Message from the Dean

Man with red tie and dark blue suit

Welcome to the College of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS)! My name is René Vellanoweth, and I’m the dean of NSS. I am an archaeologist by training and have been part of the California State University System for over 20 years, serving as a professor, department chair, and now college dean. The College has twelve diverse departments and programs, over 150 talented tenured and tenure-track faculty, scores of gifted adjunct lecturers, and an incredible staff. We serve almost 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students pursuing their career goals and personal dreams. 
It is my honor to lead the College I graduated from many years ago. Cal State LA has been home to me and my family, spanning three generations and over 60 years. In fact, after tropical storm Hilary pelted southern California with wind and rain, my grandnephew, Carlos, began classes along with thousands of other first-year, transfer, and continuing students. I’m so happy that he chose to continue our family’s legacy at Cal State LA, and I wish him and all our students the best of luck over the coming year and beyond. 

Cal State LA is where dreams are realized, goals are met, and lifelong friendships are made. Ranked as the top university in the nation in terms of economic mobility, our students represent the future of California. When our students graduate, they are equipped with the tools to tackle the world’s challenges and seek its greatest opportunities. 

The dedicated NSS faculty and staff are committed to helping students succeed, and the fruits of their labor can be seen in our rankings, success stories, and on all the smiling faces at commencement. Throughout this year, I will continue to do my best to ensure that we have adequate space and resources to fulfill the promise of higher education, that our faculty have the time and energy to inspire and train students, and that students have a fulfilling college experience both in and outside of the classroom.  

So, let’s work together this year to make ourselves, our campus, and our community even better. Here’s to a fantastic year ahead! Go Golden Eagles!   


René Vellanoweth, Ph.D.

Dean and Professor of Archaeology