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A Message from Dean Cristina Della Coletta

Cristina Della ColettaWelcome to the School of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego. The arts and the humanities play a fundamental role in carrying out the mission of a student-centered, research-focused, and service-oriented public institution. Our outstanding faculty members – many among them award-winning teachers – take exceptional pride in guiding our students in their journey of discovery, assisting them as they hone the research skills, aesthetic values and social sensibilities that equip them to thrive – with intelligence and integrity, individually and as communities – in an increasingly interconnected and changing world. UC San Diego students believe they have the duty to make a difference in society and expect others to do the same.

As they teach the responsibilities of social citizenship, the arts and the humanities remain committed to the rewards of free inquiry and experimentation. Our students develop habits of the mind – at once flexible and insightful, informed by experience, yet oriented towards innovation – that give them the versatility that is needed to succeed in an ever more complex and volatile global environment. In the studio and in the classroom, our students relish the many opportunities and challenges – many cross-departmental and across the entire school – that are provided to them. They test intellectual presuppositions, choosing when to rely on analytical rigor and when to profit from imaginative leaps, when to pursue independent research and when to become part of collaborative teams, when to focus on outcomes and goals, and when to thrive in open-ended processes.

This is a mindset that regards understanding and appreciation of diversity as the foundation of unbiased analysis, nuanced and equitable evaluation, and creative originality. Part of an increasingly international community of scholarship, our students and colleagues bring varied experiences, trainings, methodologies, viewpoints and approaches to bear on shared issues and concerns. By reaching out to the sciences and the social sciences, they test and transform the existing conventions of intellectual exchange. By engaging with local and distant communities, they bridge the gap between learning and doing.

Among our faculty members are grant recipients from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, Guggenheim and MacArthur Prize fellows, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, Rockefeller 3rd Award and Grawemeyer Award. Reflective of our faculty’s collective strengths, our programs are both distinguished and diverse. Scholars, translators and creative writers from numerous cultural areas have shaped the Department of Literature into a hub of international and interdisciplinary engagement. In the Visual Arts, Music, and Theatre and Dance departments, colleagues and students work in both traditional and new media to engage in transformative and audacious creations, challenging the properties of forms, structures and materials with vision and finesse. In the Department of History, our scholars provide knowledge, perspective and depth to bear on the challenges of the present, and combine sophisticated disciplinary knowledge with broad engagement across areas and fields. Joining interests ranging from the philosophy of science to metaphysics, and from epistemology to ethics, faculty members in the Department of Philosophy have been instrumental in continuing to develop joint research projects with colleagues in the Science Studies Program and in the Department of Cognitive Science, among others.

It is an honor to serve as dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego. My goal as dean is to work with colleagues, students, friends and alumni to promote the arts and humanities’ distinctive place in our institution. By supporting existing and new collaborations with other schools and units, the arts and humanities will continue to play a crucial role in furthering the university’s mission of learning, discovery, service and inclusion.

Cristina Della Coletta
Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities
Chancellor's Associates Chair in Italian Literature

Cristina Della Coletta's Bio

  • Cristina Della Coletta

    Dean, School of Arts and Humanities

    Cristina Della Coletta was appointed dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego in August 2014. As dean, she holds the Chancellor's Associates Chair in Italian Literature. Prior to her arrival at UC San Diego, Della Coletta served as associate dean for humanities and the arts, in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Virginia, where she was also a professor of Italian in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

    She holds a Laurea in Lingue e letterature straniere from the Università di Venezia, Italy, and a master’s degree in Italian from the University of Virginia. She earned her Ph.D. in Italian from UCLA in 1993. Her research and teaching interests include historical fiction, Italian cinema and film adaptation, women’s and cultural studies, and the use of technology in the humanities.

    She is the author of the books “When Stories Travel: Cross-Cultural Encounters Between Fiction and Film” (Johns Hopkins UP 2012); “World’s Fairs Italian-Style: The Great Expositions in Turin and Their Narratives” (Toronto UP, 2006); and “Plotting the Past: Metamorphoses of Historical Narrative in Modern Italian Fiction” (Purdue UP, 1996). She is completing a digital project entitled “Turin 1911: The World’s Fair in Italy,” which she began under the aegis of a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia (2009-2011). She is also working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled “Fascist Spectacles: The Semiotics of Power and the Languages of Dissent During the Fascist Era in Italy (1922-1943).”

    In 2006, she was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize in Italian Studies for “World’s Fairs Italian-Style.” She received numerous teaching and mentoring awards, such as the University of Virginia Faculty Mentoring Award in 2012, the UVA Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award in 2010, and the Horace W. Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. She was a visiting professor at the John Hopkins University (2004) and has lectured extensively in the United States and Europe. Her articles and reviews have appeared in PMLA, MLN, Italica, Rivista di studi italiani, The Italianist, Annali di’Italianistica and Studi novecenteschi, among other journals.

    In her administrative capacity, Della Coletta was a fellow at the Berkeley Institute on Higher Education (2014); the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (2013), and the University of Virginia’s Leadership in Academic Matters Program (2009). In her former role as associate dean of humanities and the arts at the University of Virginia, she spearheaded the creation of the Institute of World Languages and the College’s Interdisciplinary MA Program in European Studies, and contributed to the launching of the Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures.

    Dean Cristina Della Coletta's CV [PDF]