Mary Croughan, provost and executive vice chancellor at UC Davis, today (July 7) announced the appointment of Cynthia Carter Ching, a professor and associate dean in the School of Education, to serve as interim vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education.
She will take up her new post July 15, following the departure of Carolyn Thomas, who was recently appointed provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at California State University, Fullerton, Thomas’ alma mater.
Ching has served as the associate dean for academic programs in the School of Education since 2015. She was the director of undergraduate programs from 2008 to 2013, and has taught undergraduate classes as well as graduate-level courses.
She joined the School of Education in 2007 and was an affiliated faculty member with the Foods for Health Institute from 2012 to 2016.
“Cynthia’s strong affinity for undergraduate education, substantial leadership experience and research expertise in issues relating to the use of technology in learning make her an ideal candidate for this interim role,” Croughan said.
“Moreover, Cynthia demonstrated a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion and to being a strong advocate for students.”
Croughan said Ching’s appointment as interim vice provost and dean “was the result of a search process that generated expressions of interest from a dozen outstanding tenured faculty members from across the campus.”
“The process benefited greatly from the invaluable insights and feedback provided by a screening committee of faculty and administrators,” the provost said in her announcement. “In addition, many staff within Undergraduate Education shared feedback about the needs and aspirations of Undergraduate Education.
“I am overwhelmed at the genuine outpouring of interest and commitment by our faculty and staff in supporting undergraduate education at UC Davis.”
Graduate of UC Irvine and UCLA
Ching holds two University of California degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in psychology (with an emphasis in cognitive science) from UC Irvine and a Ph.D. in education (Department of Psychological Studies in Education) from UCLA.
She began her faculty career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education. She spent six years there before coming to UC Davis.
She comes into the Office of Undergraduate Education during a pandemic that forced a switch to all-remote instruction in spring quarter and Summer Sessions.
“As both an experienced teacher in online instruction (at UC Davis and at Illinois), and as a faculty member whose area of research is in educational technology, my guiding principle is always that we make learning as active and interactive as we possibly can, whether that learning is technology-mediated or otherwise,” she wrote in her letter of interest for the interim appointment.
“As a campus, the skills we build and the things we learn about teaching during COVID-19 can serve us far beyond the pandemic. As interim vice provost and dean, this would be my approach to leading [Undergraduate Education] over the next challenging year.”
Croughan outlined the next steps toward a permanent appointment. “In consultation with Chancellor May, I anticipate initiating a search ... later this year, and will provide more information about that process at that time.”