Jill Robbins was named the dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at UC Merced and will begin her new post next year.
Robbins replaces Mark Aldenderfer, who will go back to working as a professor. He served more than five years as dean.
Robbins has more than 20 years of experience as a university professor or administrator at three prominent American universities, officials said. Most recently, she worked at the University of Texas at Austin as the department chairwoman of Spanish and Portuguese since 2010.
“I am thrilled to be joining the leadership team at UC Merced as it enters its second decade of operation and begins to sharpen its academic focus in the years ahead,” Robbins said in a statement. “The School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts will be a big part of that process. I look forward to working closely with the school’s distinguished faculty to make our contributions stand out and achieve distinction for the campus as a whole.”
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Robbins holds a doctorate degree in Spanish literature and a master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Kansas. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and economics from Brown University. She also has authored, edited or contributed to a wide range of peer-reviewed books and articles.
Thomas Peterson, UC Merced’s provost and executive vice chancellors, said Robbins’ achieved national attention for her work.
“Rather than asking the traditional question of how to ‘cover the field,’ she has focused on how to ‘reimagine the field ...’ This approach will serve her well as our campus embarks on hiring faculty who can both build our foundations and strengthen key pillars of institutional research,” he said.
Jeff Gilger, a professor of psychology and the Carlton Cunningham Chair in Cognitive Development at UC Merced, will serve as interim dean from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. Robbins officially takes over New Year’s Day next year.