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Greetings from Jeff Elman, Acting Dean

A professor's relationship with a student is usually limited to the 10 weeks she or he spends taking the professor's course. In smaller classes, faculty may get to know individual students fairly well; in larger classes, the acquaintance is more limited. But in either case, once the student leaves the classroom, most professors typically don't get the opportunity to see their students again or know how that brief time that their lives intersected may have impacted their students. For a graduate student, the relationship runs deeper as the faculty member may also play the role of advisor, but for the thousands of undergraduate students who have crossed their paths, the relationship may end after finals week. This is one of the frustrating aspects of being a teacher. You have many "children" but only occasionally find out how they've done once they've left the campus nest.

I feel fortunate in that, over the last few months, I have had the chance to reconnect with many former students from the Cognitive Science department, where I teach. I have also met dozens more from other departments within Social Sciences. These meetings are part of the division's effort to reengage with its alumni. There is a fundraising aspect to these visits, because we hope to increase alumni support. But the motivation for this reengagement is deeper: We also want to learn how our alumni are using their degrees, what their experience was like at UCSD, and what we could be doing better to prepare current students for life after college. Our visits have spanned the country, and the response, I am happy to report, has been enthusiastic.

I am impressed and humbled by the success of our alumni. It is personally gratifying to me to know that I played a small role in shaping these young minds. I return to UCSD after such visits and share with my colleagues the stories of these incredible people who once graced this campus. I can see the pride in their eyes and the renewed enthusiasm they have for teaching.

Consider visiting the campus the next time you are in San Diego, or stay connected through your local chapter of the Alumni Association. Alumni events are great networking opportunities and another mechanism to keep in touch with former classmates and faculty. We think you will appreciate seeing the exciting things that are happening on the campus, after you've left. And we will certainly appreciate hearing from you.

Social Sciences News

Museum of Man to host "Journey to the Copper Age" exhibit based on an expedition led by anthropologist Thomas Levy.

Cognitive Neuroscientist, Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, is "changing minds about the brain" with his revolutionary research.

Do birds of a feather always flock together? New research by James Goodson, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience identifies "sociality" neurons.

Exploring how humans learn: An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the new Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center seeks to clarify the importance of time in learning.

Is beauty all in your mind? A new study led by psychologist Piotr Winkielman suggests that judgments of attractiveness depend on mental processing ease.

Upcoming Events

Social Sciences Supper Club, January 31, 2007 — Richard C. Atkinson, President Emeritus of the University of California, presents "Prop 209: Ten Years Later"; 5:30 p.m.; Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club; $65 includes presentation, dinner and parking.

Economics Roundtable, February 21 — Eli Berman, UCSD professor of Economics, will be speaking on "Terrorism, Economics and Religion"; 7:30-9 a.m.; Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club; $50 fee includes parking and Continental breakfast. For more info or to register, call (858) 822-0510 or email

Recent Gifts

Thanks to a $250,000 leadership gift from Ken Kroner, Ph.D. '88, our effort to establish an endowed chair in the Department of Economics in honor of UCSD Professor Emeritus Robert F. Engle, is well on its way. Kroner, who is managing director of Asset Allocation Research at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco, credits a lot of his success to Engle, a 2003 Nobel Laureate who served as his Ph.D. advisor. He, and his wife Jennifer, made the gift as a way to thank and honor Engle.

An additional $250,000 is needed to fully fund the proposed chair, which once established, will help attract key senior faculty to the department. UCSD is currently ranked 2nd nationally in Econometrics, and an endowed chair in the field will further strengthen this position. For more information on how you can help honor Engle and establish this chair, please call the Economics department's development officer, Michelle Glenn, at (858) 822-0805.

Two graduate students in the Department of Communication have been the recipients of $2,400 fellowships this fall thanks to a gift from Alan Mannason. The fellowship fund was established by Mannason in 2004 as way to maintain a relationship between his two granddaughters—who are first cousins and graduates of UCSD—and teach them the importance of philanthropy, especially in the form of fellowships or scholarships. Both granddaughters selected which department the fellowship fund would be designated for and they also help choose the award recipients each fall.

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