Social Sciences

Alondra Nelson Columbia Dean of Social Sciences

Photo by Jörg Meyer

Alondra Nelson was an eight-year-old when the television adaptation of Alex Haley’s Roots aired in 1977 to an audience of 130 million people. “We knew it was very important,” she said.

Fredrick Harris in a pinstriped suit standing on campus with Butler Library in the background

Photo by John Pinderhughes

Fredrick C. Harris, the newest dean of social science at Columbia, says he wants to ensure faculty have the resources to guard against the delegitimization of knowledge and academic scholarship.
Deans Fredrick Harris and Sarah Cole standing on campus with Butler Library in the background

Photos by John Pinderhughes; Composite by Nicoletta Barolini

Sarah Cole and Fredrick Harris were named divisional deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences last year, taking on the roles of shaping the fields of humanities and social sciences.
Alondra Nelson Columbia Dean of Social Sciences

Photo by Michael Dames

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has named Alondra Nelson, professor of sociology and dean of social science at Columbia University, as its next president.

Alondra Nelson Columbia Dean of Social Sciences

Alondra Nelson, Columbia’s dean of social science and professor of sociology, will serve as faculty lead to the Atlantic Fellows program.

The program will empower and connect dynamic individuals committed to working together across disciplines and borders to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies.
Van Tran Sociologist, Immigrant Refugee

Photo by Barbara Alper

Van Tran is a second-generation refugee. His father left China at age 5, after the 1949 Communist revolution, eventually moving to Vietnam, where Tran was born. But history repeated itself, and in 1990, when Tran was 10, he, his parents and two of his four siblings fled Saigon.

They supervise academic departments and research centers. They oversee faculty searches and hires. They help set budget priorities and research funding. They manage allegations of conflicts of interest. They even get involved in renovations and space requests.

Alondra Nelson, the new dean for the social sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, says part of the job is to be “an advocate and a cheerleader” for the departments of anthropology, economics

Sharon Marcus, (left) Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and Alondra Nelson, professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

Alondra Nelson and Sharon Marcus become divisional deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1. Nelson, professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, was named Dean of Social Sciences.

Columbia campus

Three Columbia professors have been named members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Election to NAS, in recognition of "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research," is considered one of the highest honors a scientist or engineer can receive.

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