On July 1, 2016, Professor Paul D. Hastings was appointed to serve as Interim Dean of the School of Education after the retirement of Founding Dean Harold Levine.
Hastings stepped down from his position as Chair of the UC Davis Psychology Department to assist the School of Education in its transition to a permanent dean after Founding Dean Levine’s 15-year tenure. “The School of Education is a top-notch academic and professional institution that deserves and needs a world-class dean,” said Hastings. “My goal is to help the School leverage its resources so that it will be in the best possible position to recruit an outstanding candidate. I’m really very humbled to follow Dean Levine, the Founding Dean, in this position. His mark on the university is indelible. He’s left big shoes to fill and I hope that I can help the School find a new dean who can live up to his legacy.”
Hastings has interfaced with the field of education throughout his career. A developmental psychologist, his focus has been on understanding children’s social-emotional development in the context of their everyday lives. “A large component of my work has been researching how children become ready for the social context of being in preschool, kindergarten and elementary school,” he said. “I study how the learning experiences and biological preparedness that make them able to get along well with others—which is essential to being able to learn—translate into the classroom. Working with teachers and schools has always been a component of my research, and I’m excited to learn more about the educational side of that element during my time as the Interim Dean.”
The field of education has a key role to play in California’s future, according to Hastings. “In the rapidly changing society of California, with new technologies, growing diversity, and considerable challenges around income and access to opportunity, education stands as a critically important field for addressing the breadth of our state’s needs and providing the best chances for our children, youth and adults to thrive,” he said. “And the School of Education is positioned to lead the way.”