Office of the Chancellor

May 8 - Dan Stokols

Section 1

Dan Stokols

Dan Stokols

Dan Stokols is Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Psychological Science and Urban Planning and Public Policy and served as Director of UCI’s Program in Social Ecology and Founding Dean of the School of Social Ecology from 1988-98.  He holds a joint appointment in the Program in Public Health and is a faculty associate of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

Dan’s arrival at UCI after completing his Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of North Carolina in 1973 was an improbable event.  His faculty advisors at UNC preferred that he accept a job offer from a large psychology department at a more established university, and he was about to do just. But that all changed when he received a call in March 1973 from UCI Professor Arnold Binder, founding director of the Social Ecology Program, and his colleague, Ralph Catalano, inviting Dan to come to UCI for a job interview.  Dan was surprised to receive their call because he had not applied for a job at UCI.  In the early days of the campus, faculty recruitment strategies were perhaps less orthodox than today. Apparently, Catalano had read an article by Dan on human response to crowding and suggested to Binder that he might be a good fit with the Social Ecology Program.  Dan decided to make the trip to Irvine to find out more about Social Ecology because he was intrigued by the interdisciplinary mission of the Program.  After visiting UCI, which was just eight years old at the time, and meeting with the faculty in Social Ecology, Dan was “hooked “and decided that if he received an offer from UCI, that’s where he wanted to begin his academic career.  He figured that if things didn’t work out in Irvine, he could always move to a more traditional psychology department at another university later on.  That was 45 years ago and Dan has been on the UCI faculty ever since.

Joining UCI after completing his graduate studies proved to be a fortuitous opportunity for Dan.  He has been able to pursue a wide range of research topics, from environmental psychology and urban stress linked to traffic congestion, population density, and airport noise, to the social ecology of health promotion, transdisciplinary public health, and the science of team science.  He also was fortunate to collaborate with colleagues from several different fields on research projects, and help build the nation’s first School of Social Ecology dedicated to interdisciplinary, ecologically-grounded scholarship and the translation of research into societal problem-solving strategies.  This year, with support from Office of Research, Dan and faculty colleagues launched the Team Science Acceleration Lab aimed at improving the effectiveness of cross-disciplinary initiatives on campus.

Dan has taught courses on environmental psychology, group dynamics, social ecology, strategies of theory development, and environmental design research methods.  His most recent book, Social Ecology in the Digital Age (Academic Press 2018), sketches the historical foundations of social ecology and offers a new theoretical framework highlighting the combined influence of people’s natural, built, sociocultural, and virtual environments on health, behavior, and global sustainability.  He is also coauthor of Behavior, Health, and Environmental Stress (1986), the National Academy of Sciences report on Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science (2015), editor of Perspectives on Environment and Behavior (1977), and coeditor of the Handbook of Environmental Psychology (1987), Environmental Simulation (1993), and Promoting Human Wellness (2002).  Dan has served as consultant to the National Academies of Sciences, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, W.M. Keck and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, and several community organizations.  Dan has received career recognition awards from the Environmental Design Research Association, the American Psychological Association’s Division of Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology, and the Association for the Science of Team Science.  He is also recipient of UCI’s Lauds & Laurels Faculty Achievement Award and the School of Social Ecology Founder’s Award.  Dan enjoys music and for many years played keyboards in the Butler Street Blues Band with UCI colleagues and students.