Art History professor Katharine Burnett
Katharine Burnett, an art history professor, founded the UC Davis Global Tea Initiative.

Art History Professor Katharine Burnett Receives Chancellor’s Award for Global Engagement

In her more than two decades at UC Davis, Katharine Burnett, a professor of art history and faculty director of the Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science in the College of Letters and Science, has been known for her contagious enthusiasm for art history and for tea culture and science. She has received one of the 2021 Chancellor’s Award for International Engagement.

The award recognizes faculty and staff members for outstanding international engagement in advancing the university’s teaching, research and service missions, whether through leading global research projects, collaborating with colleagues around the world, promoting global learning or innovative pedagogy, or facilitating these activities to create positive change

Award nominators describe Burnett as “a tireless leader with a global vision to build the most unique and comprehensive program for the study of tea culture and science at any university in the world.”

As the founding director of the UC Davis Global Tea Initiative, Burnett leads the world’s only organization aimed at investigating tea from across the disciplines and around the world. She skillfully leverages UC Davis’ academic and research strengths in agriculture, health, the sciences, the humanities and the social sciences in creating a global platform for the intellectual and cultural exploration of tea.

She also builds lasting interdisciplinary partnerships and brings together students, academics, researchers, government officials, industry leaders, marketers, consumers, and communities across the globe, including from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. One shining example is her international engagement and dedication in leading the international and ever-popular Global Tea Initiative Colloquium at UC Davis, which has been held annually since 2016.

In addition to sharing knowledge through colloquia and symposia, Burnett mentors students in their global research and inspires them in her teaching of the rich history and culture of tea. According to nominators, her global relationships on campus and around the world will “serve UC Davis communities for generations to come.”

— Bonnie Shea, executive director of communications and marketing, UC Davis Global Affairs

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