Kelman to Lead L&S as Interim Dean

Ari Kelman stands in front of books.
Ari Kelman will serve as the interim dean of the College of Letters and Science. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Chancellor’s Leadership Professor of History serves now as an associate dean
  • Appointment is effective March 21, after Elizabeth Spiller departs for Nebraska
  • Recruitment of permanent successor is likely to begin in the 2020-21 academic year, under the leadership of a new provost

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter today (Feb. 7) named historian Ari Kelman, an associate dean of the College of Letters and Science, to serve as the college’s interim dean starting March 21.

He has agreed to serve until the campus identifies a permanent successor to Elizabeth Spiller, who steps down March 20 to become executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kelman, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor of History, has won the Bancroft Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors. He is also the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his teaching and mentoring.

He has been L&S associate dean of Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs since 2017. He served as associate vice provost and director of University Honors, in Undergraduate Education, in 2013-14.

Extensive consultation

His appointment as interim dean follows a process that brought forward a number of outstanding nominees who agreed to be considered for the role, Hexter said in a message to the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors. “As part of that process, I consulted with more than 30 chairs, program directors, staff and other members of the Letters and Science community to solicit input on the most important characteristics and attributes of an interim dean.

“The chancellor and I are convinced that Ari exceeds those aspirations, and we have every confidence that Ari’s leadership will enable the college to continue moving forward during this important transitional period.”

Hexter and Chancellor Gary S. May previously communicated that the recruitment of a new dean will proceed under the direction of the new provost and executive vice chancellor, likely commencing in the 2020-21 academic year. Hexter plans to step down at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

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