New Undergraduate Education dean takes helm of restructured team

Louie Rodriguez started his new role as vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education, or VPDUE, for UC Riverside on April 1. 

Rodriguez is a longtime professor in UCR’s Graduate School of Education and served as the school’s interim dean from 2019 to 2022. 

“As I look ahead, I plan to identify, celebrate, and amplify best practices with our various campus partners,” Rodriguez said. “I believe Undergraduate Education has the potential to serve as a national model and in order to accomplish that, we need to build opportunities that help undergraduates learn, build, and thrive while UCR students, and beyond.”  

Rodriguez assumes the helm of an Undergraduate Education unit that has seen structural changes in the past year under interim VPDUE Ken Baerenklau, who is the university’s associate provost. 

Robert Ream, a professor in the School of Education, was hired as the inaugural associate dean for student success. Ream supervises pre-professional advising provided through the Health Professions Advising Center, co-curricular academic support provided through the Academic Resource Center, and other initiatives focused on the retention and success of UCR undergraduates. He also plays a critical coordinating role for UCR’s decentralized academic advising function. 

In collaboration with Student Affairs, Undergraduate Education created a new Black student success coordinator position that reports to Ream and to African Student Programs. Long-time academic advisor Victor Moreira was hired for the role.

The unit secured a $1 million Kessler Scholars grant, which is being managed by Ebony Miles, who also reports to Ream. 

This past year, Undergraduate Education welcomed the University Honors Program back into UE, expanding the portfolio of its director, Richard Cardullo, to include high-impact practices. As associate dean, Cardullo will supervise the honors program, undergraduate research, R’Courses, UCDC and UC Sacramento, and a new donor-funded professionalization program called Excel+. 

The University Writing Program continues to be led by John Briggs, who has announced his intention to retire this summer, and XCITE continues to be led by Executive Director Richard Edwards. Nelly Cruz, a long-time UCR staff member and doctoral student in the School of Education, is currently University Innovation Alliance Fellow. 

Rodriguez is an Inland Empire native who earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino, and then his master’s and doctorate degrees in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. As interim dean at the School of Education, he oversaw a $26 million budget, oversaw enrollment growth, and hired 30% of the school’s faculty. He joined UCR in 2017 and, as associate dean, helped launch a new undergraduate education major for the School of Education. He is the author of four books. 

Baerenklau served as interim VPDUE since March 2022. Jennifer Brown was in the role from 2018 to 2022. 



April 4, 2023