Social Ecology Hires New Faculty

By Liam Blume

While many other universities are reducing full-time professors, the School of Social Ecology at UCI increased its rank by nine late last month. These nine new women aim to expand interdisciplinary research in areas including urban planning, juvenile criminology, and effects of technology on children.

Among the new members are Nancy Rodriguez, former director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s research arm. Other new faculty members include Virginia Parks, professor of urban planning and public policy and department chair; Maura Allaire, assistant professor of urban planning and public policy; Lee Cabatingan, assistant professor of criminology, law and society; Jenna Riis, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior; Kate Kuhlman, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior; Karna Wong, professor of teaching, urban planning and public policy; Amy Dent, professor of teaching and psychology and social behavior; and Candice Ogders, returning professor of psychology and social behavior.

The addition of nine new members is in accordance with UCI’s strategic plan to expand faculty by 250 members. The university hopes the addition of new research faculty will usher an increase of graduate students by 25 percent. Eventually, UCI hopes increased interdisciplinary research will incentivize greater funding for the university, in order to support UCI’s goal to increase research expenditure to over 500 million dollars annually. UCI has already produced one Nobel Laureate, Professor, F. Sherwood Rowland, and looks to continue to attract more researchers of that caliber through increased investment in research.    

With UCI’s student population increasing by roughly 29 percent over the last decade, an increase in faculty is imperative to foster the growing student body. UCI’s College of Social Ecology’s step towards expanding their school is the first of many the university is expected to take in achieving their goal of expanding research and bolstering UCI as a research institution.