UCI’s Strategic Plan: A road map for educating the best and the brightest

UCI strives to be the first choice for students choosing among the nation’s best universities. To achieve this ambitious goal, there must be a plan.

Introduced in February 2016 by Chancellor Howard Gillman and Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia after extensive participation by the campus community, UCI’s strategic plan outlines a clear direction that echoes the promise of the campus’s founding mission: to mobilize knowledge, serve the people, and educate the best and brightest.

“Knowing that students are the heart of the university, a significant part of the strategic plan is focused squarely on their success,” Lavernia said. “We have looked at all aspects of the student experience and created ways to positively impact their scholastic, co-curricular and career development opportunities. And noteworthy progress has already been made. We want their time inside and outside the classroom to connect them to the UCI community for life, enrich their minds and spirits, and prepare them for productive lives.”

And while UCI aims to attract the best and brightest, there is a firm belief that a high-quality education should be available to everyone, regardless of background or income. Today, UCI’s enrollment is more than 55 percent first-generation students, and 43 percent of our undergraduates are eligible for Pell Grants. To keep that focus, the strategic plan aims to expand existing resources, programs and services for families to drive greater engagement, with particular attention to those with students who are first-generation, underrepresented, international, undocumented or veterans.

UCI has also made investments in student well-being. The university is addressing the critical need for mental healthcare with an effort to recruit and hire more psychological and psychiatric staff, which will help reduce waits for intake appointments, speed up the time in which students are assigned a regular therapist, establish more support and therapy groups, and better cover urgent and crisis-oriented issues.

Another milestone was the recent opening of the Mesa Court Towers residence halls, which boosted UCI’s housing capacity by 750 to 800 additional beds. With the student body expected to grow to about 40,000, these new facilities will help accommodate freshman demand.

And UCI is working to create a 24/7 academic and social experience by increasing evening and weekend programming to attract students, faculty, alumni and community members to the campus. Also being reviewed is the possibility of free or reduced-fee parking for evening and weekend activities, including sports and arts/performance events.

“Through the strategic plan and the efforts of everyone here at UCI, we will continue to ensure that students have an educational experience that enriches their minds and spirits, enables them to achieve at the highest level of their potential, and opens up the best opportunities for them to pursue their goals,” Lavernia said. “UCI is a first-choice university for the most talented and ambitious students, regardless of background, providing a culture of fun, championship athletic programs and extracurricular activities that embody the unique Anteater spirit.”