Appointment of Laura E. Gómez as Interim Dean, Division of Social Sciences

May 20, 2016

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

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

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce that Professor Laura Gómez has agreed to serve as interim dean of the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences. She will begin July 1, 2016, when Dean Alessandro Duranti is scheduled to step down and return to the faculty.

Professor Gómez holds a primary appointment in the School of Law and joint appointments in the departments of sociology and Chicana and Chicano studies in the College. She began her academic career at UCLA in 1994, joined the University of New Mexico as a professor of law and American studies in 2005, and returned to our faculty in 2011.

Professor Gómez’s research spans the fields of law and society, critical race theory and the sociology of race, and her articles have appeared in journals including the Law & Society Review and the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. She is the author of two monographs, Misconceiving Mothers: Legislators, Prosecutors and the Politics of Prenatal Drug Exposure (1997) and Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race (2007), with a third under advance contract, Evicted from Whiteness: Latinos and the Future of Race. She co-edited the anthology Mapping “Race”: Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research (2013).

In addition to her scholarly accomplishments, Professor Gómez has held numerous management and leadership positions at UCLA and elsewhere. She is the past president of the Law and Society Association and has been associate editor of the Law & Society Review. She was associate dean for faculty development at the University of New Mexico School of Law and co-directed UNM’s Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice. At UCLA, she has served as vice dean for faculty development at the law school and co-directed the school’s Critical Race Studies Program. She participated in the UCLA Faculty Leadership Program in 2014–15.

Her many committee appointments include the Academic Senate’s privilege and tenure committee, the UCLA Moreno Report Implementation Committee, and faculty advisory boards for the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and the Center for the Study of Women. She also serves on the 2016 committee of visitors for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Social and Economic Sciences.

Professor Gómez received an A.B. in social studies from Harvard College, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University. Prior to beginning her teaching career, she worked on Capitol Hill and was a law clerk on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has held residential fellowships at the Stanford Humanities Center and at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. She has been a principal investigator on NIH and NSF grants. Her honors include a Truman Scholarship (1984), an NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship (1987) and recognition as one of Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Most Influential Latinos (2011).

Chancellor Gene Block and I appreciate Professor Gómez’s willingness to serve as interim dean, and we are confident that she will be an excellent leader for the division. I anticipate forming a search committee to identify candidates for a permanent dean later this spring, and I will keep you informed as we initiate the search.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost