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message from the dean:

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…
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Office of the Dean
Division of Arts and Humanities
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive # 0406
La Jolla, CA 92093-0406

tel: (858) 534-6270
fax: (858) 534-0091

What does the Dean do?

A Message from Dean Seth Lerer

I oversee the academic life of the departments of Music, Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance, Philosophy, History, and Literature.  I supervise the staff concerned with making financial decisions about the Division of Arts and Humanities, and I work hard to raise funds from private donors to keep the faculty and students of the Division supported in their research and teaching. As Dean, I spend most of my time, therefore, with faculty and staff and with other administrators. Much of what I do involves the professional development of the faculty: for example, recommending salaries and promotions, helping teachers advance as researchers and scholars, working with creative artists to do the best job they can in the classroom. I also spend a lot of time with the other Deans and administrators at UCSD. This is very much a science campus. My job is to represent the Arts and Humanities to scientists: to explain what we do, why we do it, and why it is important for the campus, the community, and society as a whole.

I don’t have to do much with students, but I have been reaching out to teach and work with undergraduates to contribute to the life of the campus as broadly as possible. I taught a Literature course last year on the History of the English Language. This year, I’m teaching Humanities 2 to the spring quarter freshmen in Revelle College. I’ve also tried to support undergraduate initiatives: for example, hosting meetings with majors in the Division, supporting diversity activities such as the UCSD PowWow, supporting arts events, and trying (as much as possible) to be accessible.

When I became Dean at UCSD, my brother said, “Oh, are you going to be like Dean Wormer in Animal House? You know, wear a three-piece suit and say things like: fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, young man?”

No. I work mostly with faculty and staff, but I’m always interested in undergraduate activities, in fostering the best in classroom teaching, and in learning about what helps us bring new and creative students to the campus.

And so, I welcome your engagement and your input in this work. Just don’t leave a horse in the office.

Seth Lerer
Distinguished Professor of Literature
Dean of Arts and Humanities