Dear Campus Community,
Wow. What a year!
I returned to the office yesterday from Washington D.C. where I met with First Lady Jill Biden after introducing Senator Alex Padilla at a press conference recognizing 10 years of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) alongside U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. and other members of Congress. Both events reinforced the importance of educational access. I was proud to share with leaders the work we do at UC Riverside on behalf of our DREAMer students as well as other immigrant and underrepresented populations.
Access is foundational to the UCR story, as is academic accomplishment. And, in the 2021-22 school year, UCR led at the intersection of both. As promised in last month’s message, below you will find an impressive list of achievements during the last 12 months. There are hundreds of others not on this list. We acknowledge and delight in each. But knowing the impossible task of capturing everything, I wanted to at least share a fraction of highlights that reflect how we are fulfilling our mission in support of our community, the region, and California.
UCR 2021-2022: A PARTIAL LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
For Fall 2021, we enrolled 26,847 undergraduate and graduate students, representing a 1.6% increase over the previous year.
Most notable, our new graduate student enrollment increased by 13.8%.
RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP
Fourteen faculty members received NSF CAREER Awards, a UCR record.
Eight graduate students received Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAAN) awards.
Four faculty members received honors from the National Academy of Inventors.
One faculty member was named to the National Academy of Engineering.
Four UC Riverside professors were elected 2021 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
One associate professor became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
One professor was named National Heritage Fellow.
Two professors received Guggenheim awards.
Another was one of 10 Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Scholars chosen by the National Academy of Medicine.
UCR faculty received half of the annual awards from the Entomological Society of America. The society has more than 7,000 members and gives out 10 awards a year. UCR faculty received 5 of them.
In the year ending June 2021, our research funding had grown to $238M (when excluding CARES for both 2020 and 2021), a 19% increase over FY20.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
In October, UCR was certified with the Seal of Excelencia and designated a Fulbright HSI Leader by the U.S. Department of State, becoming just one of five elite R1 HSIs to receive both distinctions.
More recently, UCR was one of 10 American Talent Initiative members to be included as a Kessler Scholar Institution.
And in the Washington Monthly rankings, it was revealed that UCR graduated the second highest number of Pell Grant students in the country.
Completion of the Student Success Center, Plant Research Facility I, North District phase one, and a new parking structure along with renovations of Pierce Hall and development of the state-of-the-art Medical Simulation Suite at Orbach Library expanded what we can do for students and created new opportunities for research.
We also broke ground on the Medical Education Building II and the Student Health and Counseling Center.
In the US News rankings, UCR was no. 1 in social mobility for the third year in a row. Additionally, we moved up one spot to rank no. 33 among public universities. We also moved up 16 spots to rank no. 26 in the most innovative category, which is based on peer surveys and represents the way other higher education leaders view our institution.
Princeton Review named UCR among the top 25 public universities for best value.
The Third Way think tank created an economic mobility index that ranks schools based on how long it takes students to earn return on educational investment. UCR ranked no. 18.
UCR also moved into the top 50 public universities in the college rankings system from The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, up 184 positions in the last 5 years.
The work we are doing at UCR continues to gain attention nationally. In addition to the events mentioned at the top of this message, Department of Education Secretary Cardona featured UCR students and programs in a virtual discussion about student mental health. Other national leaders who visited campus this past year include Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Marty Walsh, Labor Secretary; and U.S. Representatives Takano and Ruiz.
As you read the above message, I hope you see yourself and your colleagues reflected in the effort. While some of the achievements represent individual work, it takes an entire community to soar in rankings and gain national attention the way we have over the last few years. Thank you for your incredible work to make all of these things possible. With so many accomplishments during a year when we continued to navigate a pandemic in new ways each quarter, I can’t wait to see what this coming year holds.
40 UNDER 40
In addition to what’s been happening on campus, UCR alumni are making extraordinary strides in their post-graduation lives. An Olympic champion, Emmy award winner, entrepreneurial leaders, and champions for health and the environment are among the alumni highlighted in UCR’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. In the Spring issue of UCR Magazine, you’ll find inspiring profiles that connect back to the work we do.
In 1993, UCR became the first campus in California to staff an LGBT office. While we are proud of this legacy and the progress made since that time, the word “pride” deserves a place in the present. We remain committed to supporting LGBTQI+ students, employees, alumni, and friends. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQI+ community or an ally, you’ll find information about events and resources to celebrate Pride and fight discrimination at out.ucr.edu.
This coming Sunday is Juneteenth, the day when enslaved African American people in Texas received news of the Emancipation Proclamation, which had gone into effect more than two years earlier. The day is both a celebration of African American culture and a reminder that freedom has been and remains an uneven experience. While none of us can undo the past, all of us have the opportunity to take actions each day to make change in support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. As we observe the Juneteenth holiday on Monday, please take time to recognize the wide-ranging contributions of African Americans to our culture and especially, in the fight for equality and freedom for all.