Chancellor's Friday Letters

Finding Places for Students

Finding Places for Students

December 11, 2009


Last week I wrote about a serious mismatch between the number of course seats available and our students’ needs for Winter quarter. I report back today that a solution has been crafted, thanks to the amazing efforts of our faculty and staff. Detailed correspondence was sent to all students on Wednesday; view a copy at http://go.ucr.edu/registrar/pdf/Special_Enrollment.pdf .

This is the UCR I am privileged to know and be part of – a place where people pushed other things aside and worked literally day and night to craft solutions in support of our students. Professors agreed to overload teaching with new lecture courses, discussion sections have been enlarged, and new sections of English, basic writing, business, science, mathematics, humanities, and social science courses have been opened. Some courses have been moved to a larger lecture hall, creating the ability to provide instruction to more students at once.

To all involved, a big thank you.

Larger lecture and discussion sections are not an ideal learning venue as compared to UCR’s normal standard, because they limit the amount of personal interaction that will occur between our world class faculty and students. Nonetheless, they provide a “least-lousy” solution for the economic realities of our times.

On another topic, I wish to share with you the excitement of the developments at UCR’s Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts. I took my second hard-hat tour Wednesday with Frances Culver and some of her friends to inspect the progress on the stunning renovation of the former Rouse department store building. The tour was guided by Jonathan Green, who is providing visionary and thoughtful leadership as Executive Director of ARTSblock.

The building has been transformed into three levels where faculty, staff, students, artists, and the arts community will work together. Their work will spill out onto the pedestrian mall frontage as we discover, perform, enjoy and are inspired by the performing and visual arts. The Culver Center will also provide archival facilities that are environmentally secure – even against large seismic events – to assure preservation of some of America’s greatest treasures.

The renovation is providing all the contemporary accouterments necessary for a premier arts facility while retaining the character and feel of the building’s historic roots. For example, during the deconstruction of the original building, the walls were biopsied to determine original paint colors… in the renovated grand central room skylight, the original blue palette now adorns this woodwork. One of Frances’ guests, who knew the building back when, commented as we toured one of the dance recital rooms on the front upper level that that area used to be the lingerie section… one wonders if such warm recollections will form the basis of an artistic piece in the future.

This effort would not have occurred without the vision and generosity of Frances Culver and her late husband Tony. We are deeply and eternally grateful to them for their $5 million lead gift. We have also received significant support from the City of Riverside, many other benefactors and foundations, alumni, and the University. While needs remain to fully furnish and support the creative spaces in the Culver Center, we are very encouraged by the progress to date. Watch for the grand opening gala being planned for October 9, 2010.

With my best regards,


Tim White


National Academy scientist is the newest Highlander
Geneticist Susan Wessler an acclaimed leader in research and teaching, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has accepted appointment at UCR.

Inspiring the season
Listen to carillonneur David Christensen play traditional and popular holiday tunes on the carillon on Saturday, Dec. 12 starting at 3 p.m.

Fueling the future
Congratulations to engineering professor Yushan Yan on the recent award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s newly formed Advanced Research Projects Agency. His work has the potential to reduce costs, improve efficiency and make fuel cells economically viable.

Wondering what else is going on at UCR? It’s all listed at http://www.happenings.ucr.edu

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