An “Genius Grant” recipient Carol Padden has been named the Dean of Social Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. She is best known as an ASL (American Sign Language) linguist that has stood behind ASL by doing research on the legitimacy of our language. The Genius Grant is the MacArthur Fellows Program that awards unrestricted fellowships to individuals that “have shown extraordinary originality and dediation to their creative pursuits and marked capacity for self-direction” (Macarthur Foundation). Each nominee is reviewed and are usually the most creative people known within their field and beyond.

The Times of San Diego interviewed Carol about her appointment and here is what she had to say.
“I’m honored and pleased to be asked to be a part of its future,” Padden said. “The division is made up of exciting, highly original and innovative departments, each by itself. Collectively, they comprise among the best of social-science departments in the country.”

Carol Padden got her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Linguistics and proceeded to work as a faculty member for the Communications Department since 1983. Her extracurricular activities are impressive which includes serving as University of California in San Diego’s interim vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion.

Many faculty members are very excited about her appointment and believe she is the right person to lead the vision of the university, “I can think of no better collaborator than Carol Padden to help advance UC San Diego’s vision of being a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

With her research focused on language, communication, and culture; she has been very involved with the study of sign languages including American Sign Language. Some of her focused areas are on how human languages are expressed in vision and/or sound. Her language interest has gone in various directions over time. Her attention has recently shifted to observing new languages being developed right before her eyes during social and cultural events. This is different than focusing on ASL because the language itself is mostly developed.

Assortment of photos from her website. Accessed 6/18/2014.

What better way to explain Carol and her background than to have her explain it herself? Here’s an initial summary.

From Carol Padden’s Website. Accessed 6/18/2014.

As somebody that has been working with linguistic development for 30 plus years, Carol is an excellent individual to lead the Social Sciences department. This is a big accomplishment for Carol. The community is also inspired to see somebody that believes strongly in American Sign Language heading a department at a major university. The community knows she will lead UCSD’s Social Sciences Department with excellence! Congratulations on your appointment, Carol!