Today the University announced a new interdisciplinary Division of Data Science and Information, which will include the Data Science Major, BIDS, a new Data Science Commons, collaboration with EECS and Statistics, and the School of Information. The new division is being established in direct response to the profound and growing impact of data and computing in a rapidly-evolving digital world. It is intended to harness the university’s leadership to prepare thousands of students and researchers to bring data science to bear in the classroom, the laboratory, and the workplace.
This opportunity will allow the School of Information to remain a key actor in influencing the data science revolution. Joining the division will ensure that it grows in alignment with our mission and interdisciplinary vision, and create greater collaboration among the professional schools and colleges.
The division will be led by an Associate Provost for Data Science and Information. The associate provost will play a key role in coordinating campus activities in the areas of data science and information, both within the division and across the campus. The associate provost will also serve as dean of the I School, after Dean Anno Saxenian steps down in July 2019.
“Berkeley’s powerful research engine, coupled with its deep commitment to equity and diversity, creates a strong bedrock from which to build the future foundations of this fast-changing field while ensuring that its applications and impacts serve to benefit society as a whole,” said Paul Alivisatos, UC Berkeley’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. “The division’s broad scope and its facilitation of new cross-disciplinary work will uniquely position Berkeley to lead in our data-rich age. It will simultaneously allow a new discipline to emerge and strengthen existing ones.”
The I School will remain a separate school, and be part of the portfolio of the associate provost, who will respect and protect the boundaries of the I School and the autonomy it possesses while ensuring that activities within the I School are complementary to and coordinated with all the other programs and activities on campus. The novel, dynamic, and adaptable structure of the division will enable Berkeley faculty and students to work together across boundaries and to explore the foundations, applications, and implications of data science, information, and computation in a way that serves the interests of the public, the campus, and its academic community through a new teaching and discovery environment.
“The opportunities and challenges here are so big and so diverse and it is going to take people with expertise that is as broad as the Berkeley campus to grapple with the many ways data is changing our world,” said Anno Saxenian, Dean of the School of Information.
By playing a critical role in something larger than a single school or department, the I School is eager to bring even greater value to the university, the world and the School of Information itself.