CNAS dean stepping down

July 19, 2023
Elizabeth Watkins
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
July 19, 2023

Dear Campus Community, 


Kathryn Uhrich, the longest serving Dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) in 40 years, is stepping down effective September 1, 2023. 


Dean Uhrich was appointed in January 2016.  For the past seven and a half years, she has remained steadfastly committed to the pursuit of equity and excellence in research, science education, outreach, and public service. 


Under her leadership, the undergraduate 4-year graduation rate increased by more than 10 percentage points; the total number of degrees awarded increased almost 60 percent; and the faculty became more diverse by race, ethnicity, and gender. CNAS faculty helped UCR claim the top spot in the UC system for percentage of NSF CAREER awards per ladder-rank faculty.  The college grew its total amount of extramural grants from $72.2M in FY2018 to $98.8M in FY2022, an increase of 37 percent that surely contributed to UCR’s acceptance into the Association of American Universities (AAU) this year. 


Two more points of pride: Under Dean Uhrich’s leadership, CNAS raised over $100M during UCR’s Living the Promise campaign, a third of the campus total. She also added 25,000 square feet to the College’s agricultural research infrastructure, bringing the total to some 1.3M gross square feet utilized by CNAS.


In addition to the many accomplishments the college achieved during her tenure, Dr. Uhrich maintained her reputation as an internationally acclaimed chemist. In 2022, she was named a fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Uhrich will take a year of sabbatical to bring her research back up to full speed, and she tells me she is looking forward to returning to teaching and mentoring as a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Chemistry. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Uhrich on her many years of service to UCR and wishing her all the best in this next chapter of her illustrious career.


Peter Atkinson, Professor of Entomology, will serve as Interim Dean while we conduct a national search for the next Dean of the College. Dr. Atkinson served as Divisional Dean of Life Sciences in CNAS from 2012 to 2017 and chaired the Academic Senate Committee on Planning & Budget last year. He shares my deep commitment to CNAS, and during this interim period, he and I will work closely with faculty and staff of to ensure the continued success of all the College’s programs.