A Big ‘M’ Welcome

Nearly 2,400 new students to UC Merced – first-years and transfers – were celebrated at the annual Scholars Bridge Crossing. A large crowd of faculty, staff, family and friends cheered them on. “It’s fun watching them build their legacy,” said Iellene Hernandez, a second-year student who works in the Health Promotion department of Health Services. She held a sign that read: We’re All in This Together.

Later that day, Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz and Staff Assembly President Austyn Smith Jones addressed a large gathering at the Staff Welcome for fall semester.

“The foundation of all we do, and the reason we can do so much, is you,” Muñoz said. “There is no group of people I’d rather be working with.”

Working on How We Work

The coronavirus pandemic enrolled all of us in a vast research project on what a job looks like. Seemingly overnight, phrases like “work modality” and “flexible hybrid” became phrases nearly as common as “social distancing.”

That real-life research is coalescing today at UC Merced through the How We Work initiative – a study designed to improve customer service and employee satisfaction in a workforce that remains largely dispersed – doing our jobs across remote and on-site locations.

How We Work published a report in late July that contains several recommendations, along with a broad timeline for developing an action plan. The report is based on detailed feedback from more than 500 respondents from across the campus community.

Please take a few minutes to read the report. The How We Work webpage also features an interactive dashboard that analyzes the feedback data, along with an FAQ and a means to submit questions.


Through partnerships and programs, UC Merced forges trails to health, development and knowledge in the Valley.

More Opportunity for Labor Center

An injection of funds from the latest California government budget will allow the UC Merced Community and Labor Center to increase its capacity to conduct research and public service on immigration, workplace health and safety, and economic development issues. “Valley workers are on the front lines of global economic and environment challenges,” center Executive Director Ana Padilla said. The UC Merced labor center is the nation’s largest serving a rural region. The state budget allocated $13 million to fund research and education on labor issues throughout the UC system.

Pathways for Students of Color

The Black California Community Colleges CEO’s Retreat debuted at UC Merced in July. The three-day event’s goal was to help ensure students of color build a strong foundation for attending a four-year college. Attendees learned about UC Merced’s mission and the university’s pathways for transfer students, including the online Program Pathways Mapper. The retreat was led by Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Delia Saenz.

From Dinuba Students to Bobcats

UC Merced announced in June expansion of the Merced Automatic Admission Program (MAAP), adding students from Dinuba Unified School District. The partnership will allow students with a weighted GPA of 3.5 and no grade lower than a “C” to be admitted automatically to UC Merced through a streamlined admissions process. MAAP was earlier established with Merced Union High School District (MUHSD). In the first opportunity for MUHSD students to use the program, 84% of those who applied were eligible and 67% of those eligible – 114 students – applied and were admitted to UC Merced.

Valley Educators Come Together

UC Merced partnered with local higher education institutions for a July symposium dedicated to education research findings from the region. The Central Valley Region Interdisciplinary Symposium on Education Research (CV-RISER) brought together researchers, educators, students and leaders from the region’s institutions to propose ways to address voids in education research and facilitate interdisciplinary conversations and inter-institutional collaborations. Other participants hailed from Fresno State, CSU Stanislaus, Fresno City College and Merced College.

Campus Parkway the First Step for Planned Merced Loop


Since the beginning, UC Merced has made efforts to connect in many ways with nearby communities. Now that connection is quite direct. This is a very exciting time.

Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz

At a certain rise in the roadbed of the newly opened Campus Parkway, northbound travelers get a suitable-for-framing view of UC Merced in the distance. It’s a value-added for the four-lane route that foreshadows an ambitious transportation plan that links the university to nearby communities.

A ceremony July 8 celebrated the opening of the parkway from Childs Avenue north to Yosemite Avenue. The parkway extends south to Highway 99, where development for shoppers and travelers is well underway.

Campus Parkway features a path and bridges for bicyclists, along with traffic-controlling roundabouts at Olive and Yosemite avenues. Plans call for extending the parkway north to the campus, connecting at Bellevue Avenue.

The City of Merced and Merced County governments are working with the university and state agencies to develop an expressway loop that would enhance access to and from Atwater, the Castle complex and other communities.

"Since the beginning, UC Merced has made efforts to connect in many ways with nearby communities," Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said at the ceremony. "Now that connection is quite direct. This is a very exciting time."

Welcome New Staff

June 1 – Aug. 8, 2022

  • Catherine Aceves
  • Alyssa Arteaga
  • Dieddra Attondo
  • Arline Basaldua
  • Jas Birring
  • Julie Bishop
  • Rahil Chadha
  • Clarissa Correa
  • Sandra Cuevas-Lezama
  • Jocelyn De La Torre
  • Lela Dennis
  • Tessa Easley
  • Nicolette Feltman
  • Laura Ferreira Corona
  • Heather French
  • Jason Grace
  • Gary Hagy
  • Jared Knittel
  • Jim Levy
  • Rebecca Linderman
  • Esmeralda Macias
  • Kylie McMillan
  • Lorena Mejia
  • David Mendoza
  • Mike Mohammad
  • Jose Navarro
  • Victoria Ordaz Garcia
  • Thomas Pinto
  • Alejandro Reyes
  • Juan Rodriguez
  • Ruth Salazar
  • Caitlin Schauer
  • Randy Schwantes
  • Aimee Tatum
  • Danny Teo
  • Pa Va
  • Eli Vargas
  • Isabel Vargas Perez
  • Chad Williams
  • Sam Yniguez
  • Mark Zaragoza