Dear Campus Community,
In my first update, I would like to thank everyone for the warm welcome I have received in this new role. I’ve had the honor of working at UCR since 2005 and am enjoying this new opportunity to serve the campus. I know that I can count on your help as we work together to achieve excellence through UCR’s missions of research, teaching and outreach. I welcome your ideas and feedback - please feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com or stop to chat when you next see me on campus.
Interim Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education
I am very happy that Professor Richard Cardullo has agreed to serve as the Interim Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education. Rich is Professor of Biology and the Howard H. Hays Jr. Chair and Director of University Honors. He previously served as the Associate Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education and therefore is well prepared to take on this leadership role. Rich has received more teaching awards than I can list which reflects his long-term commitment to innovative and engaged pedagogy. I’m grateful that he is taking on this increased responsibility and excited to see what’s next for Undergraduate Education under Rich’s direction.
Each week we are welcoming multiple faculty candidates to campus in our ongoing departmental and cluster searches. The influx of energy and new ideas has been stimulating and I encourage you to participate in the process, especially by attending candidate seminars and sharing your experiences of life at UCR with potential faculty members. You can access the campus-wide schedule of cluster candidate seminars on the Job Talks page of the Provost’s website. This page is only accessible using the UCR network or VPN. If you miss a talk that was filmed, you can access it on the Job Talks Videos page.
We are now in the third year of our ongoing faculty expansion. During this time, we have added more than 140 senate faculty and over 40 clinical faculty. We have expanded to fill most of the research and office space within our existing facilities, and we have experienced some growing pains along the way. The pace of cluster hiring will decrease substantially next year as we collectively catch our breath, focus on much needed renovations, and consult with the Academic Senate, deans and department chairs on how best to complete our planned faculty expansion.
Improved Course Scheduling Policy
Our campus growth is both exciting and challenging. One challenge is accommodating the teaching needs of the growing number of students choosing to attend UCR. Because our classroom capacity is fixed in the near-term, it is important that we make efficient use of our existing space. Last year a workgroup recommended changes to the Registrar’s course scheduling policy to promote more efficient and equitable classroom assignments. This year I have asked a new workgroup chaired by Associate Provost Ken Baerenklau to revisit the policy with input from associate deans, department chairs, faculty, staff and students. This group is beginning its work and expects to make recommendations in fall quarter. Please contact Ken for more information.
Upcoming Call for Online and Hybrid Course Proposals
Online and hybrid courses can provide a mechanism to use classroom space more effectively while also promoting both scheduling flexibility via remote offerings and more engaging instruction through flipped classrooms. Though some UCR faculty are exploring hybrid instruction in which students work through online materials outside of class and spend class time engaged in discussion/problem solving, UCR has not yet embraced this approach in a way that significantly affects course scheduling. For example, if two T/R classes were to both be delivered via a hybrid approach that meets in person one day a week, they could share the same classroom for the in-person component freeing up space for another course. A call for proposals is being developed to provide seed funding for faculty interested in converting a course to an online or flipped format. Watch for the announcement in the coming weeks.
Things are looking more positive with respect to space and facilities. Following consultation with the deans earlier this year, $1 M was reallocated from SIF to help clear the backlog of facilities projects. We have an ambitious plan to renovate classrooms over the summer in Olmsted, Watkins and Sproul Halls to improve the campus instructional environment. Expansion of our research facilities is underway as MRB1 construction continues with ongoing work on the foundation. When completed, this building will house 60 UCR research teams from four colleges. Discussions are under way with a broad group of
stakeholders about how to manage MRB1 laboratory space and I look forward to sharing more details as we make progress on this important issue. Please contact Vice Chancellor Maria Anguiano if you have any questions or would like to provide your input.
Undergraduate Admissions for AY 2017-18
We are in the middle of the undergraduate admissions process, but there is already good news to report. This year UCR received 53,626 applications, a 2.2% increase over 2016. We also received 3.3% more California resident applications for first-year and transfer students than in 2016. We are currently working toward target enrollments of 4500 first-year and 1150 transfer students for Fall 2017. Offers of admission have gone out and our next task as a campus is to recruit a cohort of talented students. Highlander Day, our annual open house for admitted and prospective students and their families, will be held on April 8, and is an important part of our recruitment efforts. There are multiple ways for you to get involved!
First Generation Colleagues
At UCR, we’re proud of our long history of supporting first-generation students. As of fall 2016, first- generation students comprise 58% of new and continuing students at UCR compared to 34% nationally. To increase support for our first-generation students, UCR is participating in a new program through UCOP to increase visibility of first-generation faculty members, staff and alumni. We are launching the first-generation faculty campaign first, due to UCOP funding, and hope to roll out campaigns for staff and alumni soon. Faculty for whom neither parent earned a baccalaureate degree are invited to sign up using this survey. Keep an eye out for shirts, buttons, and stickers that say “#FIRSTGEN COLLEGE GRAD” identifying the many UCR community members who are the first in their families to attend college. This communication campaign is just the first step in our larger plan to build a strong network of first- generation Highlanders.
● Thursday Nights LIVE at the HUB: kick off April 13th at 5:15 pm. Hope to see you there!
● Celebration of Teaching: May 18th 2:00 – 5:00 pm in HUB 302 South featuring the recipients of campus awards for Innovative Teaching, Distinguished Teaching, and more.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor