Daina Ramey Berry excited to oversee humanities and fine arts
Daina Ramey Berry has been appointed the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB.
“I am excited to be here because I feel this position is a culmination of my research interests and my personal interests in arts and humanities,” Dr. Berry told the News-Press. “I come from a family that collects art and I also played the flute. So to come to a position that has a culmination of fine arts, history and humanities is really exciting for me.”
Dr. Berry earned her bachelor’s in history in 1992, her master’s in African American studies in 1994 and her doctorate in U.S. History in 1998. All three of her degrees are from UCLA.
After getting her degrees, Dr. Berry helped to build the new black studies program at Arizona State University. She also spent 10 years as a professor of comparative black studies in the history department at Michigan State University. From there, she spent two years in North Carolina where she completed a fellowship at the National Humanities Center.
While completing her fellowship she also researched her book “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh.” After being invited for a talk at University of Texas Austin, the lecture resulted in a job offer, which led to her spending 13 years at UT Austin.
“I have spent almost 20-plus years as an academic and award winning author and editor of six books,” Dr. Berry said. “I was also the chair of history at University of Texas, Austin and the associate dean of the graduate school and UT Austin. Additionally, I have served as the editor of multiple national journals and led professional organizations as well as sitting on numerous boards and commissions. I am happy to return home to California to this position. I am very happy to come back to the University of California, where I was born and raised.”
Dr. Berry spoke to her plans as head of a UCSB division.
“My goal is to spend some time on a listening tour meeting with leaders of units to the division, learning about priorities, wishes, strengths and areas of growth. From there I will develop a plan to make sure that UCSB is elevated to another level. My goal is to enhance the work of, expand and show the talent of students, staff and faculty, as well as show the talent of this campus not just in Santa Barbara but beyond.”
The News-Press asked Dean Berry how she plans to mentor students in the division.
“I am committed to mentoring students and making sure they feel seen, heard and supported and have opportunities. For graduate students I think it is important to make sure that their skills feel applicable. I have also trained over 20 Ph.D.students.”
“I hope that people will come to campus, and we hope to bring the campus to the city as well,” Dr. Berry said. “We are already doing that, and we hope to continue doing that.
“There are a number of programs that serve the community, and I look forward to meeting people at these events.”’