Chancellor’s Update – September 2020

September 24, 2020
Kim A. Wilcox
September 24, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

There’s a type of picture puzzle that challenges observation skills by asking the player to look at two similar photos and identify what’s changed. As we prepare for the start of the fall quarter, I am aware of the many ways this academic year appears different than last. At the same time, I am grateful for the ways our community looks the same. I had a similar message in my Staff and Faculty Welcome message this week; it’s a theme that continues. We may have new technology to support faculty and students and new ways of working. But there’s a thread of commitment to our mission and one another that runs from our past into our present and future. I’m excited to report on several subjects that reflect this spirit.

Employee emergency fund

Understanding that COVID-19 is inflicting great medical and financial harm on individuals and communities, we have created the UCR Employee Emergency Fund to support our community in responding to financial challenges during this crisis.

Eligible employees may request up to $1,000 for a critical, temporary, and unforeseen financial hardship due to COVID-19. Funding provided by the UCR Employee Emergency Fund may only be used to cover eligible expenses incurred on or after March 13, 2020. Examples of expenses include medical expenses not covered by insurance, housing payments, utility bills, child or dependent care expenses, and transportation and parking costs. 

More details about the fund, its use, and eligibility is available here and you’ll find the application here. Applications received by Monday, October 5, 2020, will be given priority consideration.

The UCR COVID-19 Employee Emergency Fund was established with a $300,000 private donation, part of a generous bequest from John C. Hackney, and can be supplemented with additional gifts. By making a donation, even a small one, you can help even more UCR employees who may find themselves in need of support.

U.S. News ranks UCR No. 1 in Social Mobility…again! 

For the second year in a row, U.S. News and World Report has named UCR the No. 1 university in the country for social mobility. The social mobility ranking measures the size of the student population receiving Pell Grants and how well universities performed in graduating those individuals. 

Equally important, UCR moved up another spot to No. 34 in overall public university rankings. I am also proud of this achievement. To continue moving up, after having made America’s fastest rise in rankings just two years ago, is a testament to the work done by every person on campus. Kudos!

Provost search

Over the last few months, the search committee working to fill the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor position has been actively reviewing applications and interviewing candidates. We anticipate an update about finalist visits in October. Thank you to all of the search committee members for the important work you are doing.

Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture

Over the last few years, we have invited some top scholars and leaders to campus for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture. This year, our virtual environment provides the opportunity to think together about inviting speakers to campus who might not normally be available to appear in person. We want your suggestions and encourage you to submit nominations via this online form by October 15. We look forward to continuing this tradition of excellent lecturers in a virtual format in 2021.

The next phase of recovery for Riverside County

This week, Riverside County advanced to the next tier in the state’s coronavirus recovery plan, resulting in the loosening of some restrictions. UCR’s plans remain unchanged at this time. As part of our return to campus framework, after the initial planning announcement, we will not significantly revise plans upward on short notice, which could create challenging situations for students, faculty, and staff.

Fall Quarter Upon Us

Students, though significantly fewer of them than usual, begin moving into UCR housing this weekend. Find out more about traffic impacts to campus here. I would also encourage everyone to watch the video “10 Things to Know about Fall Quarter,” which addresses a range of topics—from instruction to student services to COVID-19 testing. The video contains links to many important resources and may be useful in fielding questions as the quarter begins.

With less than a week until classes start, I know everyone is working diligently to make sure that our unusual fall quarter will provide the same supportive environment where students can reach their educational goals. Thank you for your focus on our mission and students, your work, and your support of one another. When I picture last September and this one, and consider all the adjustments we’ve made, a vibrant community ready to support our students fills the foreground. Thank you.