Deans of the College of Letters and Science

About the College of Letters and Science

The UCLA College of Letters and Science is the academic heart of UCLA, where the world’s brightest faculty and students work side by side to bring new knowledge to light and answer the universal questions of our time for the benefit of California, the United States and the world. Transformed by a rigorous education in the sciences, humanities and social sciences, our students graduate prepared to make a difference.

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Deans of the College

Division of Physical Sciences

Joseph RudnickJoseph Rudnick is senior dean of the UCLA College of Letters and Science and dean of the Division of Physical Sciences. Rudnick has served on the UCLA faculty since 1984, when he joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy as a full professor. His research focuses on condensed matter physics. Some of his more recent work has explored problems in biological physics. Rudnick has been active in academic leadership, both within the College and in university-wide administration for nearly 30 years. From 1986 to 1989, he was chair of his department and again from 2004 to 2006. He began his term as dean in 2009. He has also served on several university-wide committees, including the Committee on Academic Personnel from 1994 to 1997, serving as vice chair from 1995 to 1997.

The faculty, staff and students of the Division of Physical Sciences at UCLA are world leaders and innovators in the physical sciences, working to speed the pace of discovery for the benefit of all of society. The Division is a research and training enterprise and an engine for fundamental discoveries and innovations of real-world relevance; it stimulates state, national and global economies in the process. The Division’s world-class reputation for excellence in teaching and research is bolstered by a culture of cross-campus collaboration, especially with colleagues in the life sciences, medicine and engineering. Physical Sciences has a competitive edge in several areas and aims to build on this momentum to make a huge impact on fields such as imaging science, the creation, characterization and exploitation of novel materials, astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology, data informatics and modeling, environmental science and sustainability, and medicine. The cutting-edge research of the faculty has led to national and international recognition, including five Nobel prizes, six National Medals of Science, and 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Division of Social Sciences

Alessandro DurantiAlessandro Duranti is dean of the Division of Social Sciences, the largest academic division in the College. Duranti has been a member of UCLA's anthropology faculty for more than two decades. He served for two years as the department's chair and for a decade as director of the UCLA Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture (CLIC). His research interests include political discourse, language as a non-neutral medium and the role of improvisation in jazz, speechmaking and everyday interaction. Duranti is a past recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the UCLA Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and the American Anthropological Association/Mayfield Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. In 2008, Duranti was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been president of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, and the editor of two journals: Pragmatics and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.

As the largest division on campus, Social Sciences educates the next generation of professionals, researchers and leaders to socially relevant thinking and doing. With its stellar faculty and highly ranked departments and programs, the Division offers unique opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education in a wide range of social science disciplines. Over the past century, the social sciences have developed tools to provide highly reliable analyses of societal challenges and problems, at both the micro-level of everyday interaction and at the macro-level of socio-economic events that impact communities and organizations. The Division of Social Sciences is at the forefront of this research, analyzing the social, cultural and environmental conditions that make change likely or unlikely, predictable or inevitable. Beyond this, the Division has spearheaded innovative teaching and outreach initiatives that deepen the impact and clarify the relevance of the social sciences to society.

Division of Humanities

David SchabergDavid Schaberg is dean of the Division of Humanities. A member of the faculty since 1996, Schaberg has served as chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and as co-director of the Center for Chinese Studies. Schaberg has published articles on early Chinese literature, historiography and thought, and Greek/Chinese comparative issues. He is the author of "A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography," which was awarded the 2003 Levenson Prize for Books in Chinese Studies. He is also a contributor to a new translation of China’s first great historical work, "The Zuo Tradition," to be published by the University of Washington Press.

The Division of Humanities programs are at the center of a powerful web of international connections among students and faculty from all over the world. The quality and breadth of these programs prepare students to pursue careers anywhere on the globe. The Division focuses on abiding questions of meaning, value, and truth, encouraging students to explore widely, to analyze deeply, and to think critically and independently. By exposing them to the long legacy of human thought and to the most recent expressions of human creativity, Humanities readies students to live well, to respond with versatility to the challenges of our times, and to make lasting contributions to the betterment of human experience.

Division of Life Sciences

Victoria SorkEvolutionary biologist Victoria Sork was appointed dean of the Division of Life Sciences in 2009. She came to UCLA in 2000 as a fellow for the American Council for Education, and then as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Academic Initiatives. From 2004 to 2009, Sork chaired UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where she has been a faculty member since 2002. Previously, she was founding director of the International Center for Tropical Ecology at the University of Missouri–St Louis. She has received several leadership awards for women in science and is the first woman to be appointed dean of any science unit at UCLA. Sork has published numerous articles on the evolutionary and ecological processes to maintain natural tree populations in a variety of ecosystems, including those in California, Mexico and the tropics.

The Division of Life Sciences is addressing society's most urgent challenges in human physical and mental health, biological conservation, and production of food and biofuels. Recent innovations in biotechnology and computational power are creating new opportunities, new approaches, and new knowledge in areas that range from genomics to brain imaging to nanosystems. Life science researchers are collaborating in research leading to groundbreaking discoveries in these areas, while training the next generation of world-class scientists in these new frontiers of research. Many of Life Sciences’ distinguished faculty members have earned recognition both nationally and internationally, including four National Academy of Sciences members, two members of the Institute of Medicine, ten members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, two National Academy of Education members, and 22 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Division of Undergraduate Education

Patricia TurnerPatricia A. Turner is dean and vice provost of the Division of Undergraduate Education. Turner comes to UCLA from UC Davis where, in 1999, she was appointed vice provost for undergraduate education. From 2004 to 2006, she served as interim dean of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, before returning to the position of vice provost for undergraduate education in the spring of 2007. Turner is a professor in World Arts and Cultures and African-American Studies and her research focuses on racial dynamics as they surface in folklore and popular culture. Her fourth book, Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African-American Quilters, was published by University of Mississippi Press in 2009. Turner is chair of the UC Education Abroad Program Governing Committee and a member of UCDC Academic Advisory Council. She has served as executive director of the Reinvention Center, a national consortium of deans and vice provosts of undergraduate education at research universities.

The Division of Undergraduate Education serves as the campus-wide advocate for undergraduates, providing leadership to achieve the highest quality of teaching and learning. It ensures standards of excellence across the entire undergraduate curriculum by working with faculty to develop policies and priorities, and it promotes academic success for UCLA’s diverse undergraduate population, ensuring options for all students to engage in a challenging array of educational opportunities. The Division provides programs for undergraduates that foster collaborative and interdisciplinary learning, including honors programs, the freshman cluster program, and opportunities for undergraduate research. Through service learning and civic engagement, it facilitates student partnerships with local communities to help solve real-world challenges, so that students learn both from their academic programs and from their community partners. And it provides scholarship support that rewards academic engagement, and programs that ease transition to UCLA for underrepresented populations.