Student success resources

October 1, 2021
Jennifer Brown (Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education) and Jason Stajich (Chair, Academic Senate)
October 1, 2021

Dear UC Riverside Faculty:

The pandemic has drastically impacted the global community, and the students of UC Riverside have not been immune to this turmoil. While some of the challenges brought on by the pandemic were foreseeable — financial hardship, stress and anxiety, widening achievement gaps, loss of learning, and racial inequities have been unpredictable. The long-term impacts are not yet known and the learning recovery path will vary among our students. Since the start of the pandemic, Undergraduate Education has been planning for and responding to these challenges. 

The initiatives that follow aim to amplify our efforts to address the unique needs of UCR’s student population, expand the reach of our internal programs, and strengthen collaborations between campus partners to have the most significant impact on students’ time to degree, retention and persistence, achievement gaps, and transfer success.  

These initiatives help build an ecosystem of learning that encompasses five high-impact practice (HIP) areas:
●      Better Connections for Students
●      Stronger Achievement Outcomes
●      Higher Graduation Rates
●      Increased Satisfaction with the UCR Experience
●      Better Preparation for the Workforce and Graduate School

The following is a list of projects and programs that the campus is implementing to ensure student success. We encourage you to think about how to take advantage of these resources and to share with other colleagues and campus partners about these efforts to support students. 

UE PANDEMIC-RELATED STUDENT SUCCESS INTERVENTIONS

Incentive Grant Interventions 
To help students with increased financial need as a result of the pandemic, UCR has created a fund for students with COVID-related hardships. Grants are up to $1000 to cover bills, housing, and transportation costs to and from campus. 

For more information, contact Kevin Graham, University Innovation Alliance Fellow, Undergraduate Education at kevin.graham@ucr.edu. 

Expansion for Supplemental Instruction, Tutoring, and Early Assist 
Additional tutors and supplemental instruction leaders were added to the Academic Resource Center (ARC) staff in order to support students in courses with higher rates of D and F letter grades or course withdrawals. 

For more information, contact Rena Roberts, Director of the Academic Resource Center at rena.roberts@ucr.edu. 

Academic Resource Center (ARC) Technology Support 
To support online and academic in-person instruction, Undergraduate Education is upgrading the Transfer Success Zone, tutoring bays, meeting rooms, supplemental instruction classrooms and ARC 35 in the Academic Resource Center.   

For more information, contact Rena Roberts, Director of the Academic Resource Center at rena.roberts@ucr.edu; Richard Edwards, Director of Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Engagement (XCITE)/Undergraduate Education at richard.edwards@ucr.edu; or Israel Fletes, Director of Academic Technology, XCITE/Undergraduate Education at israel.fletes@ucr.edu. 

Peer Mentor Expansion 
HEERF funds were used to expand the number of peer mentors in the ARC, Chicano Student Programs, African Student Programs, Office of Foster Youth Support Services, and the six undergraduate colleges and schools. Peer mentors help students with pre-advising for STEM majors and research opportunities, develop a sense of belonging, and persist in studies. 

For more information, contact Kevin Graham, University Innovation Alliance Fellow, Undergraduate Education at kevin.graham@ucr.edu; Rena Roberts, Director of the Academic Resource Center at rena.roberts@ucr.edu; Jennifer Brown, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at vpdue@ucr.edu; or Shonte Thomas, Associate Dean of Students of Ethnic and Gender Programs, Student Affairs, Dean of Students at shonte.thomas@ucr.edu. 

Highlander Early Start Academy (HESA) Expansion 
The HESA summer bridge program helps incoming first-year students to complete course work (earning 8-10 units), participate in community building programming like peer mentoring, and become acclimated to the university in the summer immediately before their first year. We have expanded HESA by 50% for incoming first-year students and increased HESA scholarships. The HESA program runs during summer sessions. This program has already completed its goal for the incoming class. However, if you have questions, contact Rena Roberts, Director of the Academic Resource Center at rena.roberts@ucr.edu. 

Welcome Week Plus
To mitigate the impact of 20 months of remote instruction, we added enhanced activities to support new first-year students, transfer students, and current sophomores in navigating the campus for the first time. Programs included re-orientation for 2020-2021 cohorts, “Ask Me” information tents across campus, and expanded tours and expanded HOSS hours. These events have occurred leading up to fall term. 

For more information, contact Thomas Dickson, Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education at thomas.dickson@ucr.edu; Ellen Whitehead, Interim Associate Dean, Campus Life at ellen.whitehead@ucr.edu; Heather Correa, Coordinator Orientation and First Year Programs at heather.correa@ucr.edu; or Jennifer Brown, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at vpdue@ucr.edu.     

Instructional Continuity Consultants
Instructional Continuity Consultants (ICCs) are a team of nearly 50 graduate students that work with XCITE to support UCR faculty and assist UCR in maintaining its high instructional standards during these challenging times. ICCs have been hired and trained by XCITE during fall 2021 to help instructors merge their pedagogical needs with new tools and technologies.

For more information, contact Richard Edwards, Director of Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Engagement (XCITE)/Undergraduate Education at richard.edwards@ucr.edu; Israel Fletes, Director of Academic Technology, XCITE/Undergraduate Education at israel.fletes@ucr.edu; or Jennifer Brown, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at vpdue@ucr.edu.     

Piazza 
UCR has acquired a three-year license for Piazza, which is a platform that allows instructors to rapidly assess learning loss early in the course with in-depth assessment tools to determine learning issues that require additional personalized instructor-based mitigation and remediation strategies. Piazza is already integrated with the Canvas learning management system for simple student roster integration.

For more information, contact Richard Edwards, Director of Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Engagement (XCITE)/Undergraduate Education at richard.edwards@ucr.edu; Israel Fletes, Director of Academic Technology, XCITE/Undergraduate Education at israel.fletes@ucr.edu; or Jennifer Brown, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at vpdue@ucr.edu.     

Rooms for Increasing Student Engagement (RISE) 
Information Technology Solutions (ITS) has updated 110 general assignment classrooms with new video cameras, document cameras, and audio equipment in preparation for the campus reopening in fall 2021. Instructors who use these rooms will be able to teach a course online and in-person at the same time; additionally, all students will be able to interact with each other and view the instructor’s teaching materials, in real-time. Faculty members can choose to share their classes with remote participants live via Zoom, or they can record their courses in YuJa and post lectures on iLearn or eLearn. For more information, contact Michael Capriotti, Manager, Multimedia Technologies at michael.capriotti@ucr.edu or Rebecca Hutchins, Associate CIO, Service Assessment & Promotion at rebecca.hutchins@ucr.edu.

SCHOOL/COLLEGE INTERVENTIONS

Expanding Writing Support (SOE)  
Additional funding will support an increase in the writing center support staff to assist the coming influx of students who will require writing assistance. 

For more information, contact Louie F. Rodriguez, Interim Dean of the School of Education at louie.rodriguez@ucr.edu or Robert Ream, Interim Associate Dean of the School of Education at robert.ream@ucr.edu. 

Supplemental Instruction Program Funding for Office Academic Success (SOM)
Additional support was added to onboard and train tutors to offer tutoring and supplemental instruction for medical students as well as one-on-one advising from two full-time learning specialists. 

For more information, contact Christina M. Granillo, Director of Academic Success, UCR School of Medicine at christina.granillo@ucr.edu. 

Essential Field Experiences for Undergraduates-Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences (CNAS)  
To provide field experiences for cohorts of students who missed field training activities, a spring break 2022 course will be led by multiple faculty. Additionally, ancillary weekend and early summer field mapping and geophysical surveying experiences will be offered in winter, spring and early summer of 2022. Experiences are designed to help students complete preparation and eligibility for meeting requirements of State Geology Board licensure as well as expectations of likely industry and government employers.

For more information, contact Connie Nugent, CNAS Divisional Dean for Student Academic Affairs at studentdeancnas@ucr.edu. 

BCOE Peer Mentors
Twenty additional peer mentors will be added to help combat attrition of second-year students. Learning modules with additional content specifically tailored to students who missed critical lab hours during the campus shutdown are also being created. Also, a new program will allow 40 students to gain research experience that was missed because of the pandemic. 

For more information, contact Marko Princevac, Interim Vice Provost of International Affairs at marko.princevac@ucr.edu or Roderick Smith, Director of BCOE Student Affairs at roderick.smith@ucr.edu. 

Master of Public Policy Student Tutoring
Supporting Master of Public Policy students experiencing learning loss and risk of delayed graduation as a result of the pandemic, two additional TAs at 50% for 3 quarters (fall 2021-spring 2022) will help students with tutoring and guidance in Geographical Information System (GIS), data literacy (data management, data cleaning, data analysis), statistical software, and writing.

For more information, contact Anil B. Deolalikar, Dean of the School of Public Policy at anil.deolalikar@ucr.edu or Kurt Schwabe, Associate Dean and Professor, Environmental Economics & Policy at kurt.schwabe@ucr.edu. 

Stop-out Student Re-engagement   
To create a pathway for return of “stop-outs” (students who stopped attending UCR due to the pandemic and its effects), we are utilizing systematic outreach targeting 15% of stop-out students and offering tuition remission for single concurrent classes via University Extension (UNEX).

For more information, contact Annette Webb, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, UNEX at awebb@ucx.ucr.edu or Kevin Graham, University Innovation Alliance Fellow, Undergraduate Education at kevin.graham@ucr.edu. 

Increased Support for Peer Academic Advising (PAA)
To provide advising services to first-year and transfer students who have yet to receive traditional in-person advising as a result of remote learning, current UCR students will serve as Peer Academic Advisors. Their responsibilities include serving as a first point of contact, providing resource referrals, answering questions about major/minor requirements, and supporting with petitions and forms. 

For more information, contact Richard Edwards, Director of Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Engagement (XCITE)/Undergraduate Education at richard.edwards@ucr.edu; Israel Fletes, Director of Academic Technology, XCITE/Undergraduate Education at israel.fletes@ucr.edu. You may also contact any of the Associate Deans/SAMS of each college or school.

Advising Conference Room Upgrades   
Conference room technologies have been upgraded to support simultaneous remote and in-person advising in the below rooms.
•    CNAS—Pierce Hall 2301
•    CHASS—Humanities 1500
•    SOE—Sproul 1215
•    BUSINESS—Anderson 105
•    SPP—Sproul 1223

For more information, contact Richard Edwards, Director of Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Engagement (XCITE)/Undergraduate Education at richard.edwards@ucr.edu; Israel Fletes, Director of Academic Technology, XCITE/Undergraduate Education at israel.fletes@ucr.edu. You may also contact any of the Associate Deans/SAMS of each college or school.

Research Opportunities for Undergraduate Students (CNAS)    
Research support will be provided to support hands-on UCR faculty-mentored research during the 2021-2022 academic year and summer 2022. A $500 faculty stipend can be used to purchase research materials and equipment, services, human research participant incentives, relevant memberships, and conferences for the students. A $5,000 undergraduate stipend plus $500 administrative cost per student may be used for additional summer research positions in programs such as Summer Research in Science Experience. Administrative cost includes materials for student participation such as poster printing and symposium costs.

For more information, contact Connie Nugent, CNAS Divisional Dean for Student Academic Affairs at studentdeancnas@ucr.edu. 

UCR remains committed to student success. As the academic year begins, we hope you will continue to engage with us about student success initiatives. Thank you for the commitment to UCR and to our students.

Thank you.