Since 1987, the UC Humanities Research Institute has been a centerpiece of University of California-wide investment in humanities research. Founded by UC President David Gardner, UCHRI has promoted innovation and leadership in the practice and sharing of collaborative humanistic research across all 10 campuses, nationally, and internationally.

UCHRI has been directed by David Theo Goldberg for the past 22 years. With his departure, Julia Lupton, Distinguished Professor of English at UC Irvine, has generously taken up the Interim Directorship as UC’s Office of the President puts in place a process to search for a new Director.

At the same time, UCHRI is entering a new chapter of its development as it works to secure a $30 million endowment to advance research and public programming across the system, and establishes a more sustainable funding source. The UC Office of the President is working to ensure that UCHRI will have the necessary funding to continue its mission to support UC-wide collaborative research while the endowment is being raised and endowment milestones are met.

Provost Michael Brown announced in May 2022 that Ralph Hexter, Distinguished Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature and former Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Interim Chancellor at UC Davis, has agreed to reconvene the President’s Advisory Committee on Research in the Humanities. As in the past, the committee will provide strategic leadership and oversight for UCHRI and the UC Humanities Network, advising both the President and the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs on matters related to systemwide humanities. The President’s Advisory Committee will be composed of humanities deans (or their equivalent) from each of the ten UC campuses, a representative from the UC Consortium of Humanities Centers, the director of UCHRI, and two at-large UC faculty members. It is anticipated that the work of this committee will begin by fall of 2022.

Regarding leadership, UCHRI is enormously pleased to be joined by Julia Lupton. Professor Lupton has been a regular participant in UCHRI programming over the years. Her prior experience as the founding director of Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts and Culture Initiative, as co-director of the New Swan Shakespeare Center, and as Director of UC Irvine’s Humanities Commons well prepare her for this role. She assumes the interim directorship beginning July 1, 2022. She will work collaboratively with the President’s Advisory Committee and Professor Hexter to craft a renewed strategic vision for systemwide humanities and multicampus engagement.

As we enter this new era at UCHRI, we want to warmly thank UCHRI’s longtime Director, UC Irvine Distinguished Professor David Theo Goldberg, for his leadership, fundraising prowess, and visionary imaginings of what collaborative humanities research could look like and become. Goldberg has been instrumental in cultivating the $10 million Mellon Foundation matching gift for UCHRI’s endowment, and has garnered over $60 million in additional foundation and grant support for humanities research and UCHRI programs during his tenure as Director. He has developed many innovative programs at UCHRI, including the world-renowned Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory (SECT) and the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Hub in Digital Media and Learning, and was a principal co-founder of HASTAC.

“Having worked together in various ways for two decades,” Julia and David noted that “we are engaged in a smooth transition and we both look forward to Julia building on David’s work while forging a new era for the Institute.”

As updates emerge on UCHRI’s future directions, the news will be shared via our website and social media.