UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox announced the appointment of Elizabeth Watkins as provost and executive vice chancellor effective May 1, 2021, pending approval by University of California President Michael Drake. Watkins has extensive experience as a University of California administrator, faculty member, and leader in the Academic Senate.
As vice chancellor at UC San Francisco, Dr. Watkins oversees all student affairs functions, enrollment and financial aid, institutional research, education technology services, and the international students and scholars office. As graduate dean, her office supports 19 Ph.D. programs, eight master’s programs, and 1,100 postdoctoral scholars. She is involved in seeking external funding for student support through individual philanthropy and competitively awarded grants and has worked to build the student body and postdoc population with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Liz is deeply invested in the University of California and committed to our research, teaching, and public engagement mission,” said Wilcox. “Her experience at a large, complex sister institution has prepared her well for the extraordinary opportunities facing our campus and California during an admittedly difficult chapter in history.”
Dr. Watkins earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University and conducts research on the interrelations of medicine, science, gender, commerce, and culture in the United States in the 20th-21st centuries. She is the author or co-editor of five books and numerous articles on the history of birth control, sex hormones, and prescription drugs. Her work has been funded by NIH, NSF, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Academy of Education, and the University of California President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities.
“I am excited about the opportunity to champion the education of first generation to college and historically underrepresented students.” said Watkins. “I am also keen to help develop and implement innovative programs to build on the UCR faculty’s existing foundation of nationally and internationally recognized scholarship to grow into a research powerhouse and to encourage and support external funding for scholars in all disciplines.”
Watkins will collaborate closely with Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Gerry Bomotti to manage the financial challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented budgetary contraction has combined with the added expense of protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff to produce an imposing set of circumstances for the coming years.
The provost and executive vice chancellor is the chief academic and operating officer of the campus. She will oversee seven degree-granting colleges and schools, the library system, the Graduate Division, and University Extension. In addition, the provost is responsible for enrollment services, information technology solutions, campus ombuds office, and supervision of the vice provosts for undergraduate education, academic personnel, and international affairs.
This executive leader envisions, articulates, leads, and implements efforts that are focused on the university’s core scholarly mission, consistent with the campus’s broader commitment to excellence, equity, and access.