UCI Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Frances Leslie Retirement Announcement

Dear colleagues,

Frances Leslie, dean of the Graduate Division and vice provost for graduate education, has announced that she plans to retire in August 2019. On behalf of Chancellor Gillman and the entire academic community, I thank Frances for her many contributions and years of service to UCI.

Dean Leslie has led the Graduate Division for the past decade and has held a range of leadership roles over the years, including as associate vice chancellor for research and associate dean of the Graduate Division.

Dean Leslie joined UCI in 1981 as one of the first female faculty members in the School of Medicine. Throughout her career, she has served as an inspiration and mentor to dozens of female colleagues who have gone on to careers in government, business and academia. Dean Leslie recently received the prestigious 2018 Lifetime Legacy Award from Orange County Connected Women of Influence. It recognizes women who have demonstrated superior leadership and have a significant track record of long-term achievements in their field.

As a professor of anatomy & neurobiology as well as pharmacology, Dean Leslie conducted multidisciplinary research that has helped advance the understanding of how drug abuse, including the use of nicotine and tobacco, impacts the developing brain. She also directed UCI’s National Institute of Health-funded Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center.

In addition to her accomplishments in research and teaching, Dean Leslie has, as head of the Graduate Division, facilitated the recruitment and retention of high-quality Ph.D. and master’s students from underrepresented groups, including women, minorities and first-generation college students. Currently chair of the Graduate Record Examination Board, she affects the success of such students around the world by advocating for equity in test design and score interpretation.

Her commitment to inclusivity led her to create the Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience program to increase the number of women and minorities underrepresented in their disciplines earning Ph.D.s at UCI. The DECADE program has since been institutionalized and expanded with a Department of Education Title III award for graduate student coaching of undergraduate Chancellor’s Excellence Scholars.

A national search for the next dean, and associated conversations with the faculty, will begin soon. Please join me in extending our sincerest gratitude to Frances for her remarkable service to UCI.


Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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