UC Riverside, one of the nation’s premier universities for diversity and success in graduating students of color, presented a strategic plan to the University of California Regents this week that outlines how the Inland Empire campus also will become one of the nation’s preeminent research universities by 2020.
The document, developed over the past year by more than 140 faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders – with review from hundreds of additional stakeholders – is a roadmap that lays out UCR’s goals and vision for growth in the next decade, and action steps to achieve those goals.
Chief among the priorities for the next decade is achieving the profile of a member institution of the prestigious American Association of Universities (AAU).
“Academic excellence is at the heart of all that we do and all that we aspire to be,” UCR Chancellor Timothy White said. “Our sights are set firmly on achieving the profile of a member institution of the AAU because it cuts across the fabric of our entire enterprise.”
The plan identifies four strategic goals:
Academic Excellence: Achieve the profile of a member institution of the Association of American Universities by increasing the amount of federal research dollars per faculty member, the number of citations of UCR research in scholarly journals, and the six-year graduation rate, and achieving other AAU criteria.
Access: Realign admissions criteria to make UCR more selective while remaining true to the core values of academic excellence, access and diversity; enhance opportunities for undergraduate students; increase graduate student support; add new professional schools and strategically expand some existing graduate and professional programs; and increase the percentage of graduate and professional school students to 20 percent.
Planning for the School of Medicine is proceeding and the founding dean, G. Richard Olds, M.D., was hired last year. The regents have approved the creation of a School of Public Policy. Engagement: Foster a campus culture of engagement by partnering with the community, from the regional to global level, to address issues affecting quality of life, including education, economic development, athletics, arts and culture, agriculture, health care and the environment; and establish new alliances with businesses, government, education, arts and civic organizations Diversity: Increase diversity of faculty, staff and senior leadership; and serve as a national exemplar for diversity, inclusiveness, and community by measuring diversity not only in terms of people, but also ideas, perspectives, learning opportunities, programs, and experiences.
U.S. News & World Report ranks UCR fourth in the nation and first in California for its diverse student body, and is one of a handful of the nation’s universities that graduates its students of color at virtually the same rate or better as the overall numbers.
Last month the Education Trust named the campus a national leader for African- American and Latino graduation rates. White said the university intends to raise its overall six-year graduation rate – now at 68 percent – while ensuring that rate remains consistent across ethnic and racial groups.
“Faculty say scholarship and teaching have been dramatically influenced by the diversity of our students,” White said. “Diversity has become a recruiting tool for outstanding faculty.”
“UC Riverside embodies the promise of our Golden State, harnessing its potential to transform lives,” the strategic planning document states.
“Our student body is among the most diverse in the nation.”
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