Dear Campus Community,
As we approach the end of the academic year, I have been reflecting on all we have experienced together in one year. Four months ago, we were just beginning to receive and administer vaccines through UCR Health. In the previous months, some California counties, including Riverside, had temporary curfews in place to limit movement. But by late February, we had begun to open vaccination appointments to employees. And in early March, all employees were eligible to receive vaccines.
Now, in just a couple weeks, we will end the year with limited in-person commencement activities along with virtual events. As graduations wrap, we will enter a new phase of reopening in California and continue to shift.
We know we have some members of our community who are unable to receive vaccines. If you have not yet received a vaccine but are able, we ask that you consider the health and safety of those who can’t and please get vaccinated. If you have completed your vaccination series, I encourage you to submit the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracking Form.
Thank you to all the Fall Planning Working Group members who have been addressing issues and challenges of a fuller campus re-opening along with everyone who is providing input to these groups. Over the past month, each of the groups has delivered briefings to update the campus on their progress.
• Instructional Continuity
• Research Ramp-up
• Student Services
• Operational Continuity
• COVID Management (live stream on 5/27 at 11 a.m.)
On campusreturn.ucr.edu, you can find the latest announcements, video links, and other information about what to expect for a safe return to campus. I encourage you to bookmark and visit the site frequently for new updates.
As I mentioned above, Commencement is just around the corner. The schedule for both the virtual ceremonies and the in-person graduate recognition events are available on the Commencement site. We hope you’ll watch the virtual event and celebrate our resilient graduates and those who taught, mentored, and otherwise supported their success.
Remembering George Floyd
May 25 marked a year since George Floyd’s death. In a public message, President Drake wrote, “This past year in particular — with international public reckoning over racial injustice, and the disproportionate public health and economic impacts of the pandemic on people of color — leaves us keenly aware of the challenges we face in returning to a forever altered world.”
We have much work to do. We are nowhere close to done with efforts to fight racism and advance inclusion.
Thank You, Staff Assembly
Last week at the Staff Assembly's Spring General Meeting and Service Milestone Recognition Ceremony, I was honored to receive the Outstanding Senior Leadership Award from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA). If you attended the event, you had a chance to witness my emotional response. Thank you to the UC Riverside Staff Assembly for the nomination and award presentation.
A University Ready for The Future
Each year when we produce the Commencement program, we include a partial listing of milestones, recognition, and research that has occurred over the last year. During a pandemic, we have managed to grow enrollment, improve graduation rates, secure a record number of research dollars, complete our first comprehensive campaign, receive some of our largest ever research grants, graduate our first companies from the ExCITE incubator, welcome new startups to the UC Riverside Life Sciences Incubator, and…on and on and on.
Though we have encountered a unique set of challenges in the last year, we have risen to meet each one because we had been preparing for future needs all along. As we continue to flex with each change, I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be than with all of you at UCR. Thank you for the work you do each day and your continued efforts to embrace what’s next.