Chancellor’s Update -- April 2023

April 24, 2023
Kim A. Wilcox
April 24, 2023

There’s a lot of news to share this month. So, let’s commence…

Commencement 2023—Bigger and Better
This year, in response to feedback, UC Riverside is enhancing the Commencement experience for graduates, guests, faculty, staff, and University friends by hosting ceremonies at Toyota Arena for those receiving their bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Teacher Credential. Events will occur between Tuesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 22, organized according to school or college.
There are many reasons to applaud this change. First, Toyota Arena provides an indoor, air-conditioned venue and stadium seating with improved sightlines to see graduates. Next, the increase in seating capacity allows graduates to invite more guests (8 to 11 per graduate, depending on the ceremony) and accommodates growing cohort sizes. Finally, Toyota Arena manages ticket scanning, security, and guest services, which allows the UCR University Events and Commencement teams to focus on graduates and the actual ceremonies. 
Another feature this year is the addition of Senior SendOff, an event hosted by Alumni Engagement on Thursday, May 25 from 4-7 p.m. on Rivera Lawn. The event will provide a time for graduates to pick up Commencement tickets, grad gifts, and alumni swag while learning about alumni resources and activating their alumni association membership.
Two ceremonies—the School of Medicine Commencement and Hippocratic Oath ceremony and the Graduate Division Hooding for Ph.D. and M.F.A. candidates—will continue to be held on campus as noted below.
Friday, June 2 at 6 p.m.
School of Medicine Commencement and Hippocratic Oath Ceremony
Student Recreation Center North, Main Gymnasium
Saturday, June 3 at 9 a.m.
Graduate Division Hooding Ceremony (Ph.D. and M.F.A. candidates)
For more information, including exact dates and times of ceremonies, please visit the Commencement website
Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture is May 9
The 54th Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture featuring leading voices in news and media returns May 9 as an on-campus event with Los Angeles Times executive editor Kevin Merida. In June 2021, the journalist, author, editor, and executive became the newsroom leader for the Times, Times Community News, and Los Angeles Times en Español. 
Previously, Merida served as Senior Vice President at ESPN, where he oversaw “E:60” and “Outside the Lines” while also launching the Undefeated, a multimedia platform exploring the intersection of race, sports, and culture. He also spent 22 years at The Washington Post where he led the organization to four Pulitzer Prizes as managing editor.
Deans Daryle Williams and Joi Spencer will join Merida to emcee the event and moderate questions and answers, respectively. 
Please register to attend the event which will be held on May 9 at University Theater from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A reception at the Barn will take place prior to the lecture at 5 p.m.
Faculty Research Lecture is May 26
Each year, the UC Riverside Academic Senate gives out a number of awards including the Faculty Research Lecturer award, which is considered the highest honor that the Academic Senate bestows. Received for a distinguished research record, the recipient is invited to deliver a lecture to the campus. 
Distinguished chemistry Professor Francisco Zaera received the 2021-22 Faculty Research Lecturer award. He will deliver a talk titled, “Why Should You Care About the Chemistry that Happens on Solid Surfaces?” on May 26 at the Alumni and Visitors Center’s Redmond Dining Room from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. A reception on the patio will follow the lecture. 
We hope you can join us to learn more about the chemistry of solid surfaces and the research Professor Zaera conducts.
Everything old is new again
We frequently share excitement about campus building expansion in our communications. But there’s an even longer list of renovation projects that don’t typically receive the same fanfare. 
Yet, upgrades and renewals preserve campus history while supporting our community with needed technology and infrastructure, often improving energy and water efficiency. In other words, these projects are good for community members, good for the environment, and good for our budget. For example, in 2022/2023 after implementing improvements, we realized $1.1 million in utility savings even though we had added 125,000 additional square feet that year. 
Below is a partial list of improvements in process now or planned for later in 2023 and 2024.
•    Roofing projects in buildings across campus
•    Mechanical infrastructure and Steam Plant distribution system and energy efficiency 
•    Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) upgrades 
•    Campus primary power and electrical infrastructure
•    Greenhouse upgrades 
•    West Campus irrigation infrastructure 
•    Automated doors for building access 
•    Elevators in several buildings 
•    Gender inclusive restrooms  
•    Repair and preservation of historic tiling in the Museum of Photography 
Kudos and thank you to the teams in Facilities and Planning, Design, and Construction for their important work to improve campus spaces.
5-year Reviews
Since we are currently in performance review season, I want to comment on the purpose of 5-year reviews for senior campus leaders and how those differ from annual performance reviews.
Occasionally, you will receive an announcement soliciting feedback for a member of the senior management group (SMG) as part of the five-year review. 
Unlike academic appointments, senior managers are at-will employees, they have no appointment term. Thus, the review does not determine whether the individual should continue in their current position. Instead, the five-year review is an opportunity for a confidential committee to assess progress toward campus and unit goals as well as individual accomplishments, challenges, and administrative effectiveness. 
After the committee provides a final report, the Chancellor or Provost, depending on reporting structure, utilizes the information for managerial coaching and strategic goal setting.
Members of the SMG also participate in annual reviews receiving assessment on common criteria and annual goals like all other non-represented staff. The five-year review offers a chance for holistic evaluation and strategic re-alignment to campus goals, if needed.
As we roll toward the end of the academic year, thank you for your work to celebrate research, ideas, students, and our dedicated community.