A Visit to D.C. at Cherry Blossom Time Means Higher Profile for UC Riverside

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox traveled to Washington, D.C., April 7 through 9 as part of UCR’s effort to raise its profile at the national level, as it relates to research as well as student access and success.

During meetings with Members of Congress from the Inland Empire, including Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Raul Ruiz, and Rep. Ken Calvert, Chancellor Wilcox emphasized UCR’s research strengths, conveyed his vision for the campus, and discussed UCR’s commitment to serving its students and the community.

Kim A. Wilcox stops by the Cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.

Kim A. Wilcox stops by the Cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.

The Chancellor also advocated support for strong funding of various federal research agencies regarding issues of importance to students, such as Pell Grants. He also met with former UCR Chancellor France Córdova, who recently took office as director of the National Science Foundation, a major funder of UCR research.

While in DC, Chancellor Wilcox also attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education, eligible because UCR is one of four institutions in the nation that is both a “very high research university” and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. This designation means the campus is eligible for certain large federal grants, as well as student internships.

In an effort to tell UCR’s story at the national level, the Chancellor met with journalists at the Chronicle of Higher Education and at Inside Higher Ed, providing context about what one university in Southern California can do to make a difference nationally.

Kim A. Wilcox in Washington D.C.

Kim A. Wilcox in Washington D.C.

An interview with Sara Hebel of the Chronicle of Higher Education resulted in a story that says: “Graduation rates are nearly the same for students across racial and income groups at the University of California at Riverside. In a recent conversation with The Chronicle, Kim A. Wilcox, Riverside’s chancellor, discussed what works and what doesn’t for improving student success, and what’s at risk if the nation’s colleges do not do a better job of bridging socioeconomic divides.” A video of the full interview is available online.

Part of UCR’s story about student success is its participation in the “University Innovations Alliance.”  UCR is one of 11 public research institutions committed to confronting a major challenge facing the American economy in the decades ahead — an undereducated workforce — by dramatically increasing collegiate degree attainment rates, particularly for under-represented and low income students.

With cooperation from the Lumina, Ford and Gates foundations, each university will adopt three to five innovations to test and scale during the grant period. Each innovation will be drawn from what one of the campuses is already doing. In UCR’s case, first-year learning experience programs will be considered a model project.

The alliance was one of the topics discussed by Chancellor Wilcox during an event that attracted approximately 75 alumni from the Washington, D.C., area, including UCR graduates Rep. Mark Takano (MFA, 2010) and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta (BA, 1978).

“My goal in these meetings has been to tell the UCR story,” Wilcox said. “Our campus is uniquely positioned to demonstrate the importance of the public university in the nation’s economic and scientific strength and, at the same time, to provide a quality educational experience to a diverse population of students.”

UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox meets with Rep. Ken Calvert during a visit to Washington D.C.

UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox meets with Rep. Ken Calvert during a visit to Washington D.C.

Chancellor Wilcox also visited Washington, D.C., in late March to join other leaders from the University Innovations Alliance.  The group was invited to a meeting with White House officials from the Domestic Policy Council, which plays a leading role in setting higher-education policy in the Obama Administration.

Chancellor Wilcox will continue to be active at the national level to expand UCR’s federal research portfolio and to share UCR’s unique scientific expertise and effective student programs with policymakers and federal agency officials.

Rep. Mark Takano talks with Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox in Washington D.C. at an alumni reception.

Rep. Mark Takano talks with Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox in Washington D.C. at an alumni reception.

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