Kem Saichaie, Ph.D.

Image: Kem Saichaie

Position Title
Executive Director

The Grove, 1331

Kem Saichaie (he/him) is the Executive Director for the Center for Educational Effectiveness in Office of Undergraduate Education (UE) at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Kem is a First-Generation college student in the United States. He works with faculty and graduate students across disciplines to investigate evidence-based pedagogical practices and integrate them into face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning spaces. Kem’s experience in higher education includes roles in academic technology, admissions, educational development, and as a faculty member.

Research and Scholarship 

Kem is the co-author of the best-selling book: A Guide to Teaching in Active Learning Classrooms: History, Research, and Practice. Kem is the co-author (with Dr. Jeanette Ruiz) on a forthcoming book about The First Gen University and the Future Higher Education (under contract with University of California Press). He was the lead editor of special volume from New Directions on Teaching and Learning on graduate student instructor development and preparation. Kem has published in a number of venues including: The Journal of Higher Education; Journal of Excellence in College Teaching; PLOS ONE, International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions; and EDUCAUSE’s Seeking Evidence of Impact series. He collaborates on a number grant-related initiatives, including serving as a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education project: Transforming Institutions Through STEM Equity Learning Communities (Award: 2215689)


Kem is the co-editor of the Journal for First-Generation Student Success. Kem was elected to the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Core Committee (2021-2024). At the system-level, he contributes to the UC First-Generation Coalition and was the Chair of the UC Center for Teaching and Learning Consortium from 2022-2023. At the campus-level, Kem serves on the Executive Board for the UC Davis Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance


He regularly teaches EDU 398: The Seminar on College Teaching at UC Davis. Kem has also taught courses at the University of Iowa, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.   

Education and Background

Kem earned a PhD Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Iowa. He was named an American Education Research Association (Division J – Postsecondary Education) Emerging Scholar in 2012. Prior to work in education, Kem spent nearly a decade working in mass media.
Twitter: @kem_saichaie