Saturday, May 18

Abel Valenzuela Jr. appointed as dean of UCLA College Division of Social Sciences

Abel Valenzuela Jr. is pictured. Valenzuela, following his tenure as interim dean of the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences, will now be dean of the division, according to an email sent by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt. (Courtesy of the Optimist Campaign)

Abel Valenzuela Jr. will be the next dean of the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences, removing the interim status from the post he’s held since September 2022. 

Valenzuela joined UCLA’s faculty 30 years ago, now holding appointments in Chicana/o and Central American studies, labor studies and urban planning. 

He previously chaired the Department of Chicana/o and Central American studies, directed the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty and was special advisor to the chancellor on immigration policy. Additionally, as the former director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Valenzuela oversaw the Labor Studies Undergraduate Program, the Labor Center and the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program. 

According to the campus-wide email sent by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt, as interim dean Valenzuela improved the hiring and retention of ladder-rank faculty, supported diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and raised more than $5 million for the division. 

His scholarship has shaped research on itinerant workers, worker centers and immigrant work. His studies have engaged local stakeholders and community-based organizations, and influenced policy and legislation on issues related to labor, social stratification, race, poverty and neighborhood change,” Hunt said in the email. 

Valenzuela succeeded Hunt, who chaired the division of social sciences from 2017 to 2022. Valenzuela earned a gross compensation of $442,234 in 2022, the most recent year salaries were published on the UC Office of the President website. 

The Dean of Social Sciences is responsible for managing the largest division in the College of Letters and Sciences, including supervising 292 ladder faculty, according to the original post advertising the job. The dean also serves as a public spokesperson, is involved in hiring decisions and provides strategic leadership for the division, which has $160 million in annual expenditures. 

In the email, Hunt said Valenzuela hopes to focus on staff excellence and retention, enhance research initiatives and support graduate students. 

“Given his longstanding leadership and commitment to UCLA, Chancellor Block and I are confident that Abel will continue to help the Division of Social Sciences reach new heights,” Hunt said in the email.

News editor

Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.

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