Tsu-Jae King Liu appointed dean of UC Berkeley College of Engineering

Tsu-Jae King Liu/Courtesy

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Effective July 1, Tsu-Jae King Liu, the current campus vice provost for academic and space planning, will assume the role of dean of the campus College of Engineeringthe first woman to do so in the college’s 87-year history.

Liu will replace current Dean Shankar Sastry, who announced his resignation in October. Chancellor Carol Christ announced Liu’s appointment in a campuswide email sent Tuesday. Christ said Liu has “maintained a steadfast commitment to excellence in teaching” and increasing access to engineering disciplines for women and underrepresented minorities.

Liu said her goals as dean include fostering an inclusive environment in the college, continuing to increase resources to support Berkeley engineering and collaborating with other parts of campus.

“I think this is a time when we can transform the culture within the college to be more appreciative of diversity,” Liu said. “It is important to make sure that diverse members of our community feel they belong and have adequate support to reach their full potential.”

Liu, who holds the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Distinguished Professorship in Microelectronics, has been a UC Berkeley faculty member for nearly 22 years. She has assumed multiple leadership roles within the college, including associate dean for research from 2008 to 2012, chair of the electrical engineering division from 2012 to 2016 and associate dean for academic planning and development from July through September 2016.

Civil and environmental engineering professor and Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion Kara Nelson was a member of the search committee and said she is “thrilled” with Liu’s selection. Nelson added that she looks forward to Liu’s leadership in areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“She brings a tremendous amount of experience in demonstrating leadership and achieving gender representation in the technology sector,” Nelson said.

Liu co-founded a program called the Women in Technology Initiative for the UC. Liu said the initiative is working to create new programs to support women in technology, such as a course for engineering students who would like to improve communication and presentation skills.

“We welcome anyone in the college who wants to improve their communication skills, but this is something women in particular need to learn,” Liu said. “Their ideas are often not heard or only heard after a man reiterates them.”  

As a researcher, Liu has authored or co-authored more than 500 publications and holds 95 patents in the field of integrated-circuit devices and technologies. She has been awarded many honors for her research, including the Semiconductor Industry Association’s University Research Award. Liu is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Sastry said in an email that Liu’s appointment is “wonderful news for Berkeley Engineering and the campus.” Sastry added that beginning July 1, he will return to a teaching position, which he said is his most “cherished” role on campus.

“I am very delighted to see that when my deanship concludes on June 30, I will be leaving the College in excellent hands,” Sastry said in an email. “(Liu’s) combination of research, administrative and industry experience makes her very strongly qualified to take the helm of this College.”

Amanda Bradford covers academics and administration. Contact Amanda Bradford at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.