How does an innovative undergraduate education program redesign itself for the next generation of students and reposition its services across the university? The University of California-Irvine’s Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning answered this challenge in its new five-year strategic plan that began implementation in the fall of 2017.
Formed in May 2015 as a key pillar of the University of California-Irvine’s new strategic plan, the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (OVPTL) emerged from a restructuring of the Division of Undergraduate Education, the Division for Teaching and Learning and Summer Session. After reorganizing the Office in its first year, Michael Dennin, the new Vice Provost who also continued as Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education, launched a strategic planning project facilitated by The Napa Group to raise OVPTL’s identity within UCI and integrate the new Office’s various units.
Vice Provost Dennin serves as the senior administrator responsible for undergraduate education campus-wide. Under his leadership, OVPTL partners with and advises the Academic Senate, Deans, Chairs and other stakeholders to apply the latest developments in pedagogy and learning technology to ensure student success. The reorganization acknowledges the shared accountability across the university enterprise for the quality of undergraduate education, especially as the diversity of ethnic, cultural and first generation student populations increases. OVPTL reports to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.
At the time of Dennin’s appointment, UC Irvine was experiencing a 7.7 percent rise in applications, with a record 88,792 students vying for admission in fall 2015. The growth outpaced the systemwide increase by nearly 2 percentage points. UCI also saw impressive gains in Chicano/Latino and African American freshman applicants. And the campus had 68,740 combined freshman and transfer applications from California residents, the second-largest number of in-state applications in the University of California system.
OVPTL’s support of the various units within the Division of Undergraduate Education is intended to elevate institutional attention to undergraduate education and signal its importance as a priority for the university in order to best serve its large and growing undergraduate population. The OVPTL also ensures the accessibility of essential academic support services to:
- Cater to every undergraduate student and provide campus-wide guidance and leadership for curricular innovations
- Advance inclusive excellence in student learning and achievement
- Cultivate community college partnerships
- Create opportunities for high-achieving students
- Provide students and faculty with resources that promote academic excellence and student success.
- Encourage and facilitate innovations in pedagogy, including the use of technology-enhanced education, that raise the profile of teaching across the University.