Office of the Chancellor

Welcome Admitted Students

May 21, 2020

Dear Anteater Families:

We are excited to welcome you to our community. Your admission to UCI opens the door to an extraordinary journey at one of the nation’s top ten public universities, where you can experience high-quality research and learning, build a lifetime of relationships and fond memories and, of course, cheer the fiercest mascot in the history of higher education.

We understand that the anticipation of college life carries many emotions in the best of circumstances. We are focused on making your time here enjoyable and enriching through whatever lies ahead, and we are working to confirm details for the fall quarter as quickly as possible.

In a recent message to the UCI community, I confirmed that the academic year will begin as scheduled on September 28, 2020, and outlined guiding principles for in-person operations. The health and safety of our community is at the forefront of our decision-making and we remain committed to high-quality instruction, research, health care and public service.

We know that you have important questions. We’ll try to address some of your concerns in the information below and update you as more details are confirmed.

CLASSES AND INSTRUCTION

We expect to have a full catalog of classes available for the fall quarter. Most classes will be offered remotely, either as the only option or a complement to in-person instruction, so you will be able to attend class even if you are unable to travel to campus. As for in-person instruction within a traditional setting, we expect that large lectures likely will not be possible, but we may be able to accommodate some small studios, labs and discussion sessions.

While remote learning may seem like a concept borne from the pandemic, UCI has offered online coursework for more than a decade. We are considered a leader in innovative instruction, with esteemed members of our faculty developing more than 200 online courses, and we actively invest in the development and improvement of new teaching methods that shape the future of education. The recently established Online Learning Research Center is dedicated to providing evidence-based resources and defining best practices for educators, students and researchers throughout the world. The center’s work and other innovative approaches are applied through our Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation, which partners with faculty and educators to develop exceptional learning experiences for our students, regardless of the setting.

HOUSING

In the last few years, UCI has developed beautiful student housing, from modern residence halls and apartment complexes to themed communities supporting specific interests. Last year approximately 70 percent of our students lived on or near campus, and we are committed to welcoming as many residents as possible this fall.

While it’s too early to determine how many students we will be able to accommodate, we know that the number of on-campus residents will be less than last year. Apartment-style living likely will be acceptable, but residence halls and themed housing are more challenging. We are developing new policies that include cleaning and disinfecting protocols, physical distancing and space barriers, guest and gathering rules, and required training and education. With strict standards, especially in public spaces, we believe residence halls with single and double rooms will be available. We are working on details now, and should have more definitive answers in mid-June.

EVENTS AND GATHERINGS

Spring and summer typically bring new-student open houses and orientations – and this year is no exception. While we’re not able to invite our entering students and their families to our campus, we do plan to celebrate with you. As we recently communicated, our Student-Parent Orientation Program (SPOP) will be held virtually this summer and you will receive instructions about your orientation on Monday, June 15, 2020.

The structure of other large student gatherings, such as sporting events, are still being considered. Our Athletics Department and student-athletes, eager to add to our 28 national titles, are working with coaches, the NCAA and other governing bodies to outline a plan for the coming season. In-person festivals, concerts, lectures and symposia are currently on hold as we coordinate guidance from government agencies and public health experts. We expect that physical distancing and other precautions will be required for those events that are permitted.

HEALTH AND QUALITY

We are carefully ramping up operations in phases to prepare for the fall quarter. Multiple teams are working closely with health experts, from both government agencies and our own leadership, to help us redesign spaces, establish cleaning and hygiene guidelines, and educate our community about how to interact in this new environment. Our goal is to create an experience that is as enriching and comfortable as possible, with appropriate and reasonable caution.

We also acknowledge that changes occur rapidly in this environment. We may adjust our plans if new therapies, techniques and technologies become available, or if stricter limitations may be required.

And while your well-being is a priority, quality is an absolute. We will maintain the high-quality standards that made our university one of the best.

We once again congratulate you on your admittance to UCI and all your remarkable achievements. Today’s extraordinary circumstances highlight the unique value of a world-class research university. UCI is driven by a mission designed to address the global grand challenges affecting us today, tomorrow and for many years to come. Our students and alumni are solving problems, improving our communities, and saving lives. We can’t wait for you to join us.

Fiat Lux “Let There Be Light”
Chancellor Howard Gillman