Jon Gould is named dean of UCI’s School of Social Ecology

Leading justice scholar brings years of higher ed, federal government achievement to post

Jon Gould, a distinguished scholar in justice policy, social change and government reform who has held key positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Science Foundation, will become the new dean of the School of Social Ecology, following a nationwide search. He will assume the post on Jan. 1, 2022.

At UCI, Gould will lead the nation’s first school of social ecology, established in 1970 in response to high demand for more socially relevant research. For more than 50 years, the school has been an internationally recognized pioneer in developing interdisciplinary approaches to social problems. Its highly ranked faculty in criminology, law & society; urban planning & public policy; and psychological science engage in research and education to foster informed social action and make the world a better place.

“Our innovative and impactful School of Social Ecology is central to our ability to fulfill our public mission of solving the great challenges of our time, and it’s vital that it have an accomplished and visionary leader at its helm,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Jon Gould is just such a leader, and we are thrilled to have him join our efforts as we create a more brilliant future across our region and around the world.”

Hal Stern, UCI’s provost and executive vice chancellor, said: “Jon Gould is a proven leader and an accomplished scholar who is well-equipped to guide the School of Social Ecology into the future. He is committed to fostering an inclusive environment and encouraging interdisciplinary research collaborations focused on addressing society’s challenges.”

Gould currently serves as Foundation Professor and director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. In this role, he is responsible for program content, recruitment, budget, strategic planning, community outreach and human resources. Under his leadership since early 2020, the school has increased enrollment and faculty recruitment and has introduced new initiatives, including a Diverse Perspectives on Justice speaker series, a master’s program and six certificate programs.

“Becoming dean of UCI’s School of Social Ecology has been my ‘dream opportunity’ for many years,” Gould said. “UCI opens doors and allows students to soar, and the collective talents of the school are simply unparalleled. I am deeply committed to translating academic research for public use and want to ensure that higher education is relevant, accessible and impactful. This is exactly the moment in which science can drive solutions, and I cannot wait to join the UCI community.”

Prior to ASU, he was the inaugural director of the Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research and chair of the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology at American University from 2011 to 2019. From 1999 to 2010, he was a professor and director of the Center for Justice, Law & Society at George Mason University. He earned a master’s degree in public policy and a law degree at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in political science at The University of Chicago.

A world-renowned expert on justice policy, social change and government reform, Gould was the principal investigator for the Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project, a multiyear research initiative funded by the National Institute of Justice. He is the author of five books and more than 100 articles and reports on such diverse subjects as erroneous convictions, indigent defense, prosecutorial innovation, police behavior, hate speech, sexual harassment and international human rights.

Gould has filled a range of government leadership roles, including senior policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Justice and director of the Law & Social Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation. In 2015, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts appointed him as reporter for a committee of the federal courts evaluating the operation of the Criminal Justice Act. Gould is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a former U.S. Supreme Court Fellow and a former trustee of the Law & Society Association. He received the Administration of Justice Award from the U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association in 2017.