Seth Lerer, one of the nation’s leading literature scholars, with particularly strong administrative and leadership experience, has been named dean of arts and humanities at the University of California, San Diego.
Lerer currently holds an endowed chair in the humanities and is a professor of English and comparative literature at Stanford University, where he has been a faculty member since 1990 and director of the Stanford Humanities Fellows Program since 2001. Prior to joining Stanford he was professor of English at Princeton University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
In making the announcement, UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said, “Seth Lerer brings to UCSD an excellent reputation in the humanities and a vision regarding the opportunities, challenges, and priorities in the arts and humanities. His academic accomplishments, values, energy, vision and strong leadership skills make him an exceptional choice as our new dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities.”
Lerer is widely recognized and respected for his research in the area of medieval and renaissance studies, comparative studies, the history of scholarship and children’s literature. He has published 10 books, including Chaucer and His Readers and Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language, and is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and reviews. Lerer is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and teaching.
“In addition to his many awards for research and teaching, Lerer has served with distinction in numerous positions of academic leadership,” said Paul Drake, UCSD senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “In each of these appointments he demonstrated extraordinary interpersonal skills, initiative and imagination,” added Drake.
Besides his current role as director of the Humanities Fellows Program, at Stanford, Lerer has been chair of the Department of Comparative Literature and vice chair of the Department of English. He served as director of undergraduate studies in English at Princeton. Lerer will take up his new position as dean effective Jan. 1, 2009.
The Division of Arts and Humanities has been fundamental to the educational program at UCSD since its founding and has been a center for experimentation in teaching and research in a variety of fields. Its programs are annually ranked among the best in the country. UC San Diego scholars in the humanities and the arts are pioneers in new research leading to deeper and more profound understanding of civilization and humankind’s role in the world.