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Giving the Faculty Flexibility

UC Riverside Chancellor Serves on American Council on Education Panel on Higher Education Reform

Report Released Today Suggests More Diversity in Academia Critical to Keep U.S. Competitive in the World

(February 10, 2005)

Chancellor France A. CόrdovaEnlarge

Chancellor France A. Cόrdova

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- UC Riverside Chancellor France A. Cόrdova participated by conference call Thursday, Feb. 10, in the release of an American Council on Education (ACE) report: “An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers.”

The report suggests that rigid tenure track policies are posing barriers to women and people of color in academia. While women account for 51 percent of new doctorates awarded, they account for just 38 percent of university faculty and 28 percent at research universities, the authors noted.

Cόrdova was one of the 10 members of the National Panel of Presidents and Chancellors contributing to the report’s production. The report was financed by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

“It is just not acceptable to continue as we have been,” said Cόrdova. “There are not enough women and minorities in the professoriate. We need to invest in the economy, national security and health of our country by having a representative faculty. We absolutely have to figure things out. The imperative to change is just too great.”

As the only leader of a California university on the panel, Cόrdova took the opportunity to describe a University of California study aimed at increasing the number of women and minorities in the academic pipeline by addressing family life issues. The report is available at

The ACE report recommends that universities create re-entry opportunities for academics who have stepped out of the tenure track to attend to family responsibilities; abolish penalties for gaps in service; and provide assistance to new faculty hires with family-related relocation issues and spousal employment issues.

The report also recommends that universities take steps to welcome and support a diverse faculty, so that the U.S. remains competitive in the global marketplace of research and scholarship. Such knowledge, the report states, is critical to the national economy and security of the nation.

The report also addresses the need to offer retirement-age professors a chance to continue teaching or conducting research part-time, even as they transition to retirement.

Córdova has served as UC Riverside Chancellor since July, 2002. She was a professor of physics and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara and from 1993 to 1996 served as the chief scientist at NASA, the primary scientific advisor to the NASA administrator. She won NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. Córdova headed the department of astronomy and astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University from 1989 to 1993 and before that served as deputy group leader of the Space Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology. She has served on the President's National Medal of Science Committee, and the Fundamental Science Committee of the National Science and Technology Council. She is currently a member of: the National Academy of Sciences' Strategic Communications and National Security Committee; and the Policy and Global Affairs Committee; the University of California President's Council on National Laboratories; and serves on the Board of Directors for Belo Corporation and Edison International.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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