A Note From Our Dean

Dear UC Santa Cruz Community,

I will be taking a year-long sabbatical in 2018. During my leave, physics professor Dave Belanger will serve as acting dean. Dave joined our faculty in 1984, is currently our associate dean, and previously served as acting dean while I was doing fieldwork in Antarctica. Given Dave’s experience and knowledge, I am leaving the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences (PBSci) in very capable hands.

Dean Paul L. Koch

Universities encourage faculty to take sabbatical leave several times over the course of their careers. Faculty at top research universities are expected to make discoveries and create new ways of understanding the universe and our place in it, and allowing time to think hard about new ideas and concentrate on testing them is critical to discovery. My last sabbatical was more than 13 years ago. It is time for me to recharge my batteries, both as a scientist and as a professional committed to leading our academic division by example.

During my nearly 7-year tenure as dean, I have made a point to keep the academic side of my professional life alive. I am currently mentoring three graduate students and have had three PhD students and one MS student graduate. I have also published more than 40 papers (many co-authored) and raised nearly $1 million as principal investigator for research projects.

In 2018, I will be off campus finishing up a number of research projects. My list includes developing an innovative pilot lab program with a former PhD student on a new way to study the physiology of living and ancient animals. I will also complete a popular science book on the extinction of nearly all large land animals at the end of the Pleistocene (around 10,000 year ago).

As I split my time between Salt Lake City and New Mexico, I will be staying in touch with you throughout the year and returning for important projects and events. I will also continue to lead our fundraising efforts, as well as an exciting new messaging strategy for the division.


Best wishes on a great 2018!


Paul L. Koch

Dean, Physical and Biological Sciences

Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences