UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science and Society adds 4 associate deans to aid in mission

UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science and Society has nominated four associate deans.

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UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science and Society, or CDSS, nominated four associate deans with the purpose of diversifying leadership and strengthening the division’s outreach.

The nominations include Charis Thompson as associate dean for campus partnerships, Catherine Choy as associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice, Armando Fox as associate dean of online programs and John DeNero as associate dean of undergraduate studies, according to Tiffany Lohwater, chief communications officer for CDSS in an email.

Kathy Yelick, CDSS’s former associate dean for research, will also transition from her previous role, becoming the new executive associate dean, Lohwater noted.

The leadership will be crucial in forming campus partnerships and using computing and data science to find solutions to the critical and challenging issues faced by society, according to Jennifer Chayes, associate provost for CDSS.

“UC Berkeley is only ever as strong as its partners, and that includes our community partners but also our students, staff and faculty,” Thompson said. “We have certain units that are formally within data sciences, statistics, electrical engineering and various other units, but we want the other parts of campus to be strongly represented.”

Thompson noted that her job as associate dean for campus partnerships will be to make connections with all the departments relating to the social sciences and humanities, as well as the professional schools across campus.

The vision is to have a division that “genuinely serves” people, taking excellence from all corners of campus, Thompson added. The division aims to pioneer the data sciences in a way that keeps social problems and data first and foremost always.

“I think we have one of the best data science programs in the country, if not the world,”  Fox said.

According to Fox, there are two reasons why the programs should be put online. Fox said learners who are unable to come to campus should have access to the materials and exercises developed by the campus’s data science pedagogy. He added that there is also an opportunity to raise revenue from industry professionals interested in acquiring or “leveling up” these skills.

As associate dean for online education, Fox said he will use his experience in helping UC Berkeley form its relationship with edX, a nonprofit platform that allows universities to host open online courses, as well as his expertise as a computer scientist to expand campus’s outreach in the field of data science.

Choy, who will serve as associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice, is a campus professor of ethnic studies and had previously chaired the campus ethnic studies department for several years, according to Lohwater.

DeNero, who will serve as associate dean of undergraduate studies, is a campus associate professor in the electrical engineering and computer sciences, or EECS, department, won several awards for his teaching and previously served as vice chair for Undergraduate Matters in the EECS and computer science departments, Lohwater said in an email.

Contact Ryan Teoh at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @RyanTeoh001.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Armando Fox has a relationship with edX and may have implied that CDSS has definitively committed to working with edX. In fact, UC Berkeley has a relationship with edX, and CDSS is in discussion with multiple possible partners for its online education program.