MERCED, CA — Jane Fiori Lawrence, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at the University of Vermont, has been named as the founding Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for the University of California, Merced, it was announced today by Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey.
Expected to officially assume her new position on October 1, 2001, Lawrence will be a prime architect of the student educational experience at UC Merced, taking the lead in establishing co-curricular and student support activities and serving as a partner in the development of academic programs.
Jane Lawrence will be an excellent and essential member of our senior team, and I am delighted to welcome her to UC Merced, Tomlinson-Keasey said. Her tremendous skills and extensive experience in both academic and students affairs will be critical to the creation of the student services programs for our campus. Dr. Lawrence also is committed to developing a plan for quality student life that reflects the high academic standards of the University of California.
In her current position as the University of Vermonts Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Lawrences primary responsibilities include undergraduate educational issues and student advising; curriculum and programmatic changes, including academic program review; first-year and honors programs and enrollment management, including enrollment planning, recruitment and retention. She also supervises the offices of admissions, financial aid, registration; international education and academically-themed residence hall programs and sits on the Presidents Cabinet, where one of her roles is serving as an advocate for students concerns and issues. In addition, Lawrence directs a Hewlett Foundation general education grant that she received last spring.
Designing and building a network of outstanding student service programs at the new University of California campus is an exciting prospect, Lawrence said. A truly student-centered research university would be a tremendous strength for UC Merced and it is one of my primary objectives to help turn that vision into reality.
Student recruitment also is a top priority, she added. In addition to pursuing the mission of UC to serve the very best students from across California and beyond, we will also have a special focus to encourage San Joaquin Valley students to consider UC Merced as an option, to understand the value of a UC education and to prepare academically to take advantage of the educational opportunities a premier research institution has to offer. The San Joaquin Valley region provides UC Merced with a wonderful opportunity to bring together a rich mosaic of students and faculty and create a genuinely inclusive community.
Appointed as Vice Provost at the University of Vermont in January 2000, Lawrence is responsible for and involved in all aspects of undergraduate education. In that role she has strived to improve the student experience, working to provide services and programs that meet the differing needs of a varied student population and bringing together faculty, staff and students to brainstorm and implement solutions on campus issues of concern.
Lawrence also is committed to issues of recruitment and diversity, recently completing work on a five-year, multifaceted recruitment plan for the University of Vermont. Involved in the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and students, she also was appointed as an Affirmative Action Liaison for all units reporting to the provosts office.
Prior to her work at the University of Vermont, Lawrence was director of the University Honors College at Washington State University from 1994 to January 2000. In this position, her responsibilities included the education of academically-talented undergraduates, supervision of the Honors faculty and staff, changes to curriculum, fundraising, monitoring budget and development funds, and teaching.
Starting in 1986, Lawrence began to work at the University of Maryland as a research assistant for the National Center of Postsecondary Governance and Finance, where she assisted on a three-year federally funded Institutional Planning Project. In June 1988, she assumed the position of assistant director and subsequently served as acting director, and then as director of the University Honors Program until 1994.
Also at the University of Maryland, Lawrence served as an affiliate assistant professor on the graduate faculty in the Department of Education Policy, Planning and Administration from 1992 to 1994 and was the project director for a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to explore the feasibility of a core curriculum within the Honors Program.
Previously, Lawrence served from 1986 to 1987 as a research associate for the American Association for Higher Education in Washington, D.C. and from 1975 to 1985 worked at the John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California. At that campus, she served as director of admissions from 1975 to 1983 and as dean of student services from 1983 to 1985.
Lawrence earned her bachelors degree in modern European history from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and holds a masters degree in German and central European history from San Diego State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied and published on the history of American higher education, and holds a lifetime California Community College teaching credential in history. In addition, she studied German at UC Berkeley and higher education management at Harvard University.
Her academic honors include two teaching awards from University of Maryland Center for Excellence, an Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Maryland College Park Panhellenic Society and honorary induction into Phi Eta Sigma, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa and Golden Key Honors Society.
UC Merced currently employs almost 85 educators and professionals. The University's main campus in Merced is expected to open in fall 2004 to serve 1,000 students. The campus will grow over coming decades to serve 25,000 students. UC Merced contributes to educational access through the entire San Joaquin region via special educational and outreach centers in Fresno and Bakersfield. A new UC Merced center is planned for Modesto.