UC Santa Cruz names Peter F. Biehl as new vice provost, dean of the Graduate Division

Biehl has served in numerous leadership roles at the University at Buffalo

Portrait of Peter Biehl
Peter Biehl previously served as associate dean for International Education and Enrollment in University at Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences.

UC Santa Cruz has appointed Peter F. Biehl, professor of anthropology at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY), as vice provost and dean of the Graduate Division.

Biehl, who will start July 1, has held numerous leadership positions at the University at Buffalo in support of graduate education and international education.

He is currently working in the Office of the Provost at UB to enhance the national and international recognition of the university’s faculty, a project that is supported by a fellowship from the American Council on Education.

“Our university will greatly benefit from Biehl’s perspective and expertise,” said Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer in campus announcement.

Strengthening the graduate experience at UC Santa Cruz continues to be a top priority for graduate students, faculty, and administrators, Kletzer said. The recent recommendations from the Joint Senate-Administration Working Group on Graduate Education, under review by Chancellor Cynthia Larive and Kletzer, provides the campus with a common framework for what is needed to support the success of students and strengthen the overall graduate enterprise.

Selecting a new dean and vice provost for Graduate Studies marks another step forward, Kletzer said.

“Graduate students make essential contributions to our mission by creating new knowledge and ideas and contributing to the education of undergraduates,” she said. “I believe Biehl is well positioned to further advance our Graduate Division and strengthen our support for our graduate students in their academic journey and professional development.”

Biehl previously served as associate dean for International Education and Enrollment in University at Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences, working closely with the dean to set strategic directions for the international graduate education programs and initiatives in the college’s 29 academic departments.

“I am thrilled to join the dynamic leadership team and exceptional faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students at UC Santa Cruz and look forward to working collaboratively to provide world-class learning and research experiences and professional development training for graduate students,” Biehl said. "When I think about my life, I am always reminded of the life-changing effect my graduate years had on me. It was a time of enormous growth, during which I encountered innovative scholarship, met electrifying thinkers and developed personally. Now, I want to give back by fostering transformative graduate experiences and by creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for graduate students across disciplines, and particularly for students from traditionally underrepresented groups. That includes making sure students are both heard and appreciated. I can’t think of a better place to foster a thriving graduate community than at an outstanding institution like UCSC and look forward to initiating these important conversations.”

Biehl’s research interests include climate change in the past and present, material culture, museums and heritage. He is the author or co-editor of 10 books and more than 120 articles, book chapters and exhibitions. He serves as the director of the Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology, the Marian E. White Anthropology Research Museum, and the critical museum studies master’s program. A first generation college student, Biehl earned his Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in archaeology from the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Biehl will succeed Quentin Williams, Professor of Earth and Planetary Science, who has led the Division of Graduate Studies since June 2019.

Biehl spent four years at UC Berkeley doing his postdoc and is excited to join the Santa Cruz community with his family, including his wife, Jody, a journalist, professor of English and native Californian, their teenaged children, Leo and Olivia, and two dogs, Zeus and Lola.