Letter from the Dean 

Where fields intersect 

As a member of the University of Chicago community for nearly 25 years—as a faculty member, a department chair, a deputy dean, and now as interim dean—I see daily examples of our faculty, students, alumni transforming the social sciences through their research, studies, and careers. Across the disciplines, we are known for exceptional strengths in statistical methods and formal modeling, social theory, and scientific reasoning. This combination distinguishes us as a preeminent leader in research and education known for yielding carefully reasoned and empirically supported findings.

This issue of Dialogo explores the intersection of law and the social sciences through the work of faculty members across the division, each of whom approaches systems of law within the context of a distinct research program but together demonstrate the compelling ways that law is incorporated into social science research and practice. Jessica Bregant, a doctoral student in psychology, and Ajay Methrotra, PhD ’03, are further shaping the ways in which law and social science interact.

As you’ll see in other stories in this issue, we have welcomed 12 new faculty members to the division this fall, bringing our total to 201. These scholars reflect the diversity of our disciplines and interests, and I invite you to learn more about each of them. And we are celebrating the work of John T. Cacioppo, The Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychology, by awarding him with the Phoenix Prize, the division’s highest honor.

Also, we are sharing an early glimpse of the new Social Science Research Center (SSRC). Located on the second floor of McGiffert House (just above the Seminary Co-op Bookstore and Plein Air Café), the facility will provide nearly 6,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research space and facilities to enable faculty across the Division to develop and pursue new research ideas. The SSRC, slated to officially open later this fall, will foster team-based and multi-method collaborative approaches to understanding complex social problems. Through this exciting addition to our resources, we are addressing the rapidly evolving, and growing needs for research infrastructure that exist across the social sciences and enable us to respond flexibly to new opportunities. 

These, and the many other stories on these pages, illustrate that our legacy of leadership is thriving through the work of today’s social scientists. Our priorities for this academic year are rooted in the enduring academic missions of the division, the scholarly work of our faculty and students, and pedagogy across graduate programs and the College. I invite you to stay in touch with our most recent news through our website and social media channels.

Amanda Woodward
William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology
Interim Dean, Division of the Social Sciences