FAQ-s about the DHI’s Transition to the Dean’s Office

Is the DHI being closed or dissolved?

No. The DHI is not being closed. The Dean’s Office will oversee and manage the DHI during an 18-months to 2-year visioning process.

Is the Dean’s Office absorbing the DHI?

No. The Dean’s Office is not absorbing the DHI. The Dean’s Office will oversee the visioning process during this 18-months to 2-year period. The DHI visioning process coincides with the Letters & Science College visioning process. The Dean’s Office will manage the continued DHI faculty and select graduate support programs during this period.

Why is the DHI transitioning to the Dean’s Office now?

First, the transition was driven by the timing of key events, including the stepping down of the interim DHI Director, the responsibility of the Dean’s Office to implement the Program Review Committee recommendations (see below), and the concurrent college-wide visioning process.

Second, based on an extensive year long assessment of the Institute (including the Program Review, site visits to other UC Humanities Institutes, and internal and external consultations), the Dean’s Office, the Program Review Committee, and the Interim DHI Director recognized the need to reinvigorate and reimagine the Institute given existing administrative and organizational issues, the changing landscape of humanities-related research funding opportunities, and changes within the UC Humanities Network (UCHN).

Why was the DHI  Program Review initiated, and what were the committee’s recommendations?

Because the DHI had never undergone a program review since its inception, dating back to the early 1990s, a program review was initiated by the Dean’s Office and completed in 2021-22. The program review committee was chaired by Prof. Mark Jerng (English) and included several arts and humanities faculty from within our campus, as well as the Managing Director of The Humanities Institute (THI) at UCSC, who served as the external reviewer. The program review identified several administrative and organizational issues that prevented the DHI from fulfilling its mission or reaching its full potential. The review offered several recommendations, of which the most significant were – a visioning process leading to a strategic plan for the DHI and a closer relationship with the Dean’s Office. (The latter would bring the DHI in line with other successful Humanities Institutes within the UC system.)

What does the transition to the Dean’s Office mean?

The DHI’s transition to the Dean’s Office means that the Dean’s Office has oversight and management responsibility over the Institute during this period. To concentrate fully on the visioning process, all DHI events, activities, and programs not designated as Faculty Research Support Programs or select Graduate Programming will be paused (see below for more details).

The DHI’s two-full time staff have been laid off. However, all salary savings from these two positions will be retained in the DHI accounts to fund the continuing faculty and graduate support programs during the transition and be used by the new permanent Director, who will be selected after the completion of the visioning process.

The DHI part-time webmaster will continue in his role.

What about the DHI’s funding programs during this period?

The Dean’s Office will continue the DHI’s major faculty funding programs during this time. These include the Faculty Research Fellowships, the Research Clusters, the Network Collaboration Fellowships, and the Working Groups for graduate students.

Will DHI events continue during this period?

DHI events and programming will be paused during this period to concentrate attention on the visioning process.

What about DHI co-sponsorship of events?

The DHI has not co-sponsored events for several years. All co-sponsorship funding requests go through the Dean’s Office through the one-time funding request form (for instructions, see https://ucdavis.app.box.com/file/1231584364869).

What will happen to the DHI’s spaces in Voorhies?

The DHI’s spaces in Voorhies will be retained during the transition period. The DHI’s podcasting lab, the conference room, and the quiet rooms will be available to faculty and graduate students to use. The spaces will be closed during the summer but will be open to use again in Fall 2023.

The Dean’s Office has worked with the onsite Voorhies Administrative Team to provide oversight and access to these rooms during this period. 

Will I still get the DHI Digest?

Yes, the DHI’s digest, which compiles information about events and funding opportunities in the arts and humanities, will continue to go out to subscribers.  The frequency may change depending on the available content given the reduced DHI activities during this transition period.

Will the DHI still have a web presence?

Yes, the DHI’s website will continue to be maintained during this period of transition.

Who will oversee the DHI’s visioning process?

The Dean’s Office will appoint a Faculty Advisor for the Arts and Humanities, who will advise the Dean and Associate Deans on the visioning process and all other Arts and Humanities-research related issues. The Faculty Advisor will help determine the membership of and chair the visioning committee. The Dean’s Office will be soliciting nominations for this position in the summer. The appointment will begin in Fall 2023, for a two-year period.  The position of Faculty Advisor is a compensated position.

Will the Faculty Advisor be a humanist?

Yes. The Faculty Advisor will be someone with research expertise in an arts, humanities, or humanistic social science discipline.

Who will serve on the visioning committee? 

The visioning committee will be comprised of faculty from the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences. It is also likely to include external members with expertise in the running of humanities institutes and centers. Campus leaders with a stake in a strong humanities institute will also likely be included. The Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Lori Lubin, Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies Elizabeth Freeman, and Executive Associate Dean John Scott will also be involved.

Who will review the DHI’s funding applications?

The Faculty Advisor and the DHI’s Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) will review the applications for DHI funding.

Will the arts and humanities faculty be consulted during the visioning process?

Yes, the arts and humanities faculty and graduate students will be consulted throughout the visioning process.

How can I be involved?

You can nominate a colleague for the position of Faculty Advisor or self-nominate. You can also self-nominate or nominate colleagues to serve on the visioning committee itself. Please attend the townhalls that will be organized and participate robustly in the process.

Will UC Davis still participate in the UC Humanities Network during the transition?

Yes, UC Davis will participate in all UC Humanities Network meetings next year as the Dean’s Office strongly believes that the connections with the systemwide network will help us during the visioning process. The Faculty Advisor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies will be the contact points and will participate in the system-wide meetings.

Whom should I contact if I have questions or concerns about the transition process?

Mark Jerng (mcjerng@ucdavis.edu), who led the external review, and Archana Venkatesan (avenkatesan@ucdavis.edu), who served as the DHI’s Interim Director (2022-23) are available to meet to faculty and departments about the transition. Associate Dean Lori Lubin (lsresearchad@ucdavis.edu) can be contacted with any questions for the Dean’s Office. After July 1, you can also email dhi@ucdavis.edu.