July 15, 2014


Dear Colleagues:

In my campus memo on January 29, I shared with you the news that Professor Jane Close Conoley, Dean of our Gevirtz Graduate School of Education since 2006, has accepted the invitation to become the next president of California State University, Long Beach.

Following consultation with our Interim Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic Senate Chair, Deans, and other administrative and faculty colleagues, I am pleased to announce that Professor Merith Cosden has graciously agreed to serve as Acting Dean of our Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, effective July 15, 2014. In addition, Professor Mary Betsy Brenner will serve as Senior Associate Dean.

Professor Cosden joined our faculty in 1988 and recently served for four years as Chair of the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology. She is a licensed psychologist and supervises students in our Hosford Clinic. She is a recipient of the Legacy Award from the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association, in recognition of her contributions to training psychologists and working with community-based agencies over the last 30 years.

Her research covers several areas, including child abuse prevention and treatment. Currently, Professor Cosden is doing research on trauma-informed, substance abuse treatment for clients who have experienced trauma and who have co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Professor Brenner, Chair of the Department of Education, joined our faculty in 1991 after teaching at UC Berkeley. Over the past two decades, she has been examining how to more effectively teach mathematics to diverse groups of learners. She also has been working with after-school programs to better understand how different learning environments can enhance student learning. Professor Brenner also continues her research on the education system in Liberia, where she supports an elementary school that began during the civil war.

We appreciate the dedication of Professors Cosden and Brenner to our campus, and their willingness to help ensure a smooth transition for our Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. The search for our next Dean of GGSE is well underway, and I am grateful to the members of our search advisory committee for devoting their valuable time and wisdom to help our campus through this process.

Please join me in extending our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Dean Conoley as she moves on to her new position. Please also join me in welcoming Professor Cosden as Acting Dean and Professor Brenner as Senior Associate Dean. We thank them for assuming the responsibilities of these important leadership roles.


Henry T. Yang