Chancellor’s Update — January 2021

January 27, 2021
Kim A. Wilcox
January 27, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

When considering adjectives to describe the last year, the word “newsy” certainly applies. The convergence of a pandemic, raised consciousness about social injustice and inequalities, budget challenges, and our determination to not only persevere but to seek higher ideals, has generated a lot of campus news. I’ve often expressed gratitude, inspired by the ways our community has pulled together amid difficulty, but what we’ve achieved is so much more than that. Over the last few weeks, you’ve received several messages with operational news. Today, I’m excited to share a different kind of update, one with a series of events and opportunities to celebrate new milestones and progress and map our path forward together.  

Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture
We are excited to welcome José Hernández, former NASA Astronaut and President and CEO of Tierra Luna Engineering, LLC, as the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture speaker on Wednesday, February 10 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. I hope you will join me to hear Mr. Hernández address, "How to Thrive in Today’s Challenging Environment.” Guillermo Aguilar, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, will also host a question-and-answer session with our distinguished lecturer. You can register to attend the virtual event here

“Living the Promise” Campaign Celebration Weekend
During the weekend of February 18-20, a series of events will mark the successful close of our first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. The celebration begins on February 18 at 6 p.m. with “Future Perfect: A Conversation with LeVar Burton” and ends on Saturday evening with a toast to the generous community that helped us successfully raise more than $300 million, followed by a virtual R&B concert. Other events include panel discussions on the future of higher education (moderated by yours truly) and the world-shaping power of philanthropy. A happy hour on Friday night will feature cocktail demonstrations, alumni trivia, and fun facts about UCR’s citrus research. On the Living the Promise event series site, you’ll find more details about the program along with a link to register for one event or all.

Virtual Office Hours
During Winter quarter we are again providing a series of office hours with senior leadership. Each session provides an opportunity to ask questions and discuss important campus topics. We invite you to submit your questions here. Dates, times, and host details along with a link to register are listed below.

2/1, 4-5 p.m.: Deborah Deas, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences & Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the School of Medicine; David Bergquist, Chief Campus Counsel           

2/5, 9-10 a.m.: Thomas Smith, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Rodolfo Torres, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development 

2/11, 4-5 p.m.: Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox                       

2/17, 3-4 p.m.: Brian Haynes, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Gerry Bomotti, Vice Chancellor for Planning, Budget, and Administration

2/22, 3-4 p.m.: Peter Hayashida, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and Mariam Lam, Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer 

Strategic Plan
This past fall, the Strategic Planning Committee assembled a final plan with input from each subcommittee. Now, the in final stage of development, we have completed the penultimate draft, which will be released soon by the Provost for public review and comment. As we publish the draft, we hope you will take time to review it and offer your comments.   

Campus Safety Task Force Update
In September, I established the Campus Safety Task Force to evaluate how we secure our campus and provide safety for all members of our community. The task force has been working diligently to prepare their draft report and recommendations, now available on the website. Feedback is welcome through this online feedback form. All members of the campus community are also invited to register and participate in a virtual town hall discussion on Friday, February 5 at 11 a.m.  

Employee Emergency Fund
While we continue to advance as a university, we also remain in the fight against COVID-19 and its impact. In response to the financial difficulty the pandemic has created for many of our colleagues, we established the UCR Employee Emergency Fund with a $300,000 bequest from John Hackney, UCR class of 1964. Eligible employees may request up to $1,000 for a critical, temporary, and unforeseen financial hardship due to COVID-19. More information is available through Human Resources.

To date, we have received more than 430 requests—more than we could fulfill. As a result, in December I issued a challenge to raise another $100,000 so we can continue supporting UCR employees. We are more than halfway there, having raised more than $58,000. If you are in a position to give, please consider a contribution. Your donation, at any amount, will help your fellow colleagues who are facing financial difficulty. 

Thank you for all you are doing to support our work as a leading public research university. Over the next few months, I look forward to seeing you in our virtual spaces as we keep taking steps forward, distanced but connected, in this resilient community.