Message to Students re. Spring Quarter

March 25, 2020
Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Smith
March 25, 2020

Dear UCR Students:

We hope you are staying safe and getting needed rest after a challenging end to winter quarter. 

Over the past two weeks, we have collectively transformed the university into a primarily remote working and learning environment. This change has been nothing short of remarkable; and while there will be some bumps along the way, our campus community’s resiliency has helped make this unprecedented change possible. 

Despite our present circumstances, UCR will not be taking any shortcuts with the change to remote instruction: the same standards that define UCR’s excellence will continue during these challenging times, and all of us remain focused on your continued academic progress. Your faculty is working around the clock to prepare and adjust spring quarter courses, while remaining committed to their groundbreaking research activities. In fact, several faculty members and students in the School of Medicine and across the university are on the frontlines treating patients and advancing research in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

We recognize that you have many questions and concerns as you head into the spring quarter, and we hope to address many of them below.

Tuition and Fees

We have been asked if spring quarter tuition and fees will be adjusted, so we write to clarify the University of California’s approach. Consistent with this letter issued by the UC Office of the President, all tuition and fees remain unchanged for students enrolled during spring quarter. 

We recognize there are continued concerns about campus-based fees during this period of uncertainty. While the current situation is unprecedented, students enrolled in off-campus instructional programs such as the Education Abroad Program or UCDC, for example, are assessed campus-based fees even if they are not physically present on the campus. Thus, remote instruction is determined to be analogous to those off-campus arrangements.

Separate from the tuition and fees described above, UCR is reviewing course materials and services fees to determine if these can be waived for the spring quarter. We plan to finalize those decisions next week so student billing can be appropriately adjusted.

Faculty and Teaching Assistants

Faculty members and TAs will hold virtual office hours and implement a range of approaches that foster communication and promote opportunities for student/faculty collaboration that are the heart of the academy. While the “classroom experience” will be different this spring, your instructors will prioritize academic enrichment; meaningful interaction, connections, and mentorship; and a strong focus on academic rigor. Additionally, academic support services such as tutoring and supplemental instruction will remain available through the spring quarter.

Laboratories and Performance-Based Courses

Developing remote laboratories and performance-based courses is a significant challenge, and faculty members are working with campus experts to satisfy learning objectives. We are consulting with peer universities across the nation to apply best practices in planning remote labs and courses. Each course will develop the academic and technical skills necessary for the growth and development of our students. 

Instructional Quality 

We are making substantial new investments in technology and other tools to support remote learning at a scale never seen before at UC and to ensure that the courses you take in spring quarter will achieve their learning objectives, as they would in any other quarter. The same UCR faculty, lecturers and teaching assistants who deliver in-person instruction will evaluate your work in spring 2020. 

On-Campus Housing and Other Services

Consistent with state and county public health orders, we strongly encourage students to return home, if it is safe to do so. We understand that some of you must remain on campus for various reasons. You are welcome to stay and we will continue to provide services in a modified manner to protect healthy and safety.

Student Health, Counseling and Psychological Services, R’Pantry, and other functions remain available for all students even through the closure.

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid remains committed to supporting you during the spring quarter. The office will continue its operations remotely and is available to serve students by email. If you make any changes to your course schedule or living arrangements, you may submit a revision request in R’Web for your spring financial aid package to be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, we will continue to monitor conditions to ensure that every student has the ability to persist under these challenging and unprecedented circumstances, and we will share further adjustments as information becomes available. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Kim A. Wilcox
Chancellor

Thomas M. Smith
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor