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University of California Santa Barbara

Memos to Campus

Dean of Undergraduate Education in the College of Letters and Science, Dr. Al Wyner

April 14, 2008


Dear Colleagues:

After 12 years of exceptional leadership as our Dean of Undergraduate Education in the College of Letters and Science, Dr. Al Wyner has decided to retire from UCSB. This is Dr. Wyner’s fortieth year as part of our campus community. In addition to his administrative service, he has been a valued faculty member in our Department of Political Science, where even as dean he has continued to teach a freshman seminar each year on “American Political Controversies.”

Dean Wyner is known throughout our university for his passionate commitment to helping undergraduates succeed in their studies, their campus lives, and their careers. He has been a strong and effective advocate for student issues and needs at the campus and systemwide levels, while still remaining accessible to provide one-on-one counseling and caring support to the tens of thousands of students who walk through his office doors every year.

Our campus has undergone many changes since Dr. Wyner first joined us four decades ago, and he has been an important part of our emergence as a world-class university. During this time he has helped to manage enrollment and student academic progress in ways that are equitable and educationally sound. He has helped implement a Freshmen Summer Start Program and an innovative online degree audit system. He has been a strong advocate and catalyst for our undergraduate research programs on campus, our Freshmen Seminar Program, and the L&S Honors Program. He has worked closely with the deans and provosts in the College of Letters and Science, the L&S Executive Committee, and numerous Academic Senate committees, as well as serving on various systemwide committees dealing with issues of admissions, enrollment, and evaluation of student performance.

In his 12 years as the Dean of Undergraduate Education, Dr. Wyner has always played an important role at our commencement ceremonies for the College of Letters and Science. He has also been an annual participant and emcee at our Chancellor’s Regional Receptions, joining us in traveling around the state to spread the good news about our campus, talk with students and their family members, and encourage these outstanding and diverse students to enroll at UC Santa Barbara. These are just a few examples of Al’s deep devotion to undergraduate education, which he has demonstrated in a multitude of ways throughout his career.

Although Dr. Wyner is retiring from the deanship, we feel fortunate that he plans to remain part of our academic community, and we will continue to be able to draw on his expertise to help our university. We are moving forward quickly to form a committee to begin the search for our next dean. In the meantime, I would like to express our campus’s sincere gratitude to Dean Wyner for all that he has accomplished and contributed here at UC Santa Barbara. 


Henry T. Yang