An Array of Campus News

All That Jazz

Nicole Mitchell

Jazz composer, flutist and bandleader Nicole Mitchell, a UCI professor of music, continued to rack up critical acclaim last year, including a New York Times “best albums of 2017” nod for “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds” with her eight-piece Black Earth Ensemble (which includes fellow UCI faculty member Kojiro Umezaki). Known for drawing on strands of experimentalism, jazz, gospel, spoken word, pop and African percussion, Mitchell was also named flutist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association and best flutist in DownBeat magazine’s annual critics poll. Reviewers additionally praised her 2017 “Liberation Narratives” album with poet Haki Madhubuti. To listen to “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds,” go to

“The target may have been younger voters, poor voters, minorities. But one of the casualties has been older voters.”

  • Richard Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of law and political science, on tightened voting requirements
  • The New York Times
  • Nov. 24, 2017

Protecting the Principles of Free Speech

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman was named co-chair of the advisory board for the University of California’s new National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement in October. He shares the appointment with Erwin Chemerinsky, former dean of the UCI School of Law. The advisory board also includes former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer; former U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr.; Anne Kornblut, Facebook’s director of strategic communications; UCLA law student Avi Oved; New York Times columnist Bret Stephens; and Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. The UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement will explore how the fundamental democratic principles of free speech and civic engagement must adapt to the challenges and opportunities of modern society. Said Gillman, who co-authored the book Free Speech on Campus with Chemerinsky: “The creation of this center comes at a critical time not only for higher education, but for our country as a whole.”

Helping Students Financially

UCI ranks as the seventh-best public institution of higher education in America for freshman financial aid programs, according to the Student Loan Report. Debt after graduation is one of the country’s most critical economic issues, and UCI is a leader in helping its students understand and manage the cost of college. The report recognizes 250 public schools for distributing the most financial aid to freshmen. Six of the top 10 are in the UC system, with the Riverside, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Davis and San Diego campuses joining UCI.

“Civil rights laws do a poor job of clearly defining what constitutes harassing or discriminatory behavior. This allows employers an opportunity to construct what compliance means and argue that they have complied with the law.”

  • Shauhin Talesh, professor of law
  • Variety
  • Dec. 13, 2017

Scholarships for Refugees

Iman Siddiqi

A family trip to Istanbul three years ago inspired UCI senior Iman Siddiqi, 21, to spearhead a scholarship program for UC students who are asylum-seekers or have refugee or asylum status. Siddiqi, a political science and global Middle East studies major, was affected by seeing Syrian refugee children begging on the streets. Upon her return to the U.S., she connected with some refugees online and was taken by their passion for education. Siddiqi wanted to help. First, she applied for and was awarded the UCI Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship. With her $6,000 project grant, she organized a dinner last November that raised more than $93,000 to establish the Refugee Students Scholarship Program, the first of its kind in the UC system and reportedly the first such program in the country to be led by students. Although details are still being worked out, Siddiqi said, the goal is for the scholarships to be awarded in time for the 2019-20 academic year. She said: “I am hopeful that the Refugee Students Scholarship Program will play a role in providing the current generation of displaced students and next generation of future leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to give back to their host communities and, ultimately, to their home countries.”

Fall 2018 Applications Snapshot


11% increase from 2017

increase in applications over 5 years largest surge in the UC system

of in-state freshmen applying to UC picked UCI among their top choices

UCI's freshman applications include the UC's largest number of under-represented California residents

choice for Chicano/Latino in-state freshman applying to UC

choice for African American in-state freshman applying to UC

New Dean Is Only Woman of Color Leading a Top-30 U.S. Law School

L. Song Richardson

Distinguished legal scholar and teacher L. Song Richardson took the helm as dean of the UCI School of Law in January – becoming the only woman of color to serve in this role among U.S. News & World Report’s top 30 law schools. Richardson, who also acted as interim dean, was chosen after a nationwide search following the May departure of founding dean Erwin Chemerinsky. She has been a member of UCI’s law school faculty since 2014, with a joint appointment in criminology, law & society. Richardson previously held law professorships at DePaul University, American University and the University of Iowa. In addition, she has worked as a state and federal public defender in Seattle and was an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Said Richardson: “I am passionate about redefining, reinventing and reimagining the future of legal education with the faculty, students and dedicated supporters of UCI Law.”

Advising on Health Nationwide

Dr. Howard Federoff, vice chancellor for health affairs and CEO of UCI Health, was named chair of the board of directors for the Association of Academic Health Centers in October. He is nationally renowned for his clinical and research work in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. “His vision and insights will add greatly in helping to lead our organization and inform all academic health centers as they strive to meet the challenges and opportunities of our time,” said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, the association’s president and CEO.

“For me, there is no doubt that this event is not part of a natural cycle. The Larsen C ice shelf will not collapse for another few decades, most likely, but this calving is unique in the history of the ice shelf since first seen by human eyes by the Norwegian explorer Carl Anton Larsen in 1893.”

  • Eric Rignot, Donald Bren Professor of Earth System Science and senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • The Washington Post
  • Nov. 15, 2017

Legal Voice Appointed for Campus

Andrea Gunn Eaton

Andrea Gunn Eaton joined UCI as chief campus counsel in December. As UCI’s top lawyer, she will head the Office of Campus Counsel and respond to a wide range of legal, regulatory, policy and governance matters at the university. Eaton will also serve as an adviser to the UC general counsel on campus legal issues and systemwide legal policy. Previously, she worked for the California State University system as the assistant vice chancellor & chief counsel for business and finance, as well as the resource attorney on the California Environmental Quality Act, construction and land use. Eaton was also university counsel for CSU, Dominguez Hills.