Chancellor's Update -- March 2024

March 22, 2024
Kim A. Wilcox
March 22, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

This week I had a chance to climb a nearby street to a place where I had an aerial view of campus. I have often ventured there on my bike and enjoy the perspective it provides. 

In many areas of the country, spring is largely recognized as a season of new growth. But living in a state that produces fruits and vegetables year-round and working on a campus that began as a citrus experiment station, the seasonal change can seem less impactful than in areas where bare trees and frozen ground lay dormant throughout winter. Of course, the wild poppies painting hillsides in their bright orange and yellow hues signal a shift, in case we forget what time of year it is.

The chance to look at campus from above reminded me of the many ways that UC Riverside seems to be having its own kind of super bloom. As we close out winter quarter and prepare for the busy and exciting activity that marks our march toward the end of the academic year, I have a few announcements that represent our vibrancy and growth.

Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Facility

On Wednesday, the UC Board of Regents approved the budget and plans for the Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Facility. The new classroom building supports UCR’s academic mission with modern classrooms, studios, and instructional laboratory space as well as office and study space. As we continue to make progress on this exciting project, we will share more details.

Professor Gerald Clarke appointed Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American Affairs

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Gerald Clarke who will serve as Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American Affairs. In his new position, Professor Clarke will serve as a liaison for university administration on matters related to the university's Indigenous population and assist campus leadership in developing a strategy and plan to better support Native American community relations, both internal and external.

In addition to advocating and advising on behalf of the interests and needs of Native American students, faculty, and staff, he will help coordinate community engagement and the creation of lasting impact that will build better partnerships with Native American tribes, organizations, and leaders.

Professor Clarke is an enrolled member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians and lives on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation. When not creating artwork or serving as Professor of Ethnic Studies at UCR, he oversees the Clarke family cattle ranch and remains heavily involved in Cahuilla culture. He is a frequent lecturer, speaking about Native art, culture and issues. He serves on the Cahuilla Tribal Council and works on issues affecting the tribe. When not working, Clarke participates in Bird Singing, a traditional form of singing that tells the cosmology of the Cahuilla people. 

Professor Clarke received his B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Central Arkansas and his M.A. and M.F.A. in Painting and Sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University. 

Please join me in welcoming and supporting Professor Clarke in his new role.

UCR Give Day returns April 3

Now in its second year, UCR Give Day invites students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends to show some Highlander pride by donating to support our mission in myriad ways. Last year we raised $512,670 cumulatively across campus. This year, we need your help to beat that and ensure forward progress on campus for the causes you care about most. Below are a few ways you can help us reach our goal.

•    First, we are grateful for any gift you can make. Gifts of every size matter. 

•    If you decide to make a gift, please encourage two friends to give too. 

•    Together, if 385 faculty and staff donate $10 or more to any area on campus, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union will donate $10,000 to the UCR Fund.

•    The latest edition of the UCR Magazine has a Give Day badge on page 33. Cut yours out, write in the area you’re supporting this Give Day, snap a photo, and post it on social media. If you don’t have a copy of UCR Magazine, you can download and print your badge here.

For more information, visit

UCR to sign Okanagan Charter on April 30

UCR will sign onto the Okanagan Charter in a ceremony held on April 30. The Charter is an initiative that asks participating universities and colleges to incorporate health into all aspects of their institutions and lead health promotion in their communities around the world.

There are various ways we can put this into action. One way is to review campus policies and practices with attention to health, well-being, and sustainability. Another is to ensure that services provide equitable access and opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to thrive. And, as a research university, we can contribute directly to healthy communities through our research and innovation. 

More information is available on the website

Meeting with each of you

It’s been over four years since we learned we would need to adjust our operations for remote learning and teaching. During the pandemic, I was able to occasionally meet with groups virtually or in one-way communication via video. But for several years, I missed the opportunity for in-person engagement and opportunities to listen.

In March, I started inviting small groups of faculty and staff to the residence. If you haven’t been invited yet, please know we are just working through a long list of staff and faculty. I look forward to meeting with each of you who dedicate yourselves to the mission of our great university.