Germanist, joined the faculty and set about augmenting the German courses. By 1953 the curriculum included not only elementary, intermediate, and advanced language instruction but also a wide spectrum of upper-division courses in German literature. By 1964, when Professor Puknat left Davis to become the first dean of the humanities on the Santa Cruz campus, the number of faculty in German at UC Davis had increased to eight.

Graduate study was added in 1962, first toward the M.A. degree and then, in 1966, toward the Ph.D. With the introduction of graduate courses, the teaching of lower-division German was put into the hands of graduate teaching assistants under the direction of a competent language supervisor well-versed in the latest methods of language pedagogy. As a consequence, departmental professors could focus their energies on teaching the history and critical analysis of German literature.

Since 1966 the prestige of the actively publishing faculty in German has been enhanced by a roster of distinguished visiting professors invited to the campus on a more or less regular basis, often cosponsored by the Max Kade Foundation in New York. Some of the most illustrious names in German literary scholarship have contributed over the years to the quickening of the intellectual tone of both graduate and undergraduate teaching at Davis.

Shields Library holdings in German are noteworthy. Since the advent of graduate study in German, the department, with the assistance of competent librarians, has aggressively sought to increase the collection of German books and periodicals. Davis can now boast of having one of the finest research libraries in German in the United States.

The department remains committed to excellence in teaching and research in all areas of German study. Its faculty is held in international esteem. Its flourishing undergraduate program is matched with a graduate program that has placed an impressive number of Davis Ph.D.s in other colleges and universities.

Courses in the Russian language have been offered at UC Davis since 1960. In 1965 an undergraduate major in Russian was established, followed by a master's degree program in 1968. Numerous graduate students were trained in Russian language, linguistics, and literature during the late Soviet period. In the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and under the pressure of unreplaced faculty attrition, the graduate program was canceled in 1993. The core of the currently offered undergraduate major is a three-year Russian language sequence with additional courses in culture, history, and literature. source

See also Foreign Languages.

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