For years UC Riverside was a backwater campus in California’s prestigious University of California system - but officials say that's changed and they've got big plans ahead of them.
“We’re now a campus of destination, a choice campus rather than a place of last resort,” said UC Riverside chancellor Kim Wilcox.
On Thursday, he announced plans to add 300 full-time faculty over the next five years - that's a nearly 50 percent increase of current staffing. The university has 673 full-time professors.
At a cost of about $100,000 per professor for salary and benefits, Wilcox estimated the faculty growth will cost about $30 million.
The money will come in part from reserves and a planned increase in student enrollment, he said.
Wilcox said hiring freezes during the recession hampered growth, so now it’s time to plan for the future of the campus, which opened in 1954.
The faculty expansion is one of many ambitious moves the school has taken recently. After a decade-long process, the first students enrolled at the new UC Riverside School of Medicine in August.
Wilcox said he’ll reveal the details of the faculty growth plan in the coming months, but some of the new positions will serve to grow the university’s science and engineering departments. He also vowed not to leave the humanities and social sciences behind.
“They’re part of this plan," he said. "We have already one of the great creative writing programs in the country.”