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Spotlight: Helen Griffith '81

Communication alumna Helen Griffith had little interest in a career in education when she came to campus as a transfer student. Now the 1981 graduate is an award-winning principal who leads e3 Civic High, a public charter school in San Diego’s Central Library that was recently named one of America’s “most innovative.” Read More


Encouraging People to Do Well and Do Good

a letter from Dean Carol Padden

UC San Diego is No. 1 in the nation for acting on behalf of the public interest, according to the Washington Monthly. And we’re in the top 5 for economic diversity, per the New York Times, leading the paper to call us and our sister UC campuses an “upward mobility machine.” Here in the Division of Social Sciences we take special pride in these rankings because we take seriously our public mandate. Most academics seek to advance knowledge, as do we. We also strive to advance well-being. Read More


Social Sciences News


The Chronicle of Higher Education interviews Amy Binder of Sociology on her latest research, answering why so many elite-college graduates flock to the same types of jobs.

This way up: The Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research seeks to point policymakers to effective strategies for improving upward mobility in the United States. Lane Kenworthy of Sociology launched a two-year project to restore the promise of the American Dream.


Renowned French economist Thomas Piketty joined Social Sciences’ scholars Peter Gourevitch, Gordon Hanson, Gary Jacobson, Lane Kenworthy, Thad Kousser, Isaac Martin, Bud Mehan, Valerie Ramey and Tom Wong in a timely discussion on global income and wealth distribution.

Bud Mehan, founding director of Education Studies and the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence, was honored as a 2015 Revelle Medal recipient at this year’s Founders Celebration.


Public intellectuals: Eli Berman of Economics says in Politico that ISIL will fail on its own. David Scott FitzGerald and Akos Rona-Tas of Sociology argue on that building walls is not the solution for the refugee crisis.

Research by Christine Harris of Psychology and graduate student Nicole Henniger suggests young adults are more envious than their elders – and about more things.


Social and medical scientists at UC San Diego, including Sandra Brown of Psychology and Terry Jernigan of Cognitive Science, will lead an unprecedented national study on the secrets of the adolescent brain.


The Division of Social Sciences and Jacobs School of Engineering launched the Contextual Robotics Institute to develop safe and useful robotics systems.

Protecting digital labor: “My work is concerned with how innovation creates new forms of inequality." - Lilly Irani of Communication.


Find us on Facebook! Connect with Social Sciences and stay up to date on news from the division.


Upcoming Events


Socially Speaking, Jan. 21: The 2016 Presidential Election
A talk you don't want to miss with renowned professor and political consulting analyst Samuel Popkin. Popkin will share insights on the election, and there will be plenty of time for Q & A with the audience. Event begins at 5 p.m. Contact for tickets.

The Department of Ethnic Studies Is Celebrating 25 Years!
Find a calendar of events here. Are you an Ethnic Studies alumnus looking to be involved? Contact


UC San Diego & You
UCSD Alumni is bringing UC San Diego to your doorstep. Hear how our researchers and faculty are making a global impact. Network with university leadership. Join fellow Tritons from your area for an inside, inspiring look at how UC San Diego shines. For more information, contact

   - Silicon Valley, Jan. 30
   - Washington, D.C., Feb. 29
   - Los Angeles, March 9
   - New York, May 18
   - San Diego, June 2

Save the Date: Feb. 20, Alumni Day of Service
Join fellow Tritons in a community beautification project at Oneonta Elementary School in Imperial Beach, 10 a.m. to noon. Give the school a fresh look for 2016 by participating in a gardening or painting project. This event is a part of the San Diego Promise for Education. For more information, contact


Giving Updates


Alumnus Pledges $400,000 to Help Students Facing Mental Health Challenges
A pledge from Social Sciences Department of Psychology alumnus Joseph Edelman will directly benefit students in need of ongoing psychiatric services, while also improving opportunities for training and research in college mental health. The Joseph E. Edelman College Mental Health Program Fund will provide unrestricted operational support for UC San Diego’s student mental health program.
“I am very proud of our UC San Diego alumni, like Joe Edelman, who give back,” said Dean Carol Padden. “His support is creating a profound legacy that is truly inspirational.”


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