Laura E. Gómez was appointed Interim Dean of the UCLA College’s Division of Social Sciences in June 2016. She is a professor at UCLA School of Law, where she served as Vice Dean from 2013 to 2015. She holds zero-percent appointments in two Social Sciences departments: Sociology and Chicana/Chicano Studies. She was the co-founder and the first co-director of the UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Program. She began teaching at UCLA in 1994.
In order to raise her son near his grandparents, she joined the University of New Mexico faculty in 2005, where she held a 75 percent appointment in law and a 25 percent appointment in American studies. She returned to UCLA in 2011.
Gómez’s research spans the fields of law and society, critical race theory and the sociology of race, and her articles have appeared in journals including the Law & Society Review and the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. She is the author of three books: Misconceiving Mothers: Legislators, Prosecutors and the Politics of Prenatal Drug Exposure (1997) and Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race (2007), and Mapping “Race”: Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research (2013, co-edited with Nancy López). Her courses have included constitutional law, criminal law, civil procedure, race and American law, and law and society.
Gómez has held numerous management and leadership positions at UCLA and elsewhere. She is past president of the Law and Society Association, an international, interdisciplinary scholarly association. She has served on the faculty advisory boards for the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women as well as numerous university committees. She recently served on the committee of visitors for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Social and Economic Sciences and has been a reviewer for the NSF’s Law and Social Science Program.
Gómez received an A.B. from Harvard in Social Studies, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University. Prior to beginning her academic career, she worked on Capitol Hill for Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and as a law clerk to Judge Dorothy W. Nelson on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has held residential fellowships at the Stanford Humanities Center and at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. She has been a principal investigator on NIH and NSF grants. Her honors include a Truman Scholarship (1984), an NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship (1987) and recognition as one of Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Most Influential Latinos of 2011.