Dear Campus Community,

Welcome to spring quarter! It is hard to believe that it has been more than a year since we quickly moved nearly all of our academic operations to remote platforms due to COVID-19. While we will continue to be primarily remote through summer, the recent and ongoing improvements in pandemic conditions are cause for optimism that we’ll be able to return to a substantially more in-person experience in the fall. Please continue reading for more information about fall planning and other ongoing projects in the Provost’s office.

Fall Instructional Planning
The Instructional Continuity Workgroup is one of five workgroups planning our return to more in-person operations in fall quarter. The Instructional Continuity Workgroup is responsible for managing the return to in-person instructional activities and continuing needs for remote instruction. After the release of our fall instruction plans, our workgroup created six subcommittees to tackle remaining challenges:

  • Classroom Technology for Dual Mode Instruction led by Rebecca Hutchins
  • Best Practices for Remote Teaching and Glossary of Terms led by Richard Edwards
  • Student Equity Issues led by Nichi Yes
  • Exam Integrity led by Ken Baerenklau
  • Spaces for On-Campus Students to Attend Remote Classes led by Michelle Butler
  • Adjustments to Senate Regulations led by Jason Stajich

Updates on our work, meeting minutes, and a fall instruction FAQ are available on the Instructional Continuity page on

If you have questions or input on fall instructional planning, please contact Julia McLean (

Strategic Planning
We received campus and community feedback on the penultimate draft of the Strategic Plan in February and into March. We are currently working on a revised draft to present to the Steering Committee in May. Once the changes are accepted by the Steering Committee, the final version will be presented to campus.

UCR Syllabus Repository
The UCR Syllabus Repository, a secure database providing faculty, staff, and students with searchable access to uploaded syllabi, is scheduled to be made available to students on May 1st. All faculty are strongly encouraged to upload their past and current syllabi by Friday, April 30th 2021.

The repository is helpful for faculty who are reviewing and redesigning courses and programs, students who are selecting courses, planning their degrees, and applying for transfer credit, and staff who are responsible for assessment and accreditation, including for the upcoming WASC Special Visit.

Faculty can access the repository by going to or accessing the app in R’Space.

WSCUC Interim Report and Special Visit
As a follow-up to the 2018 institutional reaccreditation process, UCR will have a WSCUC Special Visit in February 2022. This Special Visit is a chance for UCR to address the issues identified in the 2018 Action Letter. The institutional report for this visit is due December 2, 2021, and the visit is scheduled for February 10-11, 2022. More specifics on campus preparations will be available soon on our WASC website.

Provost Office Hours
My next Office Hours session will be on Friday April 16th at 11:00 a.m., co-hosted by Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Mariam Lam. You can register to attend here. This session is part of the Chancellor’s Campus Leadership Virtual Office Hours series. You can find registration links for all five Campus Leadership Office Hours events here.

Transition to Incoming Provost Liz Watkins
Please join me in welcoming Incoming Provost Liz Watkins, who will join UCR on May 1st. Liz has already started meeting regularly with university leaders and attending meetings on topics including strategic planning, campus budgeting, executive hiring, and more. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Liz and will continue working closely with her in an advisory role after May 1 as she transitions into office.



Thomas M. Smith, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
University of California, Riverside