Welcome Message from the Dean

Please note that Katharyne Mitchell will be joining UC Santa Cruz as the new dean of the Social Sciences Division. She starts on August 15. To learn more about Dean Mitchell, please read our campus news office's announcement of her appointment. Don Brenneis, professor of anthropology and former chair of the Academic Senate, will serve as interim Social Sciences dean from July 1 until Dean Mitchell’s arrival.

As the largest of five academic divisions at UC Santa Cruz, the Division of Social Sciences is home to many outstanding faculty, staff, and students. I invite you to tour our website and learn more about our superb teaching, research, and public service. Ethics, citizenship, and social responsibility best describes the work being done in the division. In particular, we value experiential learning, social justice and equality, and innovation beyond disciplinary boundaries.

The division is the intellectual home of nearly 40 percent of all UC Santa Cruz undergraduate majors and almost one-third of the campus's graduate students, and they are among the best in the nation. It is not surprising that so many students gravitate to disciplines in the Division of Social Sciences. Today’s print and electronic media news outlets are filled with reports on issues directly related to the social sciences. Stories about cultural change, the economy, education reform, the environment and sustainable development, organic farming and sustainable food systems, Latin American countries, Hispanics in California and elsewhere in the United States, politics and governance, psychology research, and relationships between class, racial, gender, and ethnic groups regularly appear in newspapers, magazines, and the electronic news media. Students become social sciences majors because they are seeking purpose and relevance in their college education and in their lives.

All eight departments in the division offer outstanding field studies and internship opportunities as a way to promote experiential learning. As a result, undergraduates are able to integrate classroom lectures and reading assignments with “real world” learning. They are highly diverse and closely resemble the state of California demographically. Likewise, many of our faculty members belong to underrepresented population groups.

Our extraordinary social sciences faculty engages in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on the most salient topics in their discipline. At most prestigious universities faculty is forced to publish their papers in only certain journals if they hope to be promoted. At UC Santa Cruz faculty is not only encouraged to wander off the beaten path and take risks in their research, they are rewarded for doing so. As a consequence, our highly productive faculty is widely cited in their discipline’s professional publications because they constantly are “taking on the establishment” and are questioning long held assumptions and conventional wisdom in their fields. Moreover, in contrast to other world-class universities in the country, they also take teaching very seriously. In summary, the Division of Social Sciences is a place where the uncommon becomes authentic, where innovation meets ambition, and where students and faculty think critically and creatively.

Our state-of-the-art facilities include labs in anthropology, environmental studies (including geographic information systems), and psychology. A 25-acre organic farm operated by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems has been in operation for over 40 years. Our premier research centers include Center for Analytical Finance, Center for Integrated Spatial Research, Center for Labor Studies, Center for Statistical Analysis in Social Sciences, Chicano/Latino Research Center, Science and Justice Research Center, and the Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance, each of which fosters collaboration across disciplines and with outside partners.

In addition, the Division of Social Sciences supports several exciting and important research initiatives including: the Bruce Initiative on Rethinking Capitalism, Everett Program, and Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators. Like our research centers, these initiatives encourage interdisciplinary research, engage and develop communities of academics, practitioners, and policy makers, and promulgate to broad audiences the best ideas in emerging fields.

With so much going on, I encourage you to learn more about us.

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