Professor Amanda Woodward to Serve as Interim Dean of the Social Sciences

June 20, 2017 (last updated on November 21, 2019)

Amanda Woodward, the William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology & deputy dean of faculty affairs for the Division of the Social Sciences, has been appointed the interim dean of the Division of Social Sciences. 

The appointment was announced this morning by President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier.

“Amanda’s experience as deputy dean and her leadership as a faculty member ensures that the positive trajectory of the Division of the Social Sciences continues as we begin the search process for a new dean,” Diermeier said.

“I am honored to serve in this role for the Division and excited for the opportunity to support our extraordinary community of scholars. I look forward to the work ahead and to further growth in the many research programs and educational endeavors of the Division's faculty and students," Woodward said.

Woodward joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1993 and served as chair of the Department of Psychology from 2013-2015. She is currently director of the Infant Learning and Development Laboratory and serves as chair of the Developmental Program. Woodward has pioneered the development of experimental methods to investigate social cognition in infants and young children, and was a founding member of the Center for Early Childhood Research. Her research has yielded fundamental insights into infants' social understanding and the processes that support conceptual development early in life. Her current work investigates infants' sensitivity to interpersonal social structure, the effects of cultural and community contexts in shaping children's social learning strategies and the neural processes involved in early social-cognitive development. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.  

Woodward’s appointment is effective July 1, 2017, and continues until June 30, 2018. 

In accord with University Statutes, the formal process for selecting the next dean of the Division of the Social Sciences has already begun with the initiation of a process to elect a faculty committee that will advise the president and provost.

Woodward succeeds David Nirenberg, the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor of Social Thought, History, and Romance Languages, and dean of the Division of the Social Sciences, who will begin his new role as executive vice provost starting July 1, 2017.