RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox Thursday announced an ambitious plan to expand faculty payrolls by 300 and build new facilities to complement the campus's growth.

   During an address before a crowd estimated at about 1,000 gathered for Wilcox's ``Investiture Ceremony,'' the chancellor touted UCR as a ``model for academic excellence'' and predicted the university would ``lead the nation'' in areas such as faculty diversity in the future.

   Wilcox, 60, said recruiting to fill the 300 ``ladder-rank faculty'' positions would take place over the next five years, during which the  chancellor said the university should also focus on building an events center  that provides indoor space for athletic programs, conferences, commencements and convocations.

   ``If we are to add 300 faculty members, begin construction of new facilities and expand our research and graduate programs, then we must also review our enrollment goals and strategies, both for ourselves and for the citizens of California, who deserve access to their university,'' Wilcox said.

   He said given UCR's cosmopolitan makeup -- with students from 60 nations and research projects spanning the globe -- it makes sense to add a new position to the executive staff -- vice provost for international affairs.

   ``In addition to the obvious matters of coordinating international support programs and improving linkages with other nations and universities, the vice provost will be charged with helping to define a global agenda for UCR that will both guide our investments and provide us with a means of holding ourselves accountable for achieving our aspirations on the world stage,â€� the chancellor said, adding that UCR is in the process of recruiting for the position.

   During the investiture, UC President Janet Napolitano awarded Wilcox with the Chancellor Medal.

   Wilcox was appointed chancellor last August. A native Midwesterner, he previously held executive positions at Michigan State University and the University of Kansas.