University of California, Riverside

Undergraduate Education

UCR Undergraduate Education Newsletter: September 1, 2016

UCR Undergraduate Education Newsletter:  September 1, 2016

Cindy Larive
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Welcome to the first in a series of monthly newsletters from the Office of Undergraduate Education.  Those of you who are regular readers of Mike Pazzani’s research newsletters will recognize the format.  I find Mike’s newsletters to be informative and efficient, and hope to emulate them in providing relevant and timely information about undergraduate teaching and learning.

The 2016 Freshmen class

A couple of years ago, I had the exciting experience of traveling to Japan, and was so grateful for the hospitality of those who helped me navigate my journey – sometimes communicating only with sign language and a smile! Perhaps you have shared a similar experience, and I hope that you will recall the feeling of being a stranger in a new land as you interact with our incoming class. In a few weeks, the campus will welcome around 5400 new freshmen. As a group they are highly diverse. Nearly half the class self-identifies as Hispanic or Latino/a, and 62% are first-generation college students. Especially for first generation students, navigating the university, systems and classes will be bewildering. Many of the things that we take for granted will be foreign to them. We also know that a large fraction of these students enter UCR feeling like they are imposters who do not belong at a UC. More than any prior class, the 2016 freshmen will need our guidance and support.

We also know that our 2016 freshmen are not as prepared academically as the 2015 class, with more students placing into preparatory English and Math. Overall, their academic profile is similar to the freshmen of 2010. While we could bemoan the demands of teaching and mentoring this large freshmen class, I know that our faculty will rise to this challenge.  UCR’s mission of providing a life-changing educational experience to low-income and first-generation students is the reason many of us are passionate about our jobs. Since 2010, UCR has put into place several programs that will enhance the success of the 2016 students compared to the 2010 cohort, including greater participation in freshmen learning communities, expanded Supplemental Instruction and tutoring, reorganized pre-calculus courses, assistance in writing through the ARC Writing Center, and high-impact classroom practices like active learning, case studies, the use of clickers, and flipped/hybrid instruction.  This is an opportunity to further integrate these practices into the educational experiences we offer at UCR and demonstrate our ability to nurture academic success in our unique student body.


Include the Academic Resource Center resources in your syllabus

As you prepare your syllabus for Fall undergraduate courses, please include a message like the one below about the UCR Academic Resource Center (ARC). Utilizing the ARC resources is a great way for students to be pro-active about their academic success.

UCR Academic Resource Center.  The Academic Resource Center (ARC) is the central resource for academic support at UCR. All students are strongly encouraged to visit the ARC, which is staffed by professional and student employees who are well trained to provide academic support, and dedicated to fostering academic excellence. Resources provided by the ARC include tutoring, supplemental instruction, study skills workshops, writing assistance, as well as several peer mentoring programs. Staff work with all students, at all skill levels, in all stages of their undergraduate career. Participating in these services is most useful to students when used pro-actively for academic enrichment. Visit  or call 951-827-3721 for more information about hours, location and the schedule of services.


Course re/design support and the Faulty Instructional Innovation Studio

UCR Computing and Communications (C&C) has 3 instructional designers who provide advice and support on instructional design and the use of technology in the classroom. These specialists are also available as consultants to faculty writing course re/design proposals.   They offer a variety of workshops every quarter, and also provide assistance by request. Popular topics include using clickers in the classroom and integrating iLearn for greater student engagement.

Kicking off the 2016-17 academic year is the Faculty Instructional Innovation Studio, a workshop series offered September 6 – 9 for instructors interested in infusing emerging technologies, best practices and learning science into their current or new courses. The C&C Instructional Design Team encourages registration at . Through attendance at this intensive workshop series, participants can receive hands-on opportunities for course re/design, and insight into funding opportunities. For more information about service offerings, please contact .

One component of the Faculty Instructional Innovation Studio is a panel discussion about funding opportunities for course design/development, instructional improvement, assessment initiatives, and research.  The panel will be offered on 9/8 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm in Surge 170.  Panelists include:


Planning for 2017 Summer Session begins

UCR’s 2016 summer quarter is coming to a close, with the last classes ending September 10th.  It was another successful quarter with 6,811 students taking over 55,768 units in 643 courses offered by 46 academic departments or programs.  We are pleased to report that efforts to better align summer offerings with student demand are making headway with the addition of 14 new high demand offerings.  We are already working on identifying course needs for summer 2017.  If you know of courses that students need which are not already in summer’s schedule, please forward the information to Leonard Taylor at x21710, or

 Summer 2017 will be a summer of change with the implementation of Banner. Summer enrollment will now be able to open the first week of April rather than mid-May.   We are looking forward to having a larger enrollment window to give our students more time to plan their summer.  The call for summer 2017 course and appointee proposals will be sent in mid-November as usual. 

 A reminder for those creating new summer 2017 programs that will require a Course Material Fee (CMF): requests for new CMFs must be submitted no later than February 1, 2017 for review.  Additionally, please be sure to contact FINAID so they can help assemble supportive aid packaging.  Please also remember that all special program CMFs need to include a 25% Return to Aid allocation.  For more information about this or any other Summer Session inquiries, please contact Leonard Taylor at x21710, or .


Opportunities for funded Undergraduate STEM research

Many of our low-income students struggle not only to work but also to engage in undergraduate research. Thanks to the NASA funded FIELDS (Fellowships and Internships in Extremely Large Data Sets) program, undergraduate students in STEM subjects can apply for funding to support their research with a UCR faculty member during the upcoming academic year. Students will receive financial support of $3,000 for the academic year to perform research in a discipline that involves working with and analyzing scientific data. Interested applicants should submit a curriculum vita, description of the research project, and a letter from a UCR faculty advisor confirming that the student will be accepted in his/her group and that they will cover the student’s research expenses.

Applications and other questions should be submitted to Dr. Reynal Guillen (, FIELDS program manager. Deadline for receipt of the applications is September 29th.

Members of minority groups are particularly encouraged to apply.


Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI)

The Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) is designed to meet UC campus needs for high quality hybrid or online courses. The Initiative will enhance the educational opportunities and academic achievement of UC students by helping them access high demand courses, satisfy degree requirements, and graduate on time.

The maximum award for this year’s competition (RFP5) is $110,000 for quarter courses and an average of $6,500 for revisions to previously funded courses. The program uses a rolling review format. Proposals will be reviewed intermittently, with the following target dates: October 31, January 31, March 31, and May 31. The steering committee is planning to issue notification of awards 1-2 months after each review date. RFP 5 closes May 31, 2017 at 6:00 PM (PST).

 Proposals can be submitted by the following UC academic appointees as the Principal Investigator (PI): UC ladder-rank faculty members, LSOEs and LPSOEs. Unit 18 continuing lecturers are encouraged to submit proposals with appropriate UC academic appointees as the PI. Proposals representing collaboration among PIs and departments from different campuses and intended to serve students on all those campuses are strongly encouraged and will be given special consideration.

 Please see for further details.


Fund your curricular innovations thru the NSF IUSE program

Significant effort is required to substantially change the curriculum and/or pedagogy for an undergraduate course, and then assess the impact of these changes on student learning.  What better way to accelerate these efforts than by getting NSF funding to provide for summer support, course buyout and professional assessment? The NSF program on Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE: EHR) accepts proposals that address the challenges and opportunities facing undergraduate STEM education, as well as those that anticipate new structures (e.g. organizational changes, new methods for certification or credentialing, course re-conception, cyberlearning, etc.) and new functions of the undergraduate learning and teaching enterprise. The IUSE: EHR program recognizes and respects the variety of discipline-specific challenges and opportunities facing STEM faculty as they strive to incorporate results from educational research into classroom practice and work with education research colleagues and social science learning scholars to advance our understanding of effective teaching and learning. Toward these ends, the program features two tracks: (1) Engaged Student Learning and (2) Institutional and Community Transformation. Two tiers of projects exist within each track:

As with most NSF programs, PIs are advised to talk with an NSF program officer before developing their proposal. More information about the IUSE program and a list of the program officers for each area can be found at .


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Tel: (951) 827-7750
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