Announcement: Dean of the Division of Social Sciences

May 3, 2019

Dear campus community,

We are pleased to announce that Raka Ray, professor of sociology and South and Southeast Asian studies, has been appointed to be the next dean of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science. She will take up her appointment on January 1, 2020.  In the interim, Kim Voss, a prominent sociologist of labor and social movements with substantial administrative experience across campus, has agreed to serve as acting dean for the fall semester, effective July 1, 2019.

A renowned sociologist with a range of publications in gender and feminist theory, postcolonial sociology, paid domestic work, women’s movements and India’s emerging middle classes, Raka received her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her leadership roles for the university include chairing the Department of Sociology, the Institute for South Asia Studies, and the Academic Senate’s Budget and Interdepartmental Relations Committee. An award-winning mentor, a highly collaborative leader, and skilled consensus-builder, Raka has also demonstrated an abiding commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in both her academic life and administrative work.

As dean of social sciences, Raka will have responsibility for leading the 12 departments - African American studies, anthropology, demography, economics, ethnic studies, geography, gender and women’s studies, history, linguistics, political science, psychology and sociology - that comprise the largest academic division in the university. The social sciences division is also among Berkeley’s most heterogeneous, with faculty studying every dimension of the human experience, as well as among its most distinguished; several of its departments rank in the top five nationally.

In addition to announcing Raka’s appointment, we would like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing social sciences Dean Carla Hesse for her outstanding stewardship of the division over the past 10 years. Over the course of her tenure, Carla helped restructure several of the division’s majors and facilitated the creation of a new one in global studies, built up the division’s research infrastructure, and reshaped its faculty through the hiring of more than 100 professors.

Please join us in thanking Carla for a job extraordinarily well done, in congratulating Raka on her new appointment, and welcoming Kim as acting dean.


Carol Christ

Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost