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School of Humanities Gets a New Dean: Welcoming Tyrus Miller

Photo courtesy of UCI

By Maggie O’Hara

This summer, someone new will join the team of educators and administrators behind the rippled facade of Humanities Gateway. Dubbed a “visionary leader” by Chancellor Howard Gillman, Tyrus Miller will be the new dean of the School of Humanities at UCI effective July 1, 2018. Miller said it’s “thrilling to have the chance to lead the school and experience that future together with this extraordinary community of scholars and students.”

According to Enrique Lavernia, UCI Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Miller was chosen after a nationwide search to replace the current dean, George Van Den Abbeele, who will return to his faculty position in July.

Executive Vice Chancellor Lavernia said that Miller was chosen because of his exceptional “dedication to advancing scholarship and graduate education.” The School of Humanities is perhaps the optimal place to advance this commitment; Miller described it as “a place where the future of humanistic study is being defined today in its research, its teaching and its public engagement.” The school offers 22 majors and 35 minors as well as 10 research centers, including the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, the Latin American Studies Center and the newly launched Center for Jewish Studies. In keeping with Miller’s dedication to graduate studies, the School of Humanities is also home to several top-ranked graduate programs and boasts many notable alumni in various fields.

Miller’s professional background certainly shows an intense dedication to higher education. He will join the school with over twenty years of experience in the humanities, interdisciplinary research and administration. In his current position as vice provost and dean of graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, Miller has supervised 36 Ph.D. and over 50 master’s programs, spearheaded an impassioned 10-year plan to expand UCSC’s graduate programs and increased the scope of interdisciplinary entrepreneurship at UCSC’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development. Miller has also championed successful fundraising and grant campaigns. Most recently, he secured a $1.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to assist doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Miller earned a B.A. and M.A. in humanities in 1985 as well as a second M.A. in creative writing in 1988, all from Johns Hopkins University. He earned his Ph.D. in English with a concentration in comparative literature from Stanford University in 1994. He currently works at UCSC as a tenured professor specializing in 20th century literature, theory and culture.

“The concerns at the heart of the humanities,” Miller said, “from our shared stories and histories to the languages, texts, images and concepts in which we express them — have never been more relevant than in today’s world.” Welcome to UCI, Dr. Miller.