When he was a UCLA undergraduate, Scott Waugh talked with his friends about the Middle Ages over lunch.
Now, after more than two decades in administration, Waugh will resume his quest into medieval research.
Waugh, the executive vice chancellor and provost of UCLA, will step down in June and resume his post as a faculty member. Waugh has served as EVC and provost since 2008. Before taking that position, Waugh taught history and was the dean of social sciences for 14 years.
“I have fond memories of everyone I worked with and I will continue, of course, to see people long after I leave,” Waugh said. “I will enjoy those relationships for a long time.”
Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, the vice provost of enrollment management, said Waugh has helped UCLA administration improve students’ experiences with financial aid, classroom space, cocurricular activities and research opportunities.
For example, Waugh has helped oversee the late antiquity, medieval and Renaissance program, which gives graduate students funding and opportunities to discuss their research.
“He has just been fully dedicated as a colleague to helping us think about how do we better deliver on the promise of a UCLA education,” Copeland-Morgan said.
Waugh said he decided to step down to focus on research and publication full-time. He specializes in 13th- and 14th-century English history and plans on continuing a long-term project of his about medieval law and how government impacted local society.
Waugh had tried to continue his medieval history research while serving as EVC. However, with his administrative responsibilities, he did not have the time to write and publish his findings.
“It was relatively easy to do research, (but) it was very difficult to find time or the mental space to do writing,” he said.
History professor Teo Ruiz, as one of the people who bonded with Waugh over medieval history in their undergraduate days, said he is happy Waugh will return to his original field of scholarship.
“Part of me sort of is sad to see that his incredible labor as an administrator, as an academic, as the highest academic officer at the university, is coming to an end,” Ruiz said. “On the other hand, I am delighted that he is returning to history and that he will be able to contribute to the medieval fields in the same ways when he was a professor.”
Copeland-Morgan said she thinks Waugh is well-respected for the work he has done as EVC.
“Even when he is critical of a popular position, he is always thoughtful, always respectful, always supportive,” Copeland-Morgan said.
Waugh said that, during his time as EVC, what he enjoyed the most was being able to foster relationships with the people on campus. Copeland-Morgan said she will miss Waugh, and Ruiz said he is excited to see how Waugh will further the historical community with his research.