Category Archives: Learning

CBU Honors President Ronald L. Ellis For 20 Years Of Leadership

(This article contains excerpts from an article featured on, published on November 7, 2014)

California Baptist University honored President Ronald L. Ellis for two decades of service in a series of events this week under the theme “Celebrating 20 Years of Great Commission Leadership.”  Receptions by faculty, staff and students expressed thanks to Ellis for his vision for turning a small Baptist college into a thriving university.  Dr. Dawn Ellen Jacobs, CBU vice provost and professor of English, recalled that Ellis brought a plan to transform the institution when he became the fifth president of California Baptist College on Nov. 1, 1994.

CBU Honors Presidents Ronald L. Ellis for 20 years of leadership.  Photo credit:
CBU Honors Presidents Ronald L. Ellis for 20 years of leadership. Photo credit:

“There were about 40 of us when he came in 1994,” Jacobs said. “We cared about our teaching and enjoyed relationships with our students, but President Ellis brought a sense of purpose and a vision for something more. Under his leadership, we matured as a faculty. We became a university.”

Dr. Mary Crist, professor of education in the Division of Online and Professional Studies, brought remarks as a faculty member who has served throughout the Ellis presidency.  “Dr. Ellis is a man of faith and vision, an inspirational leader, and a man with a good sense of humor,” she said. “He came here because he felt God’s call to lead a Baptist college, especially one that was struggling. God equipped him with a vision needed to be a phenomenal “turn around” present. The results are obvious today.”

Under Ellis’ leadership, California Baptist College officially became California Baptist University in 1998. New schools and colleges have been established, including the School of Music, School of Nursing, College of Engineering, the College of Allied Health and the College of Architecture, Visual Arts and Design. Today, the university comprises 10 colleges and professional schools, offering 158 undergraduate majors/concentrations and 41 master’s degree programs.

The strong leadership and dedication that Dr. Ellis possesses is a testament to what makes Riverside a location of choice.  Under his direction, California Baptist University has been transformed into a reputable university.  It is no surprise that CBU is experiencing record enrollment numbers, and shows no signs of slowing.  The quality of education and value driven campus will continue to attract creative, dynamic, and diverse students to Riverside.

Enrollment has grown from 808 in the fall of 1994 to 7,957 in the fall of 2014, more than a 900 percent increase. About 75 percent of CBC/CBU alumni graduated during the Ellis presidency.

To read the full article, click here.

Sleep Researcher Awarded Federal Grants

(This article contains excerpts from an article written by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on October 31, 2014.)

UC Riverside psychologist Sara C. Mednick has been awarded nearly $2.7 million in federal grants to continue researching the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, which has implications for improving sleep and memory for aging adults and the health of college students who pop so-called “smart drugs.”

Sara C. Mednick has received nearly $2.7 million in grants for research that has implications for sleep and memory. Photo Credit: UCR Today
Sara C. Mednick has received nearly $2.7 million in grants for research that has implications for sleep and memory. Photo Credit: UCR Today

Mednick previously led a team whose groundbreaking research confirmed the mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate memory and found that Ambien, a commonly prescribed sleep aid, enhances the process.

The National Institute on Aging, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense-Office of Naval Research have awarded Mednick grants to support research into sleep processes that are important for learning and memory, and how those processes might be manipulated to improve both.

Supported by a five-year, $1.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Aging, Mednick is expanding on research published last year which demonstrated for the first time the critical role that sleep spindles play in consolidating memory in the hippocampus region of the brain. Her team also showed that pharmaceuticals could significantly improve that process, far more than sleep alone.  Research like this is an example of Catalyst for Innovation in Riverside and also has amazing health implications.

Sleep spindles are bursts of brain activity that last for a second or less during a specific stage of sleep. The hippocampus, part of the cerebral cortex, is important in the consolidation of information from short-term to long-term memory, and spatial navigation. The hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain damaged by Alzheimer’s disease.

The new study, which began in fall 2013, will investigate doses of Ambien needed to boost sleep spindles and whether declarative memory – the ability to recall facts and knowledge – improves as well. The next study will test the same question in older adults.

For the full article, click here.


UCR Ranks 3rd in Nation for Hispanics

(This article includes excerpts from the study published in on October 27, 2014.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

In a nationwide study, the University of California, Riverside made the Top 50 Colleges for Hispanic Students list, according to

The rankings, based on Hispanic enrollment and graduation rates, and were created to help students transition from high school to higher education, the site said.

“Many Hispanic students are the first in their families to attend college, so it is important for them to find a support system that will help them navigate degrees, financial aid and their school and social obligations,” the study’s reads.

All the schools on the list offer a cultural center, as well as degree programs and scholarships, for Hispanics.

According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Hispanic students that enrolled in higher education after graduating high school surpassed that percentage for white students last year, marking the first in history. Also, the dropout rate for Hispanics continues to decline, dropping from about 23 percent in 2008 to about 15 percent in 2012.

UCR is a testament to the diversity of our city which falls within the pillars Unified City and Location of Choice.  People have a desire to meet and communicate with others that are not like themselves, and there are many opportunities for that in Riverside.

For the complete story, click here.

“Ideas Worth Spreading”: TEDx Riverside Speakers United By Ideas

(This article contains excerpts from article by Kurt Miller, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 16,2014.)

TEDx Riverside brought together 20 speakers for an eight-hour marathon of inspiration on Thursday at the Fox Performing Arts Center.   TED conferences are brought to communities throughout the world to encourage a convergence of technology, design and entertainment.  To promote education, TEDx Riverside gave 500 tickets to local high schools and filled the balcony with teenagers. It provided buses and lunch for students of Riverside Unified School District.  

“Everybody in this room is a lifelong learner,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey declared in his opening remarks.

Nobel Prize winner and UC Riverside alumni Richard Schrock.  Photo credit: City of Riverside
Nobel Prize winner and UC Riverside alumni Richard Schrock. Photo credit: City of Riverside

Most of the speakers had Inland ties, but many have wide renown.  They included Nobel laureate Richard Schrock, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside in 1967 and is now a chemistry professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Another UCR graduate was Steve Breen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning and a children’s author.

Among the more unusual presentations was performance artist Gregory Adamson creating a 6-by-6-foot painting of John Lennon in 11 minutes, accompanied by a medley of Lennon and Beatles songs. Photo credit: Fielding Buck
Among the more unusual presentations was performance artist Gregory Adamson creating a 6-by-6-foot painting of John Lennon in 11 minutes, accompanied by a medley of Lennon and Beatles songs. Photo credit: Fielding Buck

The TEDx Riverside event was a model of all the Seizing Our Destiny pillars.  Riversiders from of all ages and backgrounds attended the event on Thursday October, 16 as a unified city with a common interest to be entertained and inspired.  Although each speaker was completely different, they all seem to be on the same wavelength of maximizing personal potential and advocating intelligent growth in our community.  Riverside is a city that honors and builds on its assets to become a location of choice that catalyzes innovation in all forms, while enhancing quality of life.

To read more about TEDx Riverside, click here.

UCR Earns Top-10 Ranking in New Social Mobility Index Survey

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Ross French, published in UCR Today on October 17,2014.)

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: Ross French
UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: UCR Today.

The University of California, Riverside has been included among the top-10 schools on the new Social Mobility Index (SMI) survey, co-sponsored by CollegeNet and PayScale. The SMI ranking emphasizes economic mobility and the extent that a college or university helps its students with family incomes below the national median improve their social and economic standing.

UCR placed eighth overall among the 539 schools with a SMI ranking of 43.79. UC Davis placed sixth overall with 49.58 points and UC Berkeley was ninth with 43.36 points. The top school in the survey was Montana Tech of the University of Montana. The full rankings can be found on their website.

The survey’s methodology incorporated five weighted variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families are below the US median income, graduation rate, reported median salary 0-5 years after graduation, and endowment. The survey specifically did not incorporate reputations based upon the opinions of faculty or administrators regarding social or economic mobility, as it would “perpetuate the biases and stereotypes collected in such surveys.”

According to the survey 42.98% of UCR students are considered “low income.” The salary for UCR grads considered “early career employees,” defined as “full-time employees with five years of experience or less in their career or field working in the U.S. who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees,” is $45,600.

This is the second significant survey in which UCR has received high marks for social mobility, proving once again that Riverside is indeed a Location of Choice. For the last four years, the university has been ranked in the top-10 among national universities in Washington Monthly’s Annual College Ranking Survey, placing second overall in 2013 and 2014.  The Washington Monthly Survey considers civic engagement, research, and social mobility.

The article accompanying the Washington Monthly ranking read, in part:  “The UC campus in Riverside…. stands out as a model for other public universities to follow….. Riverside is unusually focused on social mobility. Since 2006, its enrollment has grown by 25 percent. Half of all freshmen are first-generation college students, and the campus is the most racially and ethnically diverse within the UC system. Riverside’s focus on public service exceeds that of almost every other national university.”

For the complete article, click here.

Lab Equipment to Benefit Bourns College of Engineering

(This article includes excerpts from the article written in Quality Magazine and published on October 17, 2014.)

B&K Precision, which manufactures and sells precision test and measurement instruments worldwide, has outfitted the test benches in an electrical and computer engineering lab at Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside with all new, state-of-the art equipment.


Victor Tolan, President and CEO of B&K Precision, has a penchant for equipping the engineers of tomorrow with the tools they need today. His company’s generosity will benefit more than 500 students each year at BCOE through the technical hands-on training they will receive as future engineers using the equipment. The precision test and measurement instruments include oscilloscopes, function generators, power supplies and digital multimeters. The work stations accommodate two students each, and are designated for circuits and electronics lab exercises as well as activities related to independent student projects.

The Bourns College of Engineering celebrates its 25th year in 2014, and is ranked among the best public engineering colleges of its size in the nation. BCOE engineers provide a source of new ideas, products and technologies to the world while leading interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts in education, research and industrial partnerships. BCOE offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees through bioengineering, chemical and environmental engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering departments, and computer engineering and college-wide materials science and engineering programs. The college has more than 2,400 undergraduate students, 620 graduate students, more than $32 million in annual research expenditures and is home to eight interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research centers.

Donations like this increase the visibility of the great work done at UC Riverside to equip our future engineers.  UC Riverside is known for catalyzing innovation in many fields of study and thus promotes the aspirations of Seizing Our Destiny.

For more information on B&K Precision, visit

For the complete article, click here.

Seminars To Explore Diversity At UC Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Bettye Miller, published in UCRToday on October 10, 2014.)

UC Riverside’s Center for Ideas and Society has been awarded a $208,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a two-year series of seminars exploring diversity at UCR and in Southern California.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards $208,000 grant to Center for Ideas and Society.  Photo credit: UCRToday
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards $208,000 grant to Center for Ideas and Society. Photo credit: UCRToday

The seminar series – “Advancing Intercultural Studies” – will examine changing perceptions of ethnic, cultural and cosmopolitan identities, the practices of immigrant religions and developments in civic and political engagement, said Georgia Warnke, distinguished professor of political science and director of the center.

As one of the most diverse public research universities in the country, UCR is uniquely positioned to explore questions about the benefits and challenges of diversity, she said, among them, “how do we capture the contributions of a diverse student population, and how do we enhance learning from that?”

Because of UCR’s undergraduate demographics – 42 percent are under-represented minorities – the inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students in the seminars is important in its creation of a pipeline to increase the diversity of American university and college faculty, Warnke said.

The enrichment of diversity among students at UC Riverside is not only remarkable, it plays a key role in making Riverside such a unified city.  It is vital for college campus’ to analyze changes in ethnic and cultural perceptions and adapt to maintain a healthy atmosphere for students.  Riversiders respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input within our community, while proactively engaging across historical dividing lines.

Georgia Warnke
Georgia Warnke

The first of four quarterly seminars will begin meeting in January. Each seminar will be composed of four faculty members, and four graduate and four undergraduate students, each of whom will write a paper based on research produced during the quarter. The seminars are not open to the public, but a concluding conference in spring 2016 will be held at UCR’s Culver Center in downtown Riverside and will be a public event.

To read more, click here.

Riverside Recognized For Encouraging Healthy Workplace

(This article contains excerpts from an article Suzanne Hurt, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 9, 2014.)

The American Heart Association has recognized the city of Riverside’s continued effort to improve employees’ health.  The association gave the city a 2014 Platinum Fit-Friendly Award and Work site Innovation Award at a City Council meeting Aug. 12, according to city spokesman Phil Pitchford.  The city was also recognized with the health award in 2013.

Photo credit: Press-Enterprise
Photo credit: Press-Enterprise

The award is given to companies and organizations that meet criteria such as offering healthy food at the workplace, supporting workers’ fitness activities and taking other steps to encourage a healthy work site, according to the association.

The City’s Human Resources Department began its wellness programs in 2009. Workers lost 7,400 pounds in four years through an annual “Get Fit Challenge” weight-loss program.

The City of Riverside being recognized by the American Heart Association for two consecutive years, makes our beloved city a location of choice for individuals seeking a healthy lifestyle.  What really makes Riverside so unique are the intangible benefits and values that enhance the quality of life in the city.  Riverside is becoming a location of choice for people and organizations all over the world.

To read more, click here.

UC Riverside Research Team Probing Other Planets For Life

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Mark Muckenfuss, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 8, 2014)

A UC Riverside-led research team is part of a $50 million NASA program designed to detect life on distant planets.  Biogeochemistry professor Timothy Lyons has spent years studying the chemistry of ancient rocks on Earth. The data from that work has allowed him and his colleagues to theorize about the environmental conditions on the planet at various times in its early evolution.

Biogeochemistry Professor, Timothy Lyons
Biogeochemistry Professor, Timothy Lyons

This research initiative, as part of the NASA program, is an extraordinary example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, and UC Riverside is at the forefront.  The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support research and exploration in the scientific community.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, nation, and world to follow. 

The $8 million that Lyons’ multi-disciplinary team will receive from the NASA Astrobiology Institute is for a five-year study. He believes it won’t take much longer than that before astrobiologists will be able to detect life on distant planets.  

He’s excited by the current exploration of Mars, using rovers to sample the soil and, among other things, look for any signs of ancient life. With new, more powerful telescopes due to come on line soon, he expects the number of identified exoplanets to further grow. With each one, he said, there is the possibility of finding extraterrestrial life.  The best way to discover such life, he said, is to look at our own planet.

The broad spectrum of scientists involved – 19 researchers from 11 universities and labs – includes experts in genomics, tectonics, geochemistry, paleontology and earth system modeling.

Two of the team members are former graduate researchers who worked in Lyons’ lab. UCR graduates Noah Planavsky, now at Yale, and Christopher Reinhard, at Georgia Tech, helped Lyons gather ancient rock samples and reconstruct the conditions on Earth from the period when those rocks were formed. Having that team centered at UCR will bring greater recognition to the school, he said.

“It’s a good thing for UCR, and it’s a good thing for the Inland Empire”, said Lyons.

To read more, click here.