Welcome to the start of a new academic year! I know you are busy with all the work we do to fulfill our mission of teaching, research, patient care and service, as well as greeting the incoming freshman class of 2019. I write to share some thoughts about UCI accrued since my midsummer arrival as your provost and executive vice chancellor. I have spent the past 10 weeks getting reacquainted with our university, previously known to me during my service here as a faculty member from 1987 to 2002.
I am so impressed with the quality of our faculty, our academic programs and the positive, can-do spirit that pervades our community. We all know the challenges UCI faces as the state disinvests in the university and we learn to rely more on tuition, philanthropy and your creativity as revenue sources and cost efficiencies. Other challenges come in the form of new pedagogic methods, new technologies to support our administrative systems, changing expectations among students and their families, and the need for more effective engagement with the Orange County region, to name just a few. I’m delighted to see our faculty and staff rising to these challenges with enthusiasm, embracing the opportunities that always accompany challenges.
I’m especially impressed with the deans of our eight general schools and four professional schools. After spending time with them individually and as a team, it is clear that they are an outstanding group of academic leaders. Chancellor Gillman and I are fortunate to be part of such a strong team.
I also have spent many hours with Professor Michael P. Clark, who served as interim provost and executive vice chancellor during the past year. Michael has been incredibly generous with his time and gracious in his manner as he shared his insights on UCI as an academic enterprise and as a community. The depth of his commitment to the campus was demonstrated by his diligence in helping me transition smoothly into my new role. I am extremely grateful to Michael for his service to our campus.
Fifty years ago this week, our campus buzzed with anticipation as we prepared to welcome our inaugural classes. Today, thanks to your skill and dedication, that same energy permeates our enterprise – though on a much larger, more impactful scale. A timely example of our influence was made clear in last week’s New York Times College Access Index, in which UCI was ranked as the #1 university in the U.S. benefiting low-income students. Our bright past has made a lifelong difference on countless lives. On this cusp of our brilliant future, I look forward to working with all of you in delivering on our promise.
In closing, Julie and I would like to express our gratitude to the entire UCI community for welcoming us back.
Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering