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Faculty Endowed Chairs

Started in 1983 by former Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson, nine endowed faculty chairs have been established by past gifts from Chancellor’s Associates. According to Chancellor Khosla, “Endowed chairs help us to recruit and retain exceptional faculty in a variety of fields and bridge funding gaps in state support. They are vital to our teaching and research mission.”

Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chairs have been used to fund faculty research, teaching, and scholarly activities throughout campus, from cognitive science and economics to physics and molecular biology.

Learn more about our Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chairs and read our exclusive Q&A interviews below to get the inside scoop.

 

Welcome to our newest Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chair: Margaret Roberts

M.-Roberts-Headshot.jpgChancellor’s Associates Chair I is held by Margaret Roberts, an associate professor in the department of political science and co-director of the China Data Lab at the 21st Century China Center. Her research focuses on the intersection of political methodology and the politics of information, specifically methods of automated content analysis and the politics of censorship and propaganda in China.

Margaret received a PhD in government from Harvard University, and a MS in statistics and a BA in international relations and economics from Stanford University. Her book, Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China's Great Firewall, published by Princeton University Press in 2018, was listed as one of the Foreign Affairs Best Books of 2018, was honored with the Goldsmith Book Award, and has been awarded the Best Book Award in the Human Rights Section and Information Technology and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.

Margaret’s interest in China was sparked by a college visit in which she ended up stranded alone at the airport. There, she met a non-English speaking Chinese couple who had also missed their flight and didn’t know what to do. That encounter, and communicating through a dictionary, triggered Margaret to take Mandarin classes her freshman year and her curiosity about China spiraled from there.

What does recently being appointed Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chair mean to you?

“Financially, it means having the flexibility to explore. I can use these funds to explore new areas of research that are potentially high-risk or research projects that we don’t have enough background data to get funding for, which creates all these creative possibilities. It also means opportunities to fund students who are working on exciting things and make it so they have more time and resources for their research. 

Symbolically, I am very honored to be appointed to the Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chair position that was held by the late Jeff Elman, a distinguished professor of cognitive science. He was a mentor to me and it is inspiring to hold his chair position now.”

Read our Q&A below with Margaret to get an inside scoop on one of UC San Diego’s faculty members that is breaking the mold.

Chancellor’s Associates Chair I: Margaret Roberts

1. Where is your favorite spot on campus?
It’s hard to pick just one. When I need to think about a problem, I run on the eucalyptus running trail, which usually solves it. My second favorite spot is Art of Espresso. It is a really nice coffee shop where you can sit underneath the trees.

2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
I really like tomatoes, specifically heirloom tomatoes. I like them with a little vinegar like a caprese salad, but without the cheese. I eat them all the time.

3. What is the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone or that most people don’t know about you? 
One thing that I was really into for a long time was conflict resolution. When I was in middle school, they had a conflict resolution training and I took it. Then throughout high school and college, I did a lot of community resolution – where you sit down as a mediator between a parent and a teen, or a victim and an offender, or just two people in conflict for whatever reason. You have a process that you go through to help people come to their own resolution. It taught me all these skills, especially listening. It is very different from what I do now, but I spent an enormous amount of time on it and it is one of the perks of my education that I value the most because I use it all the time.

My experience with conflict resolution is also what led me to start thinking about politics. I was interested in how political conflicts are resolved.

4. What was your dream job growing up?
For a long time, I just wanted to teach and do research. I tried a bunch of different things – working in civil society, working as a pollster, but it was obvious that teaching was a good fit for me. I can think about my own questions and I can decide which questions are important and go after those questions.

5. What is your fondest memory from college? 
My favorite memories from college are from the weekends. My three siblings went to college around the same time that I did. We were fortunate to all be in the Bay Area together. We grew up spending a lot of time outside – backpacking, camping, rafting. We would go away on weekend adventures, which was really fun.

I had an amazing college experience, I feel very lucky. I met my husband in college and I still keep in touch with my closest college friends to this day.

6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
When I was 18, I felt like anything where I wouldn’t be good at it that I shouldn’t do it. It took me a while to change that perspective and mindset. Now I really enjoy stepping into new areas and I enjoy the learning curve a lot. I would have told my 18-year-old self “just do what you want to do, explore all of the things!”

With research, you are trying to do something new. That means you are going to fail, you have to for a few times before you finally get it or before you have that little breakthrough. Those breakthroughs are so exciting that the failing is worth it.

7. Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why? 
My parents, they were always taking us places and pushing us to explore the world. They would take us traveling so that we could try different types of experiences and interact with people who live in very different ways. They gave me that attitude to explore, which eventually led me to China.

8. If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be? 
This is more a superpower than an answer to a question, but I would like to get inside someone else’s brain. To be able to actually see how even one other person completely sees the world. I think that would answer so many questions that I have – like why communications break down, why people have very different opinions even though they see the same facts. It would answer a lot of questions about how identity shapes people’s beliefs and people’s opinions.

9. Tell us something about you that is nontraditional.
I eat cereal for dessert. My favorite is Honey Nut Cheerios with dried oatmeal on top and milk. I often have a bowl of cereal before I go to bed, my dad did this too.

10. How do you want to be remembered?
What I aspire to in doing this type of work is trying to seek out truth. That is the goal of research to find some truth and communicate it. Yet, there are so many impediments to doing that. I really believe in freedom of information and I believe in free communication. I hope that my work is seen as helping advocate for that by shedding light on it.

Chancellor’s Associates Chair II: Cristina Della Coletta

cristina-della-coletta.jpgSince Cristina Della Coletta was appointed dean of the UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities in 2014, the recognition, prestige and visibility of the entire division has soared. A dedicated advocate of the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, Dean Della Coletta spearheaded the creation of the Institute of Arts and Humanities, the Institute for Practical Ethics, and the Arts and Community Engagement initiative, with an overall pledge to educate the whole individual: “We do not merely generate knowledge, but create a culture devoted to the application of knowledge for the common good,” she said.

1. Where is your favorite spot on campus?
The library.

2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pizza margherita.

3. What is the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone (or that most people don’t know)?
I was an equestrian. I had a white horse, and even his name was fairy tale-like: Folletto del Colle Rosso.

4. What was your dream job growing up?
Teacher.

5. What is your fondest memory from college?
The wonder of my first day as an exchange student at UCLA.

6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Be patient.

7. Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why?
My husband. He sees things differently from me and he is funny.

8. If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be?
What will our planet be like in year 3000?

9. Tell us something about you that’s nontraditional.
My research is nontraditional. It combines the humanities and the arts with architecture and engineering, in partnership with UC San Diego’s Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative and the Polytechnic University of Turin. My collaborators and I are working to create a digital project that includes a 3D reconstruction of the Turin 1911 World’s Fair. The Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chair is allowing me to expand beyond traditional disciplines and connect the arts and humanities with technology.

10. How do you want to be remembered?
As a champion of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Chancellor’s Associates Chair III: Susan Golden

Susan Golden1. Where is your favorite spot on campus?
The terraced area between the Snake Path and Warren Mall. My husband and I like to eat our lunch there and watch the people, dogs, birds, and lizards going about their lives.

2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It’s a tie between Thai green curry and Lobster, with a piece of dark chocolate for dessert.

3. What is the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone (or that most people don’t know)?
I played the bassoon for 7 years when I was a teenager

4. What was your dream job growing up?
I always expected to be a writer, and very briefly majored in journalism before switching to Biology, but I really didn’t have a single path in mind.

5. What is your fondest memory from college?
My ecology class took a field trip to the Mississippi gulf coast. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Learn to do what you choose to do, and not what others expect you to do.

7. Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why?
My mother taught me to love reading and learning, and my husband of 40 years has been a partner in both my professional and personal life. I have to credit both of them at the top of the list.

8. If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be?
Can humanity learn to live rationally, compassionately, and sustainably?

9. Tell us something about you that’s nontraditional.
I’ve been scuba diving in dozens of places around the globe.

10. How do you want to be remembered?
As having helped others achieve their goals.

Chancellor’s Associates Chair IV: Steve Boggs

Coming soon...

Chancellor’s Associates Chair V: Marta Kutas

Susan Golden1. Where is your favorite spot on campus?
The talking tree among the trees behind the student health center.  The tree and its environs are beautiful. The idea is creative.  Some of the words (e.g. Obama) are highly inspirational and make me feel hopeful

2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Depends on whether I want a short, medium, or long life (longest possible).  What is more important: taste, health/nutritional value, texture? How long would the meal last? Who is making the meal? Am I eating alone or with others? How is it being paid for?

This seems like a deceptively easy question, and yet if you take it seriously then all the factors (and more) would interact.

An automatic answer: lecho (hungarian pepper-tomato stew) with scrambled in eggs, fresh bread with hard crust, watermelon

3. What is the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone (or that most people don’t know)?
I started writing poetry as a postdoctoral fellow (in a car on the way to Joshua Tree to stave off boredom) and have written many poems since on napkins, table cloths, tablets, magazine pages, etc. about everything – life, love, friendship, politics, social issues, science, and people.  Besides the ones I’ve read aloud, are ones embedded in hanging art pieces, or digitally recorded and archived on the internet.  Some are short and some are long. Mostly they rhyme.  I hope to publish a book of them (or some) some day.

4. What was your dream job growing up?
Never had a dream job. In all honesty I had little idea what jobs were available.  Among the jobs that I was aware of (doctor, lawyer, business person, factory worker, driver, service worker, engineer, teacher, salesperson, actor, musician, artist, journalist), my parents wanted me to be a medical doctor. I would have loved to be an artist of some sort but I did not have the talent/skills and was very worried about not having a job with fiscal security in retirement.

5. What is your fondest memory from college?
I made money by working in the dorm kitchens at meal time. My fondest memory is of Sunday mornings laughing and joking with the kitchen crew as we prepped breakfast and brunch standing over a vat of cracked eggs, cracking 2-3 eggs per hand into what looked like an ocean, or over a very hot, oily, steaming flat stove, sipping on tomato juice.

6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Exercise religiously. Live intentionally. Don’t be hard on yourself. Take it as it comes.

7. Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why?
My parents. They taught me to be self-reliant and persistent, that hard work pays off, and to never give up.

8. If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be?
What don’t we (as a people) know?  Are there forces, physical laws that will give us a different perspective on how we perceive life once we discover them?

9. Tell us something about you that’s nontraditional.
I am nontraditional in most respects; it’s more difficult to come up with a way in which I am traditional.

10. How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as an honest person with integrity who tried their best who could be counted on as needed

Chancellor’s Associates Chair VI: Mark H. Thiemens

Coming soon...

Chancellor’s Associates Chair VII: Stephen M. Hedrick

Coming soon...

Chancellor’s Associates Chair VIII: Michael Holst

Coming soon...

Chancellor’s Associates Chair XI: Katja Lindenberg

Coming soon...