Bill MaurerThe start of a new year is always a time for reflection and resolutions. And despite the many, many trials of 2020, there were still bright spots that give me hope for what we can achieve together in 2021. With this in mind, our list of 21derful things emerged. I hope something in here gives you reason to pause and see what might be possible in the new year with the collective spirit of our wonderful social sciences community fueling us forward.

As always, be safe and be well,
Bill Maurer
Dean, School of Social Sciences, UCI


1: The number of weekly events the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center is hosting to keep our undergrad engaged. Bagel Fridays from your couch? Yes please!  

2: The number of years the UC Multicampus Research Programs has funded UC PromISE – a study spearheaded by Laura Enriquez, Chicano/Latino studies, to understand the successes and struggles of undocumented students in California’s public universities.

3: The number of Career Development Awards provided for social sciences faculty to participate in the Faculty Success Program.

4: The number of years until the first cohort in the new LIFTED program - which provides the opportunity for people who are incarcerated to earn a bachelor’s in sociology - will have their degrees conferred.

5: The number of ADORABLE new babies born to social sciences faculty and staff in 2020.

6: The number of anti-Black racism research projects that were funded by social sciences donors.

7k: The amount - $7k - of funds raised for the Prison Pandemic Project, an interdisciplinary effort that documents the COVID experience of people who are incarcerated (launching later this month).

8: The number of new faculty hired in 2020 who all successfully began their UCI careers remotely. Also on the 8th of February, we’re looking forward to celebrating Lunar New Year virtually with a lineup of discussions, fun virtual family games, and dining discounts from a host of OC restaurants. More info to come!

9: The number of departments in the schools – all of which rank in the top 50 in their respective fields. And $9.2m: The amount of funding our incredible researchers brought in during AY 2019-20.

10: The date in February when professors Judith Stepan-Norris, sociology, and Laura Enriquez, Chicano/Latino studies, will be among those honored at the annual UCI Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Awards Ceremony. Congrats, Judy and Laura!

11: The number of staff who celebrated 3, 5, 15, 20 and 30 year service milestones in 2020. Go soc sci staff! Also, on the 11th of January, the Department of Logic & Philosophy of Science will launch the Penelope Maddy Colloquium Series with Mark Wilson, Pittsburgh, on Science’s Scaffolding and the Second Philosopher.

12: (actually 11.9, but we’re rounding up): The average years of staff service in social sciences where institutional knowledge among our lean but mighty staff allows for continued excellence of all internal operations as we come up on a full year of remote delivery.

13-15: The dates in February of a much-deserved long weekend to celebrate (safely) President’s Day (Feb 13-15). Also of note: 15 = the number of national academy members among our social sciences faculty.

16-18: Also the dates of a holiday weekend – the first of 2021 (Jan 16-18). On the 18th, we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. So celebrate with a day of (safely) engaging and bettering your community. Need some ideas? AmeriCorps has you covered.

19: The number of first-year Black and/or Latinx graduate students participating in Thriving in the Academy, a series created by Belinda Robnett, inaugural social sciences associate dean of faculty development and diversity, to retain, train and graduate underrepresented minority Ph.D. students, and funded with a five-year, $349,996 grant from the UC-Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative. Zot, zot, zot!

20: The enrollment max for our winter 2020 Veterans Studies Certificate class. Due to overwhelming interest, we DOUBLED the capacity and are still seeing a waitlist beyond the now 40 student registration cap. Did you know: UCI is the nation’s only top research university to offer a certificate program focused on those who’ve served in the military, and with social sciences leading the charge, we’re looking forward to expanding offerings in the coming quarters.

And 21: The date in Jan we’re asking undergrads and grad students to join (virtually) the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center for a College Bigs Information Session partnership event with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County & the Inland Empire to recruit college students to mentor high school students to cultivate the community's next advocates, philanthropists, and UCI graduates. Interested? Contact Karissa for more info:

Zot, zot, zot, Anteaters – it’s going to be a BIG year!


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