Berkeley Social Sciences Dean Raka Ray reappointed for second five-year term

June 4, 2024

Raka Ray

We are delighted to announce that Raka Ray has been reappointed as dean of the Social Sciences Division for a second five-year term, beginning July 1, 2024.

Dean Ray is an accomplished sociologist and award-winning mentor. She is widely recognized for her contributions to the study of gender and postcolonial feminist theory. She recently received a lifetime achievement award from the American Sociological Association for a career dedicated to enlarging “the horizons of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society.”

Dean Ray’s tenure as dean has also been devoted to enlarging the horizons of the Social Sciences Division. Two months after her first term began, when the global COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns created unprecedented challenges, she demonstrated visionary leadership by harnessing the moment to reimagine how the Division of Social Sciences could better serve students, faculty and staff. Not only did she quickly provide the resources that enabled the successful pivot to online learning, she also went on to pursue a range of initiatives aimed at fostering the UC Berkeley spirit of excellence and inclusion. Because the Social Sciences Division is Berkeley’s largest and most diverse, the impact of these initiatives has been felt across campus.

Throughout her tenure, Dean Ray has focused on reinvigorating Berkeley social sciences as an engine of innovation in research and teaching. She has reinforced core strengths while encouraging the academic community to reflect broadly on what they do, how they do it and whom they serve. She has ensured that the social sciences remain at the forefront of groundbreaking research by supporting the development of multidisciplinary initiatives that are opening new lines of inquiry, as well as enhancing student learning. These initiatives have been transformative for the division by attracting world-class scholars and connecting research to learners worldwide. For example, the division created the Master of Computational Social Science program, along with two massive open online courses that have already enrolled thousands of students.

Dean Ray has worked to maintain the excellent academic reputation of Berkeley social sciences’ programs by expanding the division’s access to resources through philanthropy, foundation grants and new funding streams. With these additional resources, she led the recent launch of the donor-supported Social Sciences Career Readiness Internship Program to help undergraduate students in financial need gain experience and employment skills in their chosen fields. The program provides students with internship placement assistance in a variety of areas and offers skills workshops and personalized coaching. 

Fostering a divisional culture that upholds the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for all of its members, Dean Ray has cultivated a climate in which students, staff and faculty can feel empowered to contribute fully to the university’s academic mission. She secured competitive funding from the UC Office of the President to launch a multi-pronged strategy that revamped faculty recruitment processes and expanded mentoring for junior faculty with the aim of diversifying the professoriate. Under her tenure, the Social Sciences Division has established the first-ever associate dean for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice to oversee ongoing programs for students, staff and faculty.

Please join us in congratulating Raka Ray on her reappointment and accomplishments thus far. Under her leadership and with her compelling, holistic vision of the importance and impact of the division’s work, commitment to its relevance and the work being done on advancing justice, the Social Sciences Division will continue to thrive.

Watch this video to learn more about Dean Ray's reappointment