June 29, 2012


Dear Colleagues:

In 2005, our College of Letters and Science underwent an administrative restructuring, resulting in the establishment of a Council of Deans chaired by an Executive Dean. Professor David Marshall, our Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, was appointed the first Executive Dean of the College; he has provided exemplary leadership and made fundamental contributions in this role for almost seven years. After agreeing to extend his second three-year term as Executive Dean for the 2011-2012 academic year, Dean Marshall is now completing his service. He will continue in his position as Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts. I am pleased to announce that Professor Melvin Oliver, our SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences, will become the next Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, effective July 1, 2012.

As our first Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Dean Marshall oversaw the transition from a Provost model to a new governance model in which the Council of Deans leads the College. Dean Marshall helped to ensure that this model was defined and developed in such a way that all of the L&S Divisions -- Humanities and Fine Arts; Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences; Social Sciences; and Undergraduate Education -- could thrive and develop to their full potential within the contexts of a cohesive College and UC Santa Barbara's interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. He has brought stability and unity to the College, guiding it through major budget reductions and staff transitions while maintaining high morale and uncompromising quality. Representing the College on a variety of campus committees, including the Campus Planning Committee, he has worked closely with the Academic Senate through the L&S Faculty Executive Committee. He has served as an ambassador and advocate for the College and for our entire university, reaching out to students, parents, alumni, and the public, and working tirelessly with all of our colleagues to promote the principles and traditions of a UC Santa Barbara liberal arts education. Working with our other L&S Deans, Executive Dean Marshall has been responsible for major new initiatives, including COLLABORATE, the Instructional Technology Enhancement Initiative, that have benefited students and faculty across the College and the campus. He also oversaw a new website and communications strategy for the College.

While Executive Dean, David served the campus in many ways. For example, this year he chaired the two search committees for the two Associate Vice Chancellors, which have just been successfully concluded. David is also a highly respected scholar (his third book, The Frame of Art: Fictions of Aesthetic Experience, 1750-1815, published while he was Executive Dean, won the Louis Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies) and an advocate nationally for the humanities and higher education. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dean Marshall for his contributions and his deep devotion to our university. We look forward to his continued leadership on campus.

Dean Oliver has been Dean of the Division of Social Sciences since 2004, when he came to UC Santa Barbara from the Ford Foundation, where he was a Vice President. He previously was a Professor of Sociology at UCLA. Dean Oliver brings to this position more than three decades of experience in philanthropy and higher education, as well as extensive knowledge of the College and the campus. I extend my sincere thanks to Dean Oliver for his continued service and his willingness to take on the important role of Executive Dean. Finally, let me also thank Dean Pierre Wiltzius and Dean Mary Nisbet for their leadership of the College of Letters and Science.


Henry T. Yang