Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education at UCI is recognized as Innovator in Best Practices for Social Mobility for Student Success in 2017  

“When we make college more affordable, we make the American Dream more achievable.”

Universities hold the promise of a better future, a future where the kind of social mobility promised by the American Dream is more than just a fantasy. Equal access to the kind of upward social mobility higher education creates has been a priority since day one for the University of California, Irvine.

That’s why we celebrate one of our own receiving CollegeNET’s 2017 Social Mobility Innovator Award. The Social Mobility Award was presented to Dr. Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education at UC Irvine.

Michael Dennin largely credits UCI’s inspirational embrace of student diversity and college access for all. In fact, this is hardly the first time UCI has been recognized for helping first generation students and low-income students achieve the American Dream.

The 2017 Social Mobility Innovator Award was presented by CollegeNET, Inc at their first Social Mobility Summit, in Portland, Oregon. This recognition comes on the heels of Dennin’s nomination for the 2017 Orange County Business Journal Innovator of the Year.

The five recipients of CollegeNET’s 2017 Social Mobility Innovator Award represent universities that have ranked near the top of the Social Mobility Index over the past three years. The Social Mobility Index (SMI) is a data-driven system that ranks 4-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers. ‘

Alongside Dennin, the following educational leaders were also recognized:

  • Dr. Rory McElwee, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Rowan University in New Jersey
  • Dr. Kristin Croyle, Vice President for Student Success at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Dr. Elwood L. Robinson, Chancellor at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina
  • Dr. Jaye Padgett, Vice Provost for Student Success and a Professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz

The latest SMI rankings will be released this Fall, with the goal of redefining what it means to be “prestigious” in our higher education system. Colleges and universities ranked highly on the SMI are advancing economic opportunity, and thus addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time.

At the Social Mobility Summit, Dennin spoke on how critical it is for institutions of higher education to develop a unique, personalized and scalable support system for students — especially at large universities.

“We have an incredibly diverse student body of 23,000, with first-generation students making up about 55 percent of the total,” said Dennin. “At the same time, our four-year graduation rate is nearly 70 percent. We think that the underlying keys to this success have been leveraging localized academic advising and centralized support for our students.”

Dennin’s innovative work as Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning has drastically improved the undergraduate experience with academic advising. His leadership has also led to significant funding for STEM outreach programs, and research on STEM inclusion from both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES).

Thanks to the generosity of the National Science Foundation, Dennin hosted the California STEM INCLUDES Conference, gathering educators from across California. These educators came together to facilitate learning and share successful STEM education programs from across the state.

Dennin is also co-Principal Investigator on a $2,700,000 grant awarded in June from the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES). This grant was awarded to fund research evaluating the effectiveness of introductory physics and chemistry courses, focusing on students who are underrepresented in science.

Dr. Michael Dennin is truly an inspirational asset to the UCI campus. His actions continually demonstrate a commitment to inclusive excellence, and reaffirm the first pillar of UCI’s strategic plan — to “ensure that UCI’s educational opportunities are an engine for social mobility, impact, and positive innovation.”

Comments are closed.