David Marshall, formerly the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts in the College of Letters and Science at UC Santa Barbara, has been named the campus’s next executive vice chancellor (EVC).
Marshall’s appointment is effective today. He replaces Joel Michaelsen, professor of geography, who stepped in as acting EVC following the retirement of Gene Lucas. Lucas held the position for 11 years.
In addition to serving as dean of humanities and fine arts and professor of English and of comparative literature for 16 years, Marshall served from 2005 to 2012 as the campus’s first executive dean of the College of Letters and Science. During his tenure, he oversaw the transition from a provost model to governance by a Council of Deans. Representing the College on a variety of campus committees, he worked closely with the Academic Senate through the Letters and Science Executive Committee. He also helped create COLLABORATE, the Instructional Technology Enhancement Initiative.
Marshall’s service to the campus and to the UC system is broad and deep. He has served on the Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy; the Campus Planning Committee; the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion; and the Board of Directors of the UCSB Community Housing Authority, among others. In addition, he is co-chair of the Leadership Committee of the campus’s Operational Effectiveness Initiative.
At the systemwide level, Marshall has served on and chaired the UC President’s Advisory Committee on Research in the Humanities, which oversees the UC Humanities Network. He was the principal investigator for the $12.78 million University of California Multi-Campus Research Program Governance Committee, and he previously served on The Size and Shape working group of the UC Commission on the Future.
Active nationally as well, Marshall is currently president of the National Humanities Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., which advances humanities policy in the areas of research, education, preservation and public programs.
“In all of his positions, Dean Marshall has served as an ambassador and advocate for the College and for our entire campus, working tirelessly with all of our colleagues to advance UC Santa Barbara,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “We appreciate the vision, experience and leadership he brings to this critically important position.”
Marshall said he looks forward to working with the Chancellor and the campus community to advance the university’s common goals and to build on its great strengths. “UCSB has a unique academic landscape,” he said. “We’re a major research university, but a relatively small campus, dedicated to education as well as research. We pride ourselves on our interdisciplinary collaboration and our ability to cross borders and boundaries in many areas of study.”
Even as dean of humanities and fine arts, Marshall was involved in initiatives that cross academic — and sometimes college — boundaries. The Media Arts & Technology (MAT) program, for example, is a joint effort between the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science.
Marshall takes pride in having helped to create the Carsey-Wolf Center, which engages both humanities and social science departments, and its Environmental Media Initiative, which collaborates with the Marine Science Institute and the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. He is especially interested in supporting efforts in sustainability and environmental studies, “where we have strengths in almost every discipline across campus,” he said.
An area of particular interest to Marshall as he looks ahead is the renewal of the academic planning process with the Long Range Development Plan nearing its final stage of review. “We really can refocus our attention on our vision for the years ahead,” he said. “I would very much like to engage the whole campus in thinking about our academic vision and thinking about how we can plan for the future in a very strategic way.
“Despite the improving budget situation,” he continued, “we have to make smart choices about how to maintain our excellence and develop areas where we have the potential to make a real difference.” He would like to involve centers, institutes and interdisciplinary programs, as well as traditional departments, in thinking about recruitment plans.
Marshall noted that the campus does face a number of challenges, many of which stem from faculty retirements. “We want to be able to provide the best educational experience and community for our students, and one of the most important areas for the EVC’s office to work on is faculty recruitment and retention,” he said. “Due to budget constraints, we had a slow-down in our hiring; with many retirements on the horizon, our challenge now is to make sure we’re replenishing our ranks and attracting the best faculty in the world. A key responsibility of the EVC is to work with the deans, departments and Academic Senate to maintain the excellence of the faculty in our academic programs.”
Marshall came to UCSB from Yale University in 1997. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and he also received a Yale University Morse Fellowship. His research focuses on 18th-century fiction, aesthetics and moral philosophy. His 2005 book, “The Frame of Art: Fictions of Aesthetic Experience, 1750-1815,” was awarded the 2005-06 Louis Gottschalk Prize by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. His fourth book is in press.
Marshall also has published and lectured widely on issues in higher education and public education.