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Jun 3, 2024

New Dean to Lead Berkeley’s School of Information

Eric T. Meyer has been appointed dean of the UC Berkeley School of Information and will begin his new job on Aug. 1. He comes to Berkeley from the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been dean of the School of Information since 2018.

Throughout his career, Dean Meyer has championed interdisciplinary scholarship, effectively bridging gaps between diverse academic fields and uniting researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds. Meyer’s ability to foster interdisciplinary collaboration will be a cornerstone of his leadership as dean of the I School.

“It’s wonderful news for Berkeley,” said Jeff MacKie-Mason, University Librarian and chief digital scholarship officer. MacKie-Mason also is a professor in the School of Information and was on the 10-person search committee for a new dean. 

“He is a distinguished scholar in Internet studies, and he has been a terrifically successful dean of the UT Austin iSchool,” said MacKie-Mason. “He presented the search committee with a compelling vision worthy of Berkeley, and the energy and insights necessary for success.”

An anthropologist at heart, Meyer holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Ohio University and a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from UC Santa Barbara, in addition to a Ph.D. in information science from Indiana University. He plans to spend his first few months at Berkeley being a participant observer to learn what the campus community is about, what values it holds, what kinds of research is important here, and what kind of educational opportunities it offers.

“I don’t have a blueprint that I’m just going to apply, copy and paste,” he said, “because it’s important to understand the Berkeley culture.” 

His vision for the I School is to help Berkeley become a bellwether — a leader that signals what’s to come — on campus, for the general public, and globally.

“I want the public to be able to look to the Berkeley I School for what’s upcoming in the world of information,” he said. “What kinds of topics should they be thinking about? What kinds of innovations should they be understanding? We talk about issues like misinformation and disinformation and the uses of data. …They should be coming to us for that. A bellwether for the community.”

At Berkeley, Meyer said he wants to expand existing collaborations and build new ones, “to use the school’s natural predisposition toward interdisciplinary collaboration to be the partner of choice in new pursuits that involve information, data, computing, AI and all the areas where people interact with information technology.” 

And most importantly, he said, his goal is to be a top school for students at all educational stages and from all backgrounds who want to excel in information professions. 

“DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) has become disparaged in many parts of the country, including Texas,” he said “But to me, it’s all about making an environment where students, faculty and staff can belong and can be celebrated for their differences that we all can learn from and not made to feel like their differences are a barrier to success and belonging.

“I want to be able to use the lessons I’ve learned in a complicated state and from living and working as a globally-minded academic on four continents to make sure that the Berkeley I School truly is a welcoming environment where people can succeed and thrive.”

During his tenure at UT Austin, expanding justice and opportunity was a major priority for Meyer. He emphasizes community engagement and strives to develop innovative, locally relevant solutions. Over the past six years, Meyer and his team of faculty and staff members at the UT Austin iSchool have developed and enhanced academic programs, leading the school to become the first in UT history to transition from offering graduate-only education to providing a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“His dedication to DEI efforts, mentoring, collaborative approach to decision making, and leadership experience at a large public state university distinguished him as the standout candidate for the deanship.”
— Carol T. Christ and Benjamin E. Hermalin

“His dedication to DEI efforts, mentoring, collaborative approach to decision making, and leadership experience at a large public state university distinguished him as the standout candidate for the deanship,” said Chancellor Carol T. Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Benjamin E. Hermalin, in announcing Meyer’s appointment on Monday, June 3.

Meyer’s research focuses on social informatics, integrating insights from social sciences, computing, data science, digital humanities, and information science. His work explores how technology influences knowledge creation across various fields, including science, medicine, social science, arts, and humanities. This is extensively detailed in his 2015 book, co-authored with Ralph Schroeder, Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities (MIT Press).

Meyer will succeed Interim Dean Marti Hearst, who has served in the role for the past academic year and is one of the school’s original faculty members, having joined it in 1997.  

“I am thrilled that the campus has recruited an exceptional, experienced leader and interdisciplinary scholar to take the helm of the I School,” Hearst said. “I am excited to see where Dean Meyer leads us in the coming years, and to be a part of the next stage of growth and impact of our school.”   

Meyer is looking forward to a stimulating, engaged intellectual climate at Berkeley.

“One of the things that’s really attractive about the Bay Area is that there is a long history of questioning, engaging and being able to talk about things and to disagree about important intellectual topics without being disagreeable.” 

And, Meyer admitted, he and his wife Michelle Osborne won’t miss the 110-degree Texas weather in the summer. They are both looking forward to exploring all the arts, culture, and outdoor life that the Bay Area offers.

Media may contact Caitlin Appert, Berkeley I School Director of Communications, at

Last updated:

June 3, 2024