Chancellor's Update - September 2021

September 29, 2021
Kim A. Wilcox
September 29, 2021

Last year, I watched construction on the Student Success Center from a live feed. Now, for several months, I have observed progress from my office in Hinderaker Hall. Shortly before we began the fall quarter, I toured the space, which is stunning. Architectural details and design elements in the building relate directly to the work we do. 

A grand stairway provides example of how we support our community in climbing to new heights in education and research. Windows shine light throughout common spaces for collaboration as if to remind us of our University of California motto, fiat lux, or let there be light. And of course, the additional seats for learning, teaching, and discovery are evidence of growth. The structure is new but our focus on student success is built into the foundation and in the UC Riverside culture.

#1 in social mobility, three years in a row
For the third year in a row, US News and World Report ranked UCR #1 in student social mobility in their 2022 rankings. UCR also moved up five spots in overall rankings and up one spot to rank #33 among public universities. In the most innovative category, UCR moved up 16 spots to #26. That last one is particularly impressive because it is based on peer surveys and represents the way higher education leaders view our institution. 

Congratulations to each of you on these numbers, which are fueled by your commitment and the work you do every day.

The important work of staff organizations
Our continued advancement in rankings and growth would not be possible without the tremendous staff at UCR. One of the ways we can support our staff is through support of staff organizations. Groups like Staff Assembly contribute to a healthy campus climate by fostering equity of experience and ensuring that staff, students, and faculty of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome, and included.
Participation in staff organizations is work on behalf of the university, not volunteer work. Staff should have time during their regular workday to do this as part of their jobs.
Whether you are actively participating in a staff organization or a supervisor ensuring your team members have time to participate, thank you for your support of these important groups and our amazing staff.

Coffee socials return
Over the summer, we held weekly coffee socials on Tuesday mornings. Maybe it was the coffee, maybe it was the donuts, maybe it was the produce cart from R’garden, or maybe it was the opportunity to connect with people we hadn’t seen or met in person in many months—whatever the reason, the socials were a hit. As a result, these will return beginning Tuesday, October 5 at 9 a.m. in the courtyard outside of The Barn. We will continue these each Tuesday through November 16. Thank you to Staff Assembly for management of this activity during the fall.

Chancellor’s open office hours for staff and faculty, October 7 at 11 a.m.
I look forward to talking with staff and faculty at a virtual office hours event next week. This event is designed to be an interactive, cameras-on conversation. All are welcome to register, and the group will be limited to the first 100 registrants to promote greater interaction and conversation. Please register by September 30 and submit your questions by clicking here

Thank you for vaccinating
With more than 92.7% of students and 81.6% of employees getting the COVID-19 vaccine, our community has reached a combined 91% vaccination rate. Thank you for your commitment to health and safety, allowing us to resume our work as a residential university. But there is still work to be done.  For those who have not yet been vaccinated, I encourage you to do so.  It will be good for the entire campus.  

Minding our mental health too
The move to primarily in-person classes represents a significant adjustment after 18 months that was marked by a pandemic, lockdowns, varying levels of isolation, financial challenges, social unrest, and a range of personal losses. As individuals and as a community, we have faced much throughout this time. As we make this next adjustment, I hope each of you will take care of your own mental needs while also remaining mindful of the needs of students and colleagues. 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which provides services for students, has developed a guide for assisting students in distress. The Red Folder, as it is called, contains valuable information about what to observe, what to say, and what to do. Additionally, it has a quick resource guide with contact information for a long list of services. Please familiarize yourself with our protocols so that you will be able to assist a student if needed. 

CAPS can be reached at 951-827-5531, 24 hours a day, or by visiting Student Affairs Case Managers can also offer support and guidance at or 951-827-5000. For additional questions about student resources, please contact

For faculty and staff, resources for counseling services are available through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program or at 866-615-3047.

Understanding how we can support one another is a defining characteristic of this community. As we start fall quarter, I’m grateful and thankful to work with such a strong, thoughtful, and caring group of people.