A KUCI Interview with Provost Hal Stern

KUCI
Hal Stern

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Hal Stern was recently interviewed on KUCI’s UCI Conversations program. The conversation covers a range of topics from the provost’s early success in math to his research on sports statistics and his career at UCI.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Here are a few (lightly edited) highlights from their conversation:

Q: For those who may not know, what is your definition of the role of the provost and executive vice chancellor?

A: The provost serves as the chief academic officer on the campus. The provost works very closely with the deans and the vice-provosts on policies and programs for students. For example, we are in the middle of a growth phase where are setting up new schools in the college of health sciences. The other part my role is as executive vice-chancellor. At UCI, the chancellor serves as the chief executive officer and the executive vice chancellor serves as the chief operating officer. The EVC collaborates with the leaders of other administrative functions, such as student affairs and research, to work together to manage the university.

Q: You came on board as interim provost right when the campus shut down because of COVID-19. Tell us about that experience.

A: If I had been asked to serve as interim provost in ordinary times, that would have been a challenge on its own. But to add a global pandemic on top of it, it was really a busy time. I am thankful that we were able to transition to remote teaching, learning, research and working so well. We did that successfully with an unbelievable team effort across the board. It involved people working very hard all across campus, faculty, staff and students.

Q: What amazes you about UCI?

A: What I have found at UCI is a young campus of great ambition doing incredibly noble work. I so appreciate the dedication of faculty and staff to our student population, which is incredibly diverse. The student population includes 50% of students who are the first-generation in their families to go to college, which is amazing for a top 10 public university. We are also an institution with great outcomes for our students. It is so exciting to see the commitment of the campus to support our students, to create an equitable environment and an inclusive environment and that is what makes it a wonderful place to work and learn. I am incredibly enthusiastic that I have the opportunity to support the university as administrator.

Q: Do you find the job rewarding?

A: I enjoy learning. I have found that at each step in my career at UCI, going from department chair to dean and then on to vice provost, I have learned more about the university. And now, as provost, I get to learn even more about the university. Especially at UCI, our university does such great work and that is exciting to me. I am also extremely committed to our mission and our ability to interact with the community of Orange County. In my mind, universities serve as incredible engines for change for students and their families. They are also drivers for innovation and research in the community. All of this makes my job incredibly exciting and rewarding. We have a very strong community and I have felt incredibly supported in taking on this new role.