Please join us in sending a very special FELICIDADES to our primo Abel Valenzuela Jr. who was just selected as the University of California Los Angeles’ newest Dean of Social Sciences!  Your family could not be any more proud of all your achievements, primo!  We are your biggest fans!


A note from UCLA’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt:


“Serving as interim dean of the division since Sept. 1, 2022, Dean Valenzuela has provided steadfast leadership and oversight of the division. Among his accomplishments in his interim capacity, he has moved the division forward with key ladder-rank faculty hires and retention, supporting divisional and campus-wide priorities around equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives; and he has appointed new chairs and research center directors that will support the division. Dean Valenzuela has also secured multiple gifts for the division, raising more than $5 million and nurturing other potential gifts that will enhance the social sciences. He has worked closely with the Social Sciences Advisory Board, adding several new members and partnering to shape divisional priorities, including securing the endowed Lifka Staff Excellence Award in the social sciences — the first such endowment at UCLA.

A member of faculty for a remarkable 30 years, Dean Valenzuela holds appointments in the César E. Chávez Department for Chicana/o and Central American Studies as well as in Labor Studies in the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences. He also holds an appointment in the Department of Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. In addition to serving as interim dean, he has held several other academic leadership positions including chairing Chicana/o and Central American studies for two terms and directing the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty. Dean Valenzuela was also special advisor to the chancellor on immigration policy, contributing to student success among immigrant, undocumented and international students.

As director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) for six years, he oversaw labor studies, the Labor Center, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) and the Human Resources Round Table, which are dedicated to advancing research, teaching and service on labor and employment issues in Los Angeles and beyond. During his leadership, IRLE successfully purchased and renamed the downtown labor center as the UCLA James Lawson Jr. Worker Justice Center. The Labor Center and LOSH generated millions in extramural research grants and contracts under Dean Valenzuela’s leadership, and the IRLE and labor studies launched a successful major for undergraduates — the first of its kind within the University of California.

A leading expert on immigrant and low-wage workers, Dean Valenzuela continues to contribute to national public and policy conversations and has published numerous articles and reports on immigrant settlement, labor market outcomes, urban poverty and inequality. His scholarship has shaped research on itinerant workers, worker centers and immigrant work. His studies have engaged local stakeholders and community-based organizations, and influenced policy and legislation on issues related to labor, social stratification, race, poverty and neighborhood change. Dean Valenzuela earned his B.A. from UC Berkeley and his master’s and Ph.D. in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Please join us in congratulating Abel on his many achievements as he takes on the role of permanent dean.”

1 Comment

  • Raquel Richardson
    Posted June 3, 2024 6:47 pm 0Likes

    Dear Luis,
    Thank you for making it possible for us to respond to your Exciting News about our primo Abel Valenzuela Jr.’s Newest Appointment as Dean of UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences!

    I have been out of the loop, so to me, it’s incredible to believe and to learn about all that he has accomplished in his 30 years at UCLA. However, I couldn’t be more happy for him and his immediate family, wife and children.

    I wish that he is not only working hard, but I wish that as he continues to accomplish more astonishing things for UCLA, he find the time to enjoy his life outside of work.

    Wishing him all all his immediate family, happiness, health and Love!

    Prima, Raquel Richardson

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