UCI Student Excellence Center (SEC) recently unveiled a dedication plaque to commemorate the partnership between UCI Libraries and the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (OVPTL) that brought the SEC to life. The plaque memorializes the opening of the SEC on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, and lists the campus leaders who were integral to its establishment, including Michael Dennin, Vice Provost, OVPTL; Jennifer Aaron, Associate Vice Provost, OVPTL; Lorelei Tanji, University Librarian; and Kevin Ruminson, Associate University Librarian for Administrative Services. The plaque also recognizes the members of the SEC Advisory Committee, including:

  • Professor Nasrin Rahimieh, Academic Senate CORCL Chair, 2017-2018
  • Professor Jeffrey A. Barrett, Academic Senate CORCL Chair, 2018-2019
  • Professor Raju Metherate, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, School of Biological Sciences
  • Lydia Natoolo, President, Associated Students of UCI, 2017-2018
  • Annie Le, President, Associated Students of UCI, 2018-2019
  • Michelle Chan, President, Associated Graduate Students
  • Gregory Jue, Director, UCI Space Management

About the Student Excellence Center

With a partnership that started in 2016, UCI Libraries and the OVPTL worked together to design the Student Excellence Center as a hub that would unite important student programs with key library services in one central location. The project received support and funding from the Office of the Provost when a 2018 Provost-charged Ad Hoc Committee determined the positive impact of creating the space. Construction began shortly after, and the SEC officially opened its doors at the start of fall quarter 2021.

Strategically located on the fifth floor of the UCI Science Library, the SEC provides easy access to library services along with essential student-facing programs including the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the Scholarship Opportunities Program (SOP) and the Campuswide Honors Collegium (CHC).

UCI Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program staff assist students with all aspects of the undergraduate research process—from finding suitable research or creative opportunities to help with drafting proposals, presenting results and writing scholarly papers for publication. Students can visit the UROP space for help with applying for funding and receiving recognition for their projects. The UROP hosts workshops on how to get involved in research, write project proposals, present at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, and other research-related opportunities.

UCI Scholarship Opportunities Program helps high-achieving undergraduates successfully compete for the scholarships, grants and graduate fellowships. Students can visit the SOP space to access the latest scholarship information, receive scholarship advising, and get help with writing CVs and application essays. SOP mock interviews, informational workshops and social events are also hosted in the SEC.

The UCI Campuswide Honors Collegium space serves as a hub for honors students, offering academic advising and support in a state-of-the-art setting. The CHC’s student lounge, The Locus, provides space for studying, student meetings, programs, and informal gatherings.

Celebrating Cross-Campus Collaboration

For UCI leadership, the SEC is a shining example of campus units coming together with the shared goal of supporting student success.

“Beyond offering easy access to important resources, the UCI Student Excellence Center provides our students a place on campus to meet, connect and form communities of support,” said Hal Stern, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. “The commemorative plaque serves as a symbol of the dedication of our faculty and staff members who have helped make the Student Excellence Center a reality for our students.”

“After years of brainstorming, planning and hard work, it is incredible to see our ideas become a reality,” says Lorelei Tanji, University Librarian. “For myself and the many others involved, the Student Excellence Center represents our dedication to improving the student experience, our commitment to pedagogical innovation, and our willingness to evolve to serve the changing needs of the modern university student.”

“By bringing together important student-facing programs and library resources, the Student Excellence Center is a great representation of UCI’s commitment to improving access to essential resources,” said Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean of Undergraduate Education. “I am proud of what we have accomplished and grateful to everyone who worked together to make this possible.”

Visit the SEC website for more information about the Center and the units that reside there. Visit the UCI Libraries website for more information on library resources and services. Finally, visit the OVPTL website to learn more about its units and programs.