Louie Rodríguez has been named UC Riverside’s next vice provost and dean of undergraduate education (VPDUE), effective April 1. Rodríguez is a professor in UCR’s School of Education (SOE). His research focuses on issues of educational equity, Latino education, and community engagement. Between 2019 and 2022, he served as the school’s interim dean.
“Louie proved to be a dynamic and steadfast leader as interim dean. He strengthened community engagement, enhanced interdisciplinary research, and led a number of student-centered initiatives—all during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Elizabeth Watkins, UCR provost and executive vice chancellor. “I look forward to supporting him as he works across the university community to advance the academic success of all undergraduate students.”
As interim dean of the SOE, Rodríguez recruited 30% of the school’s current faculty, resulting in the most diverse education faculty in the UC system. The school also raised $3M, developed five endowed scholarships for students, and created 200 emergency scholarships to help students with basic needs. Rodríguez championed an Ethnic Studies Pathway as part of the Teacher Education Program and developed two teacher pipeline programs for the region and state.
Before joining UCR in 2016, Rodríguez was a faculty member at Cal State San Bernardino (CSUSB) and Florida International University. Originally from the Inland Empire, he attended San Bernardino Valley College and CSUSB before completing master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard University.
“It’s an honor to serve in this capacity as someone who was born and raised in the Inland Empire,” said Rodríguez, who holds the Bank of America Endowed Chair in Education Leadership, Policy, and Practice. “I see my story in the story of so many of UCR’s undergraduate students. This opportunity will allow me to use my own research, teaching, and leadership, which has centered on student success, to strengthen undergraduate education across the entire campus.”
Brian Haynes, UCR’s vice chancellor of student affairs, said he is looking forward to working with Rodríguez to enhance the partnerships between Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs to promote overall academic success for undergraduate students.
“We are excited to welcome Louie Rodríguez into the position of vice provost and dean of undergraduate education because we know that the partnership between undergraduate education and student affairs is so impactful to student success,” Haynes said.
Rodríguez said his vision is for UCR to become a model of excellence in undergraduate education.
“One of my goals is to build a clearly defined Undergraduate Education unit on campus that is mission-focused and driven by a set of core priorities that empowers Undergraduate Education staff and leadership, UCR faculty and leadership, and students to promote equity and student success across UCR’s undergraduate population.”
Rodríguez succeeds Jennifer Brown, who served as VPDUE from 2018 to 2022. Associate Provost Ken Baerenklau has served as interim VPDUE since March 2022.