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Dean's Biography



Dean Dennis Pendleton

Dennis Pendleton has served as dean of UC Davis Extension, the professional and continuing education arm of the University of California, Davis, since January, 2001. Approximately 60,000 adult learners from Northern California and throughout the world participate in a diverse array of UC Davis Extension programs each year. Through extensive partnerships with campus faculty, public agencies, and community organizations, the educational programs and research-based initiatives of UC Davis Extension address key issues of society and help to improve the quality of life in our communities.

University outreach and community engagement have been the principal professional emphases for Pendleton over the past twenty-five years. Prior to becoming dean, he held joint appointments for nearly ten years as director of the UC Davis Public Service Research Program and associate dean of UC Davis Extension. As director of PSRP, he was one of the founders of the Putah-Cache Bioregion Project, an integrated interdisciplinary suite of research and educational activities in the Putah and Cache Creek watersheds, the "home region" of UC Davis. Pendleton created memoranda of understanding with a number of state agencies: the California Resources Agency, the California Youth Authority, California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He co-chaired the steering committees of campus faculty and agency professionals that managed the specific projects and activities of each of these agreements, expanding and enhancing agency-university collaborative research and community outreach.

Pendleton was one of the founding members of Common Ground: Center for Cooperative Solutions, a center based in UC Davis Extension that provides problem assessment, mediation and facilitation services. He worked during the 1990’s as a facilitator in community-based environmental partnerships in far Northern California and the central Sierra Nevada, helping diverse groups of stakeholders resolve contentious disputes regarding natural resources assessment and management.

Pendleton has a B.A. in economics from Colorado College, and an M.S. in ecology and a Ph.D. in regional resource planning from Colorado State University. His dissertation addressed land use issues in highly valuable yet environmentally sensitive areas in and around Aspen, Colorado. He developed extensive ecological simulation models of California range and wildland environments during a two year post-doctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley—work described in publications including a Hilgardia monograph, and widely cited and used in subsequent university ecological modeling projects. Pendleton has held research and teaching appointments at Colorado State University, California Polytechnic State University, and UC Davis. He co-chaired one of the first national task groups on global climate impacts, in a 1980 study sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as associate director of the Genetic Resources Conservation Program, a state-supported non-profit organization which subsequently became a highly regarded unit of the University of California. He has worked as an environmental consultant for a diverse group of clients including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd, Philadelphia; and Isbill and Associates, Denver. He worked as a field biologist on Dall sheep projects under contract with the Alaska Game and Fish Department and on state-supported assessments of the ranges of elk and deer herds in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. Pendleton was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving at several posts in the U.S. prior to a one year assignment as Officer-in-Charge of the Long Binh Communication Center, a major military communications hub in the Republic of South Viet Nam.

Pendleton serves on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance and of the UC Davis Connect Program. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Council on Extension, Continuing Education and Public Service of the National Association of State University and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC).