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2018 Oliver Johnson Award Recipients

 Professor Duncan Mellichamp

Professor Duncan Mellichamp

UC Santa Barbara Professor Emeritus Duncan Mellichamp was a founding faculty member of the UCSB Department of Chemical Engineering. He was recruited to UCSB in 1965 from DuPont’s Textile Fibers Division in North Carolina where he was working as a research engineer. The UCSB Department of Chemical Engineering now ranks consistently in the top ten. Professor Mellichamp spent his entire academic career at UCSB and has remained active in University affairs and philanthropy since becoming Emeritus in 2003. He served as Chair of the UCSB Academic Senate from 1990 to 1992, as well as Vice Chair and then Chair of the Systemwide Academic Senate and Faculty Representative to the UC Board of Regents from 1995 to 1997.

As Academic Council Chair, Professor Mellichamp was known as a problem-solver and consensus-builder, committed to addressing complex challenges and resolving difficult issues for the benefit of the University. His priorities as Council Chair included the University’s budget challenges, the gap in UC faculty compensation compared to peer institutions, and the 1995 Regents’ actions on affirmative action and their tumultuous repercussions, which included a reassessment of shared governance in the area of admissions. Professor Mellichamp initiated processes to assess how effectively the Senate represents faculty interests in areas where the administration has primary responsibility and the Senate consults by delegation and tradition. The Task Force on Governance he established in 1996 represented the first full-scale review of the Systemwide Senate organization and operations in more than three decades at the time.  

Professor Mellichamp’s time as Council Chair is perhaps most remembered for his strong advocacy with the Regents for the inclusion of “same-sex” domestic partners in UC employee benefits. To quote from the November 1997 issue of the Notice of the Academic Senate, “The Regents’ September consideration of this proposal was an outgrowth of an extended discussion they had regarding domestic partners in July. That discussion, in turn, was prompted by an earlier plea from last year’s Academic Council Chair, Duncan Mellichamp that the board take the issue up.” It is perhaps difficult today to recall that such a position was not widely accepted within the University community, but his early and successful advocacy for this position is another testimony to his strong sense of ethics and academic community. 

While Council Chair, he also successfully convinced the President to locate the Academic Senate offices on the top floor of the then-under-design UCOP building in downtown Oakland, understanding the practical and symbolic importance of placing the Senate on the same floor as the President and the Office of the Regents. He also negotiated the administrative stipend, housing allowance, and replacement salary benefit for the Council Vice Chair, which until then UCOP had provided only to the Chair.

Professor Mellichamp also served for eight years on the UC Retirement System Advisory Board, and numerous other boards and committees. He and his wife Suzanne have endowed 15 mid-career faculty chairs at UCSB in the areas of Systems Biology, Globalization, Sustainable Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering. In 2016, he was the UCSB Graduate Division Commencement Speaker. The full text of that address can be found here:

Professor Daniel Simmons

Professor Daniel Simmons

UC Davis Professor of Law Emeritus Daniel Simmons has an extraordinary record of Senate service that includes two terms as Davis Division Chair, two terms as Systemwide Senate Chair, and service on numerous other Senate and UC committees. He is known for his relentless advocacy in support of faculty interests and for maintaining the health and quality of the University of California as a system.

His first term as systemwide Senate chair in 1994-1995 included the contentious Regental debates over affirmative action. His second in 2010-2011, came on the heels of unprecedented state disinvestment, and required responding to the Commission on the Future of UC and the first set of post-employment benefits (PEB) reforms. Professor Simmons organized a task force to evaluate the Commission’s recommendations, and then an Academic Council subcommittee (the “Implementation Task Force”) that evaluated various budget recommendations. The work of the Task Force was conveyed to the administration in a series of resolutions that provided the framework for budget rebenching. During the PEB process, Professor Simmons is remembered for promoting the advantages of preserving pension benefits that not only help recruit and retain faculty, but support the ongoing renewal of the faculty, as well as for conveying the close alignment of faculty and staff views and emphasizing the value to the University of remaining competitive for all employee groups.

During his two terms as Davis Chair, Professor Simmons helped strengthen shared governance, both within the Senate and in relations with the administration. Examples include enhancing the Senate role in FTE allocation, designing the separation of Privilege and Tenure and Hearing Committee functions, chairing a task force leading to improvements in the undergraduate program review process, and negotiating a revision of campus procedure for research misconduct.

As Chair of the Davis Committee on Shared Governance, he produced a widely referenced primer on shared governance, Mending the Wall, now considered a benchmark study of Senate operations and the relationship between the Senate and Administration. Mending the Wall was based on his 1995 paper on shared governance, updated in 2009, that has been a valuable resource for Senates on other campuses and still serves as the background for presentations at new systemwide committee chair orientations.

Professor Simmons also served for nearly ten years on the UCFW Task Force on Investments and Retirement (TFIR), where he brought expertise in tax law and a deep understanding of shared governance. He led the Senate’s efforts to ensure a meaningful shared-governance role in oversight of the three national labs, which resulted in the formation of the Academic Council Special Committee on the National Laboratories (ACSCONL) and its successor committee, the Special Committee on Laboratory Issues (ACSCOLI). Professor Simmons was also instrumental in the effort to grant UC degrees to Japanese-Americans whose studies were interrupted by interment during World War II.

Professor Simmons also chaired the Committee on Academic Planning for the Tenth Campus and is remembered for being an effective and visionary leader around the consideration of an interdisciplinary, innovative organization model for the campus that became UC Merced.

After his term as Council Chair Simmons continued for a time on the systemwide task forces on investment and retirement (TIFR) and national labs (ACSCOLI), as well as the UC Merced Rules Committee. He is known for his efforts to mentor faculty, particularly those who are new to Senate service.

Simmons retired from the University in 2011 and is currently engaged in his life-long pursuit to become a ski-bum. He has just completed a term as President of the Far West Masters Ski Racing Association and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. Simmons continues his scholarly work on law school casebooks dealing with Federal Income Taxation. His recent work that evolved from an article and legislative activity has affected reforms of the California Board of Equalization and the State tax adjudication process.