Appointment of Alexandra Minna Stern as Dean of the Division of Humanities

April 14, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Alexandra Minna Stern as dean of the UCLA Division of Humanities, effective November 1, 2022.

Professor Stern currently serves as associate dean for the humanities in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, where she also is the Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor of American Culture and holds appointments in history, women’s and gender studies, and obstetrics and gynecology. Professor Stern is the founder and co-director of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab, an interdisciplinary research team that explores the histories of eugenic sterilization in the United States, and is guided by commitments to reproductive, racial and disability justice. Prior to her 2019 appointment as associate dean, she served as chair of the Department of American Culture (2017–19), director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center/Brazil Initiative (2014–17), and associate director of the Center for the History of Medicine (2002–12). In her recent administrative capacities, Professor Stern has enhanced humanities research, promoted curricular and funding opportunities in experimental humanities, and supported languages and global studies. Before joining the University of Michigan, she was a member of the faculty at UC Santa Cruz.

Professor Stern’s research has focused on modern and contemporary histories of science, medicine and society in the United States and Latin America, and most recently on cultures and ideologies of the far right and white nationalism. She has published three monographs, one edited volume, more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and co-directed several digital humanities projects. Much of her research has explored the disturbing history and enduring legacies of eugenics in the state of California. Professor Stern has received many grants and fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Professor Stern is an engaged public scholar who regularly appears in media venues ranging from the Los Angeles Times to The Atlantic. In addition, she has developed and taught original courses on medical humanities, illness narratives, and genes and society. She received her B.A. in Central American studies from San Francisco State University, her M.A. in Latin American studies from UC San Diego and her Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee members for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for their roles in recruiting Professor Stern. Darnell M. Hunt, dean of the Division of Social Sciences and professor of sociology and of African American studies, was the committee chair. Other members were:

  • Ali Behdad – John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature; professor of English and of comparative literature; director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies
  • David L. Blank – distinguished professor of classics and of philosophy
  • Torquil Duthie – associate professor and vice chair, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Yogita Goyal – professor of English and of African American studies
  • David D. Kim – professor and vice chair of undergraduate studies, Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies; interim faculty director, International Education Office
  • Efraín Kristal – distinguished professor of comparative literature and of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Norma C. Mendoza-Denton – professor of anthropology
  • Bronwen Wilson – professor of art history; Edward W. Carter Chair in European Art; director, Center for 17th- and 18th- Century Studies and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

I also want to recognize and thank Dean David Schaberg for his distinguished leadership of the division since 2011, and to thank him for his willingness to stay on as dean through October.

Recognizing the centrality of the humanities to liberal arts and the mission of higher education, Professor Stern has shared with us that she looks forward to providing creative and responsive leadership at UCLA, and partnering with all of the excellent and diverse units and communities within and beyond the division. Chancellor Block and I are confident that UCLA Humanities will continue to thrive and fulfill its vital role on campus under Alex’s capable leadership and that she will be an extraordinary addition to our campus leadership team. Please join us in congratulating her and welcoming her to campus and into this new role.


Michael S. Levine
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost