Appointment of Patricia A. Turner as Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

July 11, 2012

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

To: Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Faculty, Staff in the Division of Undergraduate Education, Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Patricia A. Turner as Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at UCLA, effective January 1, 2013.

Professor Turner currently serves as vice provost for undergraduate education at UC Davis. A member of the African American and African Studies and American Studies faculty since 1990, she served as director of the American Studies program from 1997 to 1998 and as director of African American and African Studies from 1998 to 2000. In 1999 she was appointed vice provost for undergraduate education. From 2004 to 2006 she served as interim dean of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, before returning to the position of vice provost for undergraduate education in the spring of 2007.

Professor Turner has served on the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence; and the executive board of the American Folklore Society. She is chair of the UC Education Abroad Program Governing Committee and a member of UCDC Academic Advisory Council. Since September 2010, she has been executive director of The Reinvention Center, a national consortium of research universities dedicated to strengthening undergraduate education. She holds a B.S. in political science from SUNY College at Oneonta and an M.A. and Ph.D. in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Turner’s research focuses on racial dynamics as they surface in folklore and popular culture. Her fourth book, Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African-American Quilters, was published by University of Mississippi Press in 2009. Her earlier books are Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America (with Gary Alan Fine, University of California Press, 2001); Ceramic Uncles and Celluloid Mammies: Black Images and Their Influence on Culture (Anchor Books, 1994; University of Virginia Press, 2002); and I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture (University of California Press, 1993). She has served as a consulting scholar on several documentary films, including Marlon Riggs’ Ethnic Notions, which received an Emmy Award in 1989 for best research in a documentary, and Riggs’ 1992 Peabody Award–winning film Color Adjustment. More recently, she was interviewed for Portrait of the Artist: Riché Richardson, a film on the celebrated quilt artist.

Her commentary on issues related to folklore and popular culture is frequently sought by print, radio and television journalists. She has been interviewed for stories in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and many other prominent publications, and for radio programs including Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered. She has appeared on the NBC Nightly News, the CBS Evening News and The O’Reilly Factor, and her book I Heard It Through the Grapevine inspired a report on ABC’s 20/20.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for its role in recruiting Pat. The committee was chaired by Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; other members were César J. Ayala, professor of sociology; Barbara Drucker, professor of art and associate dean of academic affairs, School of the Arts and Architecture; Robert Gurval, associate professor of classics; MarySue V. Heilemann, associate professor of nursing; William McDonald, professor of film and television; Kathleen McGarry, professor and undergraduate vice-chair, economics; Mark R. Morris, professor of physics and astronomy; Mark Sawyer, professor of African American studies and political science; Michael K. Stenstrom, distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Blaire Van Valkenburgh, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

I also want to express our gratitude to Judi Smith for her exemplary service in this role since 1996.

We all recognize that undergraduate education is of paramount importance to UCLA, and I am confident that Pat will provide outstanding leadership as vice provost and dean. Please join Chancellor Block and me in welcoming her to UCLA and this important role.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost