New UCI faculty gather at the University Club after a welcome ceremony that emphasized the importance of research and academic creativity. Steve Zylius / UCI

The University of California, Irvine is welcoming 100 new professors for the 2016-17 year, one of the largest cohorts in the campus’s recent history.

The fresh influx of academic minds is a major milestone in achieving Chancellor Howard Gillman’s goal of hiring an additional 250 permanent faculty members – a goal laid out in the UCI strategic plan released earlier this year. The School of Medicine, with 26 newcomers, saw the biggest increase, followed by the School of Humanities and the School of Social Ecology, each with 11.

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia addressed the incoming educators Sept. 19 at the University Club.

“The creativity of the faculty is the foundation on which UCI excels on all levels,” he said. “Last year, one of my biggest goals was to complete our executive searches, and I’m pleased to say we appointed four deans [two for 2016-17]  and a vice chancellor for research, all of whom were our top-choice candidates. I am thrilled by the team we’ve put together and know our new faculty will do tremendous work to further UCI’s research, academic and service missions.”

The diverse, high-impact hires were recruited from an elite pool of accomplished scholars from across the country and around the world.

Among them are Carol McDonald Connor, a Chancellor’s Professor of education who studies the language and literacy development of children living in poverty; Douglas Granger, a professor of psychology & social behavior, pediatrics and public health who investigates biomarkers in saliva; and Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, a Distinguished Professor of civil & environmental engineering and renowned hydrology expert.

Other additions include School of Social Ecology Dean Nancy Guerra, School of Education Dean Richard Arum and Vice Chancellor for Research Pramod Khargonekar, a distinguished leader who was previously assistant director for engineering at the National Science Foundation. Marios Papaefthymiou, incoming Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences dean, begins his appointment Jan. 1, 2017.

Khargonekar plans to foster relationships in Washington, D.C., to secure additional funding for impactful research projects at UCI. He said at the welcome ceremony that the campus’s greatest strengths are its well-established interdisciplinary connections and the ambitious goals set by the administration to expand the reach of UCI discoveries, innovations and research.

“Every single day, my knowledge of UCI gets deeper and the more impressed I become with the quality of people here,” Khargonekar said. “This place is truly rich with talented faculty and students doing amazing things.”

New faculty by the numbers

26 School of Medicine

11 School of Humanities

11 School of Social Ecology

10 School of Physical Sciences

9 Claire Trevor School of the Arts

6 The Paul Merage School of Business

6 School of Social Sciences

5 School of Education

5 The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

4 Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences

3 School of Law

2 Program in Public Health

1 Program in Nursing Science

1 Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences