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University of Maryland Names Dr. Susan Rivera Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences


Media Relations

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland has named Susan Rivera dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), effective August 1, 2022. As dean, Rivera will promote a culture of impactful research and scholarship, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships, and advocate persuasively for BSOS’s programs both within and beyond the campus community. Rivera will work with faculty, staff and students to articulate a vision for the contributions BSOS will make to the fulfillment of the university’s mission and new strategic plan.

“Dr. Rivera’s commitment to academic excellence and creating a diverse and inclusive culture, and her focus on collaborative cross-disciplinary work, will be a tremendous asset to the University of Maryland and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice. “I have the utmost confidence in her leadership and exemplary scholarship.”

Dr. Rivera joins Maryland from the University of California, Davis, where she serves as chair and professor in the Department of Psychology. As chair, she has maintained a focus on building and sustaining an inclusive and supportive departmental climate and successfully both retained and hired new faculty under a framework of inclusive excellence. Under her leadership, the department’s U.S. News and World Report’s rankings rose from No. 26 to No. 12 overall, and to No. 6 among public institutions.

“I am confident that my 20+ years of experience at a leading public research institution have equipped me with an enhanced understanding of the mission and purpose of a public research university. As a first generation Latinx scholar, I am especially mindful of the important role played by higher education in supporting the success of the next generation of leaders,” said Rivera. “As dean of a large and thriving college, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to positively impact a broad range of students, staff and faculty.”

In addition to her academic appointment in the Department of Psychology, Dr. Rivera is an affiliate faculty with the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, which seeks to understand the function of the human brain in health and in illness. She also is a faculty member in the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and a member of the MIND Institute. Dr. Rivera’s research is focused on investigating neurocognitive development in both typically and atypically developing individuals, specifically those with fragile X syndrome, autism and Down syndrome.

Dr. Rivera serves as a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Cognitive Development Society, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Jean Piaget Society and the Society for Neuroscience. She is the recipient of UC Davis’ Dean's Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity and, in 2021, was appointed to a 3-year term on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. She also serves as editor-in-chief for the journal Human Development.

She holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in psychology from Indiana University.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland (UMD) is the state's flagship university and a leading public research institution, propelled by a $1.3 billion joint research enterprise. Located four miles from Washington, D.C., the university is dedicated to addressing the grand challenges of our time and is the nation's first Do Good campus. It is driven by a diverse and proudly inclusive community of more than 50,000 fearless Terrapins. UMD is a top producer of Fulbright scholars and offers an unparalleled student experience with more than 300 academic programs, 25 living-learning programs and 400 study abroad programs. Spurred by a culture of innovation and creativity, UMD faculty are global leaders in their field and include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and members of the national academies. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit



Areas of Expertise:

Behavioral Sciences

Colleges and Schools:

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

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