A Distinguished Faculty

Faculty of Distinction walking at Commencement
As a member of the American Association of Universities, UC Santa Barbara is renowned as a research university with an outstanding faculty. The College of Letters and Science, the largest center of teaching, learning and research on the campus, has a distinguished faculty of scientists, scholars, and artists, many of whom have been recognized nationally and internationally for their excellence. An advantageous ratio of faculty to graduate students offers these students possibilities to work closely with faculty mentors.
Notable Faculty Honors
  • The National Humanities Medal, awarded to the late Professor Luis Leal in 1997, and the National Medal of Science, awarded to professor and Nobel laureate Walter Kohn in 1988. 
  • Current and emeriti professors in the College’s highly-ranked science departments are elected members of the National Academy of Sciences, as are many of UCSB’s fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 
  • The College’s faculty includes several Guggenheim fellows, which are prestigious fellowships designated for  exceptional scholarship or creative ability in the arts.
  • Faculty members designated Fulbright Scholars lecture and perform research in countries around the world, in addition to faculty whom host visiting Fulbright Scholars engaged in their own research at UC Santa Barbara.

Outstanding Junior Faculty

Our junior faculty are consistently recognized for their excellence. In the sciences, junior faculty investigators have active Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards—the National Science Foundation’s important grant to professors considered most likely to become academic leaders. The campus ranks in the top 15 in the country in number of faculty who receive CAREER awards and prestigious Sloan research fellowships— an especially notable achievement, considering that UCSB has fewer assistant professors than other highly rated schools.

Prestigious Grants and Fellowships for Research 

Faculty across the disciplines acquire competitive sources of research funding as with grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. UCSB is an invited member of the ACLS Academic Research Consortium, in recognition of the number of faculty who have received ACLS fellowships. Our faculty also receive support from private philanthropists, particularly for endowed chairs, which allow for the recruitment of the highest-caliber faculty in specialized areas. There are over 40 endowed chairs in the College of Letters and Science.