Following over 41 years of service to UCR as a professor, researcher, and administrator, Vice Provost Ameae M. Walker will be retiring from her position as of June 30, 2020.
Dr. Walker has served as Vice Provost for Academic Personnel from December 2014 to June 2020. In this role, she has provided leadership for projects focused on faculty success, institutional accreditation, faculty development, academic recruitment and retention, academic policy and procedures as well as numerous special projects. As the leader who oversees academic personnel reporting to the Office of the Provost, her work expertly supported UCR’s public service and academic excellence missions.
As a Professor in the Division of Biomedical Sciences since 1979, Dr. Walker has taught and mentored medical students, Ph.D. students, and undergraduates exceptionally well. Dr. Walker’s student focus was acknowledged with a Distinguished Teaching Award (1993-94) and membership in the UCR Academy of Distinguished Teachers (2006).
During her career at UCR, Dr. Walker served in several key leadership positions across campus, including Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, Chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel, Vice Chair of the Academic Senate, Chair of the School of Medicine’s Executive Committee, and Chair of the Division of Biomedical Sciences. She was often asked to serve in important roles and on committees across the campus including for major campus searches, the Committee on Charges, and Shadow CAP. The breadth and depth of Dr. Walker’s contributions earned her the Distinguished Campus Service Award (2012-13).
Dr. Walker accomplished all of this while leading and conducting critical research on breast feeding and infant immunity, identifying an entirely new aspect for which she coined the term “maternal educational immunity”. Her work focused on a type of immunity, referred to as cell-mediated immunity. This kind of immunity is used to destroy intracellular pathogens such as the tuberculosis bacterium and cancer cells. She discovered that boosting maternal vaccination during pregnancy can protect babies against infections and diseases that are sometimes too dangerous to vaccinate against in infancy, like tuberculosis. Dr. Walker also has worked for many years on the role of the hormone, prolactin. The main focus of this work has been to determine the role of prolactin in the development and progression of cancers, including prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. She has patented agents that modify prolactin signaling pathways in cancer cells that have a major inhibitory impact on metastatic spread. Her work has generated new insights and important breakthroughs in the global fight to improve human health. She intends to continue to work in her lab after her retirement.
Dr. Walker has enjoyed a long and distinguished career at UCR. She is a thoughtful, committed campus leader who believes deeply in our mission. Please join us in thanking Ameae for her outstanding contributions to our campus over the past 41 years, and wishing her a happy retirement! She will be missed, especially by those of us who have had the opportunity to work closely with her.
“When I arrived at UCR, there were about 5000 students; we are now at around 19,000. In the intervening years, we have dealt with a number of budget crises, as well as the challenges that have arisen from this expansion. Our current financial crisis is the worst yet. With shrinking resources, furlough pay reductions, and yet more work, we are all stressed. What we need most, apart from a philosophy of cooperation, is exactly what a university faculty is in the best position to offer - bright minds, inventive solutions, careful and knowledge-based analyses, and open and respectful exchanges of ideas. The faculty Senate is the body through which we engage with the administration to sustain and develop this gem of a campus.”
-Dr. Ameae M. Walker, 2010
“I really like science and the mental challenge of solving a problem. But for me it also has to be a problem that is of significance in the world. I really want to do something that will make a difference.”
-Dr. Ameae M. Walker, 2012