Students working on a project

Pillar 2 Progress First in Class

Under “First in Class,” our 2016 strategic plan committed to:

  • Expanding the student body and making UCI a first-choice campus for students.
  • Fostering excellence in teaching and learning.
  • Utilizing modern technological tools to create the most effective learning environments.
  • Integrating student life with educational experiences.
  • Ensuring that UCI’s educational opportunities are an engine for social mobility, impact, and positive innovation.
  • Building on the success of the Campuswide Honors Program by considering a new honors college.

We have made outstanding progress on these goals over the past five years. Since our strategic plan was released in 2016, we have grown total student enrollments by nearly 5,700 to our current level of more than 37,000 students. We have been remarkably successful in making UC Irvine a first-choice campus for students. The campus received over 143,000 applications for fall 2023 (a 45 percent increase over 2016 application levels), setting a new record and continuing to solidify its position as one of the most desired schools in the country. Additionally, UC Irvine was—for the fifth consecutive year—the top UC choice for in-state, first-generation students, with 45 percent of our California-resident applications coming from those who will be the first generation in their families to attend college.

Our new Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation trains faculty in new pedagogical techniques through its Active Learning Institute, and we have constructed a state-of-the-art active learning facility, the Anteater Learning Pavilion.

Outside the classroom, we provide students with opportunities to engage in educational life experiences that will prepare them to become future leaders. These include conducting research through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, becoming an entrepreneur at our ANTrepreneur Center, or interning in Sacramento or Washington, D.C. through our Office of Civic Engagement.

The campus’ low-income and Pell Grant enrollment and favorable graduate outcomes have led to our recognition as the #1 university doing the most for the American Dream from The New York Times and the #1 best college in the U.S. from Money magazine. Finally, we are building on the historical success of the Campuswide Honors Program in the expanded Campuswide Honors Collegium.