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University of California Santa Barbara

Memos to Campus

Dean of Social Sciences

August 7, 2003


Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Melvin Oliver, currently vice president for asset building and community development at the Ford Foundation, as our next dean of social sciences, effective April 1, 2004.

This appointment is the result of an extensive national search and recruitment process. I would like to thank Professor Lorraine McDonnell, chair of our search advisory committee, and all of our committee members for their outstanding work. The members of the committee are listed below. I would also like
to thank all the members of our campus community who participated in the search process.

Dr. Oliver was the unanimous choice of our search advisory committee, a recommendation that was strongly endorsed by my administrative colleagues Gene Lucas and Aaron Ettenberg. He is a leading scholar and social scientist who has done pioneering research on wealth and racial stratification, inter-ethnic conflict, urban poverty, and social welfare policy in the United States. He is also a seasoned administrator with the vision and determination to be an outstanding dean of social sciences.

As a vice president of the Ford Foundation since 1996, he has led a $180 million-a-year grantmaking program to reduce poverty and injustice around the world. He has been involved in planning and building large-scale demonstration projects, hiring program staff, and working closely with community and government leaders.

Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Dr. Oliver was a member of the faculty at UCLA for more than two decades. He served as a professor of sociology and policy studies, a director of the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty, the chair of an interdepartmental B.A. and M.A. program in African American Studies, and a faculty associate to the Center for Afro-American Studies.

His leadership, in the mid-1990s, of a multi-city study of urban inequality illustrates Dr. Oliver’s collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach to research. A joint effort of UCLA and the poverty research center at the University of Michigan, the study brought together scholars from diverse disciplines and multiple research sites. Dr. Oliver served as a co-principal investigator of the project and one of the leaders of the Los Angeles research team, and his work on the study is considered among his most important contributions to urban sociology. The research led to the publication of six volumes and numerous articles.

Dr. Oliver was a scholar in residence at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1996, and, from 1998 to 2000, served as an elected-at-large member of the Council of the American Sociological Association. He is
co-author with Thomas Shapiro of the highly influential book Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. In 1996, the book won the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Outstanding Book Award on the subject of human rights from the Gustavus Myers Center. In 1997, it received the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Scholarly Publications Award.
In addition to honors he has accrued for his scholarship, Dr. Oliver has also distinguished himself as an exemplary teacher and mentor. He designed and co-taught the first course in ethnic studies at UCLA, bringing undergraduates in contact with eminent ethnic-studies scholars and actively engaging them in community service projects and research. For this and other pioneering teaching practices, he received a California Professor of the Year award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a Faculty of Excellence award from UCLA’s National Mortar Board Honor Society, and the Charles and Harriet Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCLA Alumni Association.

I am also pleased to announce that Professor John Woolley has graciously agreed to continue serving as our acting dean of social sciences. We are deeply grateful for Professor Woolley’s many contributions to our campus, and for his exemplary and dedicated leadership during this interim period.


    Henry T. Yang

Search Advisory Committee for the Dean of Social Sciences

Lorraine M. McDonnell, Chair; Professor and Chair, Political Science
Richard P. Appelbaum, Professor, Sociology/Director, Institute for Social, Behavioral,
   and Economic Research (ISBER)
Gayle Binion, Professor, Political Science/Chair, UC Academic Council
Eileen C. Boris, Blair Hull Professor, Women’s Studies
Tasha Dunham, Associated Students
Reginald G. Golledge, Professor, Geography
Elvin J. Hatch, Professor, Law and Society
Laura Kalman, Professor, History
Beth A. LePoire, Professor, Communication
Francisco A. Lomeli, Professor, Chicano Studies/Spanish and Portuguese
Daniel Mandell, Graduate Students Association
Marti P. Mangan, Staff Representative, Office of Admissions and Outreach Services
Christopher McAuley, Associate Professor, Black Studies
Juan-Vicente Palerm, Professor, Anthropology/Director, UC Mexus
Llad Phillips, Professor, Economics/Former Acting Provost, College of Letters and Science
Xiaojian Zhao, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies

Consultant to the Committee:
Raymond Huerta, Coordinator, Affirmative Action Office