Dear CNAS Community,
With summer in full swing, many of us still find ourselves wrapping up the academic year and starting to plan for the future. It’s naturally a good time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.
I can’t help but to feel a deep sense of pride reflecting on what we’ve accomplished and challenges we’ve overcome in the nearly 8 years that I’ve been CNAS Dean.
In the area of CNAS student success:
- Our 4-year graduation rate for CNAS students has increased by more than 10 percentage points.
- The total number of CNAS degrees awarded increased almost 60 percent.
- For FY23, CNAS awarded more than $500,000 in student scholarships and awards. In the last five years, CNAS alone increased the scholarship amount awarded to students more than 10-fold.
A few key highlights on CNAS faculty success include:
- CNAS faculty became more diverse by race, ethnicity, and gender.
- CNAS faculty helped UCR claim the top spot in the UC system for percentage of NSF CAREER awards per ladder-rank faculty.
- Two Nobel Laureates and many other current and future leaders in their fields have joined our esteemed faculty.
- During the pandemic, CNAS was at the forefront of keeping our community safe by opening a diagnostic lab for expanded and rapid testing of students, staff, and faculty members.
In support of CNAS staff success:
- When I implemented CNAS Dean’s staff office hours, it allowed me to better understand and engage with staff across CNAS — particularly during COVID times. I got to know many of you and truly enjoyed our time together.
- During my time as Dean, the CNAS Staff Advisory Committee was created, giving staff members a voice and helping to guide CNAS in making better decisions that impacted all members of our community.
In terms of fundraising and grants:
- In FY22, CNAS faculty received $98.8M in grants, which is nearly 50% of all grants received across campus and during the last five fiscal years, CNAS’ contract and grant funding has increased by 27%. Additionally, CNAS’ FY22 funding rate of nearly 50%, is extremely high in comparison to other colleges and universities nationwide.
- Over the last two years, CNAS raised $8M for the Beyond Brilliant campaign to expand need- and merit-based scholarships and fellowships.
- When UCR’s Living the Promise capital campaign concluded in 2021, CNAS raised over $100M, a third of the campus total.
Recent awards and recognition:
- CNAS was an integral part of UCR’s acceptance into the Association of American Universities (AAU), a prestigious group of America’s leading research universities, who earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health.
- Last month, I went to Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress where I requested additional funding for agricultural research at UCR and provided perspectives specific to being a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and among Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU). It was an honor to represent HSIs, HSACUs, UCR, and CNAS.
- While serving as your dean, I have experienced major highlights in my career, most recently being named a fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2021 and, just this year, being honored as a Distinguished Professor.
We truly have accomplished so much together, and for that I will always be thankful for the opportunity to have worked with the brightest, most thoughtful, and talented minds in academia. Which makes it bittersweet to share that I will be stepping down from my position as CNAS Dean, effective September 1, 2023. It is time for me to focus on my next adventure.
Campus Leadership is aware of my decision and Provost Watkins just sent an announcement to the UCR community. While I won’t be serving as your dean, I will continue serving UCR as a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.
I’m very grateful for my time as dean. Please know that I appreciate and value each and every one of you, and that you all have impacted my life in immeasurable ways. I thank you sincerely for being part of my journey.
All my best,
Read Provost Watkins' Announcement