October 30, 2013


SUBJECT:    Dean, Division of Arts and Humanities

Dr. Seth Lerer has announced his intention to complete his term as Dean of Arts and Humanities effective June 30, 2014, after five-and-a-half years of outstanding service, to devote his full attention to teaching, research and service as a Distinguished Professor in the UC San Diego Department of Literature.

A highly recognized and respected scholar of medieval and renaissance studies, comparative philology, the history of scholarship, and children's literature, Dean Lerer has enhanced UC San Diego's excellent reputation in the arts and humanities and has provided a strong vision regarding the opportunities, challenges, and priorities facing the division. Prior to joining UC San Diego in 2009, Dr. Lerer was the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, where he had been a faculty member since 1990 and Director of the Stanford Humanities Fellows Program since 2001. He previously served as a Professor of English at Princeton University, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Lerer has maintained a prolific research, publishing and teaching profile during his term as Dean, having published two books, 23 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and twenty books reviews. He has delivered 34 scholarly papers as well as 39 popular talks, community presentations, radio and television interviews and opinion pieces. His book, Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter, won the 2009 National Book Critics' Circle Award and the 2010 Truman Capote Award in Criticism, and has been translated and published in Spanish and Korean. During the 2012-13 academic year, he published his 8th book, Prospero's Son: Life, Love, Books and Theater. Included among the many awards Dr. Lerer has received for his scholarship and teaching are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Beatrice White Prize of the English Association of Great Britain (for Chaucer and His Readers), the Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching at Stanford, and the Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association.

As Dean, Dr. Lerer has led a dynamic and highly ranked academic division, with over 1,700 undergraduates, several hundred graduate students, and faculty spanning six departments. Dean Lerer has demonstrated a strong commitment to faculty excellence and strengthened the quality of the Division by recruiting and retaining several exceptional, diverse faculty. During his tenure, he formalized the establishment of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, a new center to understand, enhance and enact the gift of human imagination by merging the inventive power of science and technology, with the critical analysis of the humanities, and the expressive insight of the arts. He also reinstated the UC San Diego Center for the Humanities as a vibrant and productive vehicle to promote interdisciplinary research on issues surrounding human experience and knowledge and to facilitate collaborations that inquire into issues that have, continue to, and now confront our diverse societies. Dean Lerer has an outstanding record of success in cultivating and stewarding broad philanthropic support for the Arts and Humanities, including personal outreach to faculty emeriti and divisional alumni, which has led to a significant increase in their engagement with UC San Diego. He played an integral role in the 2012 launch of the Student Production Fund campaign, which featured an endowed gift of $2.2 million from Arthur Wagner-founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance-and his wife, Molli. In the past year, Dean Lerer initiated a partnership with the Preuss School UCSD to make divisional arts performances and activities free to students and parents. The division is working to expand this successful partnership to other area high schools, making arts and culture accessible to a diverse community audience.

In the words of Dean Lerer, "the social mission of the arts and humanities at UC San Diego is central to a great public university. They teach us how to read and write and show us ways of teaching others to live fully and creatively in society. But they also teach us how to work with our imaginations, how to find beauty in experience, and how to reflect critically on that experience." Please join us in thanking Dean Lerer for his visionary leadership of the Division of Arts and Humanities. We are indeed fortunate that UC San Diego will continue to benefit from his engagement and service as a distinguished member of our faculty. An international search for a new Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities will be launched shortly.

Pradeep K. Khosla

Suresh Subramani
Executive Vice Chancellor