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New SSHA Faculty Increase Areas of Research Focus

September 29, 2014

For the 2014-15 academic year, the School of Social Sciences Humanities and Arts (SSHA) has hired 19 faculty members who continue to expand the depth and breadth of research expertise.

A vital asset to the university and California’s San Joaquin Valley, Assistant Professor of History Ma Vang is the campus’s first Hmong studies expert – and the second Hmong-American to receive a tenure-track faculty appointment in the University of California system. Edward Flores, a sociologist who studies why men leave gangs, brings the strength of his research on race, gender, religion and immigration as these factors impact high-risk populations. Joining these scholars in SSHA are experts in Indian music and Bollywood film songs, social stratification, linguistics, health economics and world heritage.

“Many of our new hires have already won major awards for their research and publications,” said Marjorie Zatz, vice provost and dean of graduate education. “These outstanding professors offer our current and prospective graduate students terrific opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations and training.  Individually and as a cohort, these stellar experts contribute to UC Merced’s growing prestige across a wide range of research areas.”

The new faculty members joining SSHA this fall are:

The following faculty members will begin their appointments in January 2015:

  • Nicola Lercari – assistant professor, world heritage
  • Rowena Gray – assistant professor, economics

The faculty hires reflect areas of rapid enrollment growth, greatest potential for interdisciplinary collaboration, research potential and other factors aligned with the university’s strategic academic vision and long-term mission, said Tom Peterson, provost and executive vice chancellor.

“To fulfill the goal of enrolling 10,000 undergraduate students by 2020, we have to make an investment in faculty who augment the already diverse areas of research found on our campus,” he said.