June 1, 2003
Stanford Professor Kenji
Named Social Science Dean
By Staff Writers
CA. -- Kenji Hakuta, Ph.D., is a teacher
and researcher by profession, and a builder of bridges by nature.
He will bring this passion for building
bridges to educational excellence, opportunity and enlightenment
to the University of California, Merced as the newly named founding
Dean of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Hakuta's
official appointment at UC Merced is effective July 1, 2003 following
recent action by the UC Board of Regents. "Kenji Hakuta and his
outstanding academic credentials are perfectly matched to the
deanship at UC Merced," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey.
"I am delighted to welcome him to our
campus. It is also my pleasure to note his national and international
stature as a social scientist and educator, which will be a tremendous
boon to our faculty recruitment efforts."
Hakuta is best known for his research
on the psychology of bilingualism and second language learning,
as well as for his work in education policy and equal educational
access for minority students.
Hakuta has published over 100 articles
and books in the social sciences, with book titles that include
Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism (Basic Books, 1986)
and In Other Words: The Science and Psychology of Second Language
Acquisition (Basic Books, 1994) and, most recently, Compelling
Interest: Examining the Evidence on Racial Dynamics in Colleges
and Universities (Stanford University Press, 2003).
Currently the Vida Jacks Professor of
Education at Stanford University, Hakuta teaches courses in the
areas of psychology, language, bilingualism, teacher education,
research methods and statistics.
"Kenji has brought energy and enthusiasm
to his position at Stanford and he will do the same in this new
position," said Stanford Dean of Education Deborah Stipek.
"In addition to being an excellent scholar
and teacher, he is a devoted mentor to his students and junior
colleagues. "UC Merced has hired a good leader and a great human
being. He will be missed at Stanford, but our feeling of loss
is mitigated by the knowledge that he will be doing something
that is very important and very good for the citizens of California."
Hakuta brings with him considerable national
policy experience from Washington, D.C. He has spearheaded committees
and task forces for the Federal government and the National Academy
of Sciences, especially in the areas of improving education of
language minority students.
For eight years, he served as Chair of
the U.S. Department of Education's National Educational Research
Policy and Priorities Board and he presently serves on the Education
Advisory Committee for the General Accounting Office. He also
is a member of the National Academy of Education and the Board
of Trustees for the Educational Testing Service.
Hakuta's immediate charge is to attract
the complement of founding faculty for the Division of Social
Sciences, Humanities and Arts before the campus opens in August
"At UC Merced, I will be busy hiring
and developing the academic program, but the precious time that
I have for research will be trained on improving access to higher
education," Hakuta said.
"I look forward to partnering with K-12
educational institutions to increase regional student access to
the University of California and developing methods to more extensively
track progress toward improvement. Fortunately, there is great
staff in student outreach already in place at UC Merced, and my
goal is to give that effort as much research backing as possible."
"Dr. Hakuta is a scholar of immense integrity
whose skills in teaching, research and administration will contribute
not only to the formation of the division, but to the development
of the UC Merced campus," said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Hakuta is particularly excited about
applying knowledge he has acquired from the field of education
toward building the liberal arts component of the campus.
He has a clear vision for the academic
foundation he hopes to help create: an educational environment
that fosters critical and reflective reading, persuasive and analytic
writing, and effective and responsible leadership. "I feel it
is important to achieve a balance between excellence and equity,"
"As a new campus, there also is the really
interesting challenge of creating the kind of culture where teaching
has a shared priority with research. We want to recruit faculty
who have spectacular research programs, but who also see themselves
That kind of supportive teaching environment
is especially vital given UC Merced's special mission to serve
students of the Central Valley, many of whom may be the first
in their families to attend a university, along with students
from the balance of California."
As with the mix of students, Hakuta aspires
to attract a mix of faculty, including some with local connections.
Another personal priority is hire faculty members whose interests
cut across divisions of academic discipline and who are committed
to increasing educational access and, more broadly, to regional
development such as the environment and the economy.
He is intrigued by the opportunity to
contribute to the World Cultures Institute, one of UC Merced's
two signature research institutes.
Looking at the institute as a means to
facilitate cultural and linguistic understanding through scholarship
and internship programs, he points to the learning opportunities
that arise when connections are made between the cultures and
languages at the local scale with cultures and languages at the
received his B.A. in Psychology and Social Relations in 1975 and
Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1979, both from Harvard University.
His wife of 24 years, Nancy Goodban, is a consultant in human
services. Their children will be attending the Merced schools,
and the family is looking forward to becoming citizens of the
great Central Valley.
When asked for additional motivations
for moving to Merced, Hakuta noted that he is an enthusiastic
rock climber and looks forward to spending some free time in Yosemite.
More information about Kenji Hakuta can be found at his personal
Note: UC Merced is the first major research university to be built
in the United States in the 21st century. Employing approximately
130 educators and professionals, the University has a special
mission to serve the educational needs of California's San Joaquin
Valley. The Merced campus is scheduled to open in fall 2004 to
serve 1,000 students. In the coming decades, the campus will grow
to a student population of 25,000.]