Dean's Message

Photo courtesy of Crystal Birns.

Letter from Dean of the Humanities, Tyler Stovall
June 2018

As we come to the end of the academic year, many of us are no doubt grateful for the relative calm we have experienced since last year. National politics remains turbulent, but there have been no new changes or transitions comparable to those of a year ago. If last year was a time of drama, this has been more one of reassessment and new beginnings.

It has been my pleasure to welcome new colleagues to the Humanities Division. History of Consciousness has two new faculty, Banu Bargu and Massimiliano Tomba, whose presence has brought new dynamism to the department. Ryan Bennett and Amanda Rysling joined the Linguistics department as assistant professors. I’m also pleased to welcome Literature professor Marlene Tromp, who so wanted to join us she consented to accept an administrative position as Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor! At the same time, I must say farewell to some valued colleagues. Professors Tyrus Miller and Deanna Shemek are moving to faculty positions at UC Irvine, where Tyrus will also serve as Dean of the Humanities. Professors Bettina Aptheker, Jim McCloskey, and Karen Tei Yamashita retired from the university, although I hope they will remain active as emeriti faculty. Finally, I must acknowledge and mourn the passing of professor emeritus Hayden V. White. One of the most renowned and influential faculty members at UC Santa Cruz, Hayden White left a rich legacy to History of Consciousness, the Humanities, and UC Santa Cruz in general.

This has also been a year of new initiatives. In the Division, we have launched an initiative to increase undergraduate enrollments, both departmental majors and the number of students taking our courses. This initiative includes several approaches, including increasing our links with community colleges to bring in more transfer students, bolstering our offerings of online courses, especially in the summer, and attracting more premed students.

The year has also brought important changes to the world of humanities research at UC Santa Cruz. The Institute for Humanities Research renamed itself The Humanities InstituteIt helped bring to campus two major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and sponsored several community and public events in Santa Cruz, adopting as its theme this year the relationship between freedom and race.

Finally, I am very happy to note the numerous awards received by members of the Humanities Division. Professor Jim McCloskey won this year’s Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award for his many years of outstanding teaching in the Linguistics department. Professor Karen Tei Yamashita was awarded the Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to diversity and inclusion. We also welcomed back to Santa Cruz
Naomi Andrews, professor of history at Santa Clara University, to receive the university’s Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni Award.

It has been my pleasure and my privilege to work with the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who make the Humanities Division such a special part of UC Santa Cruz.


Tyler Stovall
Dean of Humanities