Aug 17, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Nancy Guerra, Dean, School of Social Ecology and Professor of Psychological Science, has decided to return to the faculty at the conclusion of her term as Dean in June 2021. An internationally known expert on youth violence prevention and healthy youth development, Dean Guerra plans to work with the UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation on the compassion initiative.

Among the many highlights during her deanship since 2016, the School hired 25 faculty members, started a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and began a collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior to develop an Integrated Behavioral Health Program. The School developed and launched the Global Service Scholars program that engages around 30 UCI undergraduates per year in coursework on compassion and service and a fully supported international field study experience. Through this program, the school has sent students to diverse countries including Paraguay, Ghana, South Africa, Thailand, Cambodia and Peru.

During her tenure, the School has seen an increase in annual fundraising from private sources and research awards. In fiscal year 2020, the School achieved a record-setting $10M+ fundraising total and recorded $9.8M in extramural research awards. Her outreach in the community has resulted in steadily increasing support for student scholarships, critical research, community engagement and international study opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. To connect with its constituents, the School launched Embark, a schoolwide magazine for alumni, students, parents and community members interested in solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges. The School also commemorated its 25th anniversary, with a 25-year look ahead to 2042, in a large-scale event at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Prior to UCI, Dean Guerra held a range of academic and administrative roles including professor of psychological and brain sciences and director of the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Delaware. She served on the faculty at the University of California, Riverside, the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She held a number of administrative posts at UC Riverside, including associate director of the Robert Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies.

A national search for the next dean, and associated conversations with the faculty, will begin soon. Please join me in thanking Dean Guerra for her service and contributions to UCI and the School of Social Ecology.


Hal S. Stern, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics