Changing the Conversation About UCR

Chancellor Kim Wilcox gives update on UCR growth, goals for AY 2014-15 at Town Hall  

Chancellor Kim Wilcox discusses a UCR enrollment graph at the Town Hall Meeting held on Oct. 8, 2014.

UCR is changing the conversation about higher education by excelling in diversity, social mobility, access, affordability and research, says Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox.

“The nation is starting to appreciate what we’ve been doing for decades,” Wilcox said. “We have a chance to make a huge impact not just in Riverside and in Southern California, but across the country as a model. That’s what is so exciting about UCR today, and why it’s so important that we do this in the right way.”

Wilcox’s comments came October 8 at the first Town Hall of the academic year 2014-15. He talked at length about how the 2020 Strategic Plan aligned with the campus goals for the upcoming year, and the challenges accompanying plans to grow the faculty by 300 ladder-rank positions while improving campus infrastructure and expanding UCR’s global presence.

The message?

Wilcox cited diversity, graduation rate parity and efficiency as the pillars of UCR’s success. This all didn’t just happen; the creation of a diverse campus was intentional, Wilcox said. “And it’s something that each of you should be very proud of.”

He lauded former Chancellor Raymond Orbach, who served from 1992 to 2002, for pushing for more underrepresented students to come to UCR, for example.

“He went from high school to high school, teacher to teacher, principal to principal, student to student and told them not only is a UC education possible, we very much want you to achieve it. And it started to literally change the configuration of this university.”

Other markers of achievement include the more competitive entrance scores of incoming students. “We are the place in America that proves that student achievement and diversity are not in competition with each other,” he said.

“Regardless of what [ethnic] group you happen to be in, or how much money you have, our graduation rates are essentially the same. Few other universities in the country can say that and none with the kind of diversity that we have.”

The campus is beginning to gain international recognition as well; Wilcox notes how UCR ranked in the citations category of the highly influential London-based Times Higher Education World University Rankings. That ranking showed UCR tied at 7th among top public American universities for research citations.

Despite the challenges that still need to be addressed in growing the graduate student population and hiring more faculty, Wilcox says UCR is on an upward swing in some of the most important markers for higher ed. “There needs to be prudent planning beginning today; it is so important because we  have a chance to reshape this university.”

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