Message from the Dean

Dean of Humanities Jasmine Alinder

A Turning Point for the Humanities

Jasmine Alinder, Dean

At a time when we urgently need to reframe our national discussion about the place of the humanities in higher education, you’ll find the momentum here in the UC Santa Cruz Humanities Division real and heartening. As our alumni know, we have a long history of reimagining the world; today, we are proving once again that we excel as thinkers and doers.

We’ve created Employing Humanities, an initiative to make stronger, more explicit links between what students do in their coursework and what they’ll do when they graduate. The Mellon Foundation saw the potential of this idea and provided significant funding. We have a dedicated experiential learning coordinator—a position rarely found in humanities programs—who’s ensuring students find real-world, paid experience in a wide range of internships, public humanities projects, and research opportunities. By the end of this academic year, we plan to have a dedicated career engagement specialist who can help students with their post-graduation options.

Students and faculty working together in a lab

We’re also creating relevant, resonant humanities coursework for non-humanities majors, especially in STEM fields. Our cross-disciplinary Humanizing Technology certificate, funded by the NEH, has proved to be both transformational and wildly popular for students throughout the university. The certificate, with a growing course list that includes AI topics, is just one example of how we’re successfully building bridges between the humanities and STEM--and helping more UC Santa Cruz students experience the value of humanistic training.

Humanizing Technology logo

As we strive to understand what’s humanly possible, we also strive for meaningful human connections—that’s why finding superb teacher-scholars has always been a priority for us. I’m so happy that 11 new faculty members have joined our community since the beginning of 2023, fueling our momentum as a division, and supporting a new certificate in Visualizing Abolition Studies and a new minor in Middle East and North African Studies. We’re also designing a new minor in Science & Justice which will live in our Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department.

New people. New programs. New opportunities. Amid all this growth, we continue to be deliberate in creating a sense of belonging in all our humanities classes, projects, and events. We’re home to a highly diverse faculty and a high percentage of transfer, first gen, and Pell Grant students. We strive to be a place where everyone can “find their people” and share their curiosity, passion, and lived experiences.

We welcome you to join us as we continue to be a champion for the humanities—and especially the Humanities Division at UC Santa Cruz. Help us reimagine the world.