Jennifer Brown, former vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at Oregon State University, has been named to lead UCR’s Office of Undergraduate Education and will join UCR on August 1.
Brown received her doctorate in horticulture from Michigan State University in 2004 and was previously associate dean of the Graduate School at OSU since June 2015. She will be replacing Richard Cardullo who has served as the interim vice provost of Undergraduate Education since March of 2017. Cardullo will continue as the faculty director of University Honors.
In an interview with the Highlander, Brown wrote that she was drawn to UCR because it has been a personal and professional goal of hers to help a diverse population earn their college degree. “When I was in high school, I never dreamed that I could be a professor or work at a university. I didn’t know these opportunities existed. I want to share this knowledge with future Highlanders (high school and middle school students) and the current student population,” stated Brown.
According to Brown, one of the most important things any university can do is invest in their students. “My experiences in Upward Bound/Trio Student Support Services, working while in college, going on my first study abroad trip and the difficulties that I faced help me be more empathetic to the challenges students face entering college and continuing through to graduation,” stated Brown. She would also like to use her experience as a faculty member and graduate school dean to help students think about graduate pathways and non-traditional careers. Brown wrote that when she was young, she had never heard of a hydrologist, food scientist or microbiologist. She hopes to change this and educate students on the many paths they can take after graduation.
As vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education at UCR, Brown has many aspirations for the future of her position. “I want to continue the great work UCR is doing with eliminating achievement gaps and increasing graduation rates for those who choose this university,” she said. Brown also claimed that she would like to “take a deeper dive” into how she can continue to provide opportunities for students to participate in undergraduate research, Supplemental Instruction and other programs that promote student engagement.
When asked what she hopes to accomplish overall through her new position at UCR, Brown stated, “I want students to leave here with a degree and the skills to make a difference, gain upward mobility and contribute to the national and global economy (sic).”