Vicki L. Ruiz, a UC Irvine historian specializing in Chicano/Latino studies, has been named dean of the UCI School of Humanities, effective immediately.
The UC Regents confirmed Ruiz’s appointment today at their meeting at UC San Francisco.
Ruiz, 52, will lead a school renowned for its range of scholarly contributions and its commitment to innovative and interdisciplinary education. The School of Humanities is home to more than 2,600 students and 180 faculty members in more than 100 research specialties. Many programs within the School of the Humanities are among the highest ranked in the country, including literary criticism and theory, English, comparative literature, French and philosophy.
“Professor Ruiz is a pioneer in her field and has spent her entire career breaking down barriers for Latinos in academia,” UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake said. “She has an impressive record in scholarly and administrative roles and will lead the School of Humanities to the next level of excellence.”
As dean, Ruiz hopes to strengthen interdisciplinary activities across academic units and to foster cross-school initiatives involving multiethnic community engagement.
“The School of Humanities at UCI has a distinguished reputation for both its global research and community connections,” Ruiz said. “I prize the diversity in excellence that characterizes the school and share with colleagues an unflagging commitment to promoting dynamic, imaginative collaborations.”
A professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies, Ruiz joined the UCI faculty in 2001. She has served as chair of the history department and as director of K-12 outreach programs Humanities Out There and the UCI History Project.
Ruiz’s research encompasses 20th century U.S. history, Chicano/Latino history through oral narratives, gender studies, labor and immigration. She is best known for her two monographs Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth Century America. In 2006 she co-edited Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, a three-volume set with more than 600 entries and 300 photographs. She was the first Latina president of both the Organization of American Historians and the American Studies Association. She currently is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and a member of the national advisory board for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Growing up in Florida, Ruiz earned her bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Florida State University in 1977 and her doctorate in history from Stanford University in 1982. Ruiz held teaching and research positions at Arizona State University, Claremont Graduate University, UC Davis and the University of Texas at El Paso before coming to UCI.