Appointment of Victoria L. Sork as Dean, Division of Life Sciences

August 18, 2009

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Vice Chancellors, and Faculty and Staff in the Division of Life Sciences

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the selection of Victoria L. Sork as dean of the Division of Life Sciences, effective September 1, 2009, pending approval by the UC Regents.

A member of UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Institute of the Environment faculty since 2002, Victoria currently serves as chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  She also served as an American Council for Education fellow-in-residence at UCLA in 2000-01 and special assistant to the chancellor for academic initiatives in 2002-04.  She was the founding director of the International Center for Tropical Ecology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  She has received a number of awards and honors, including: elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Council on Education Fellowship; UM-St. Louis Trailblazer Award; YWCA St. Louis Special Leadership Award for Women in Science and Technology; and the University of Michigan Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Professor Sork, whose research lies at the interface of evolutionary biology and ecology, is considered a pioneer in a recently emerged field called landscape genetics.  Her National Science Foundation sponsored research uses genomic tools to understand impacts of environmental change on evolutionary process.  Her lab regularly attracts visiting international scholars and generates many invitations for her to speak elsewhere.  She has published extensively, served on distinguished editorial boards, and held visiting appointments at the University of Chicago; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is a member of the American Society of Naturalists, Society for the Study of Evolution, Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Botanical Society of America, and Ecological Society of America.

Victoria holds a Ph.D. in biological sciences and a M.S. in zoology from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in biological sciences with honors from the University of California, Irvine.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee for its role in recruiting Victoria.  Together, they assembled an outstanding pool of candidates for this position.  The committee was chaired by John S. Adams, vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.  Other committee members included Gordon Binder – Coastview Capital, LLC; Tyrone D. Cannon – Psychology; Marie-Francoise Chesselet – Neurobiology; Rachelle H. Crosbie – Physiological Science; Judith Gasson – ACCESS, Biological Chemistry; Luisa Iruela-Arispe – Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology; Sherie L. Morrison – Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics; Letitia Anne Peplau – Social Psychology; Joan Silk – Anthropology; Blaire Van Valkenburgh – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Benjamin M. Wu – Bioengineering/Materials Science.  The executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer, was represented by Mary Elizabeth Taylor.

I also want to thank Emil Reisler for his five-plus years of distinguished service as dean.

I know that the Division of Life Sciences will thrive under Victoria’s capable leadership.  Please join me in welcoming her into this new post.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost