UC Berkeley offers a university for computer science and data science
For the first time in more than 50 years, UC Berkeley could open another college — one for the Campus Division of Computing, Data Science and Society, or CDSS.
According to a December 2021 article from the division’s news page, the on-campus data science major was formed in 2018, as was CDSS. The division’s current assistant dean for communications, Tiffany Lohwater, said plans have begun for the division to become a college in 2020.
“Research and teaching in computer science and data science has evolved rapidly over the past decade, with increased interest from faculty and students on the UC Berkeley campus,” Lohwater said in a statement. E-mail. “For example, one in five undergraduate students at Berkeley now takes a data science course each year.”
The process began with the development of a “pre-proposal” which drew on the work and feedback of faculty, staff and students. The pre-proposal was then submitted to campus Academic Senate Committees, which provided feedback to Campus Chancellor Carol Christ and the CDSS.
The proposal includes plans for the university’s steps to achieve the college’s mission and responses to comments and perspectives from multiple campus stakeholders.
After approval by the Campus Academic Senate and supported by Chancellor Christ, the finalized proposal awaits approval from the Office of the UC President and then the UC Regents. The approval process could be completed next year, Lohwater added.
Becoming a college would allow CDSS to have additional control over its curriculum, admissions and enrollment, and form partnerships and fundraising opportunities between campus departments and other universities, according to the article.
The college would be the first new college or school on campus since the founding of the School of Journalism and the School of Public Policy in the 1960s, according to Lohwater.
Lohwater noted the similarities between the 1960s and the modern era — both times saw changes in higher education as “social upheaval” took place across the country.
“We are again in a time of critical change,” Lohwater said in the email. “Our lives and our society are being changed by computing and data science: the platforms on which we innovate, communicate, transact, make decisions and allocate resources.”
Part of the college’s mission is to develop the so-called “tools of tomorrow” by training computer and data scientists with ethical and social outcomes in mind, Lohwater said.
The college will also seek to find applications for these tools in many fields, Lohwater added, such as biology, medicine, and physical and social sciences.
“Computer science and data science is for everyone, and society will benefit from graduates at all levels with the skills the proposed college will produce,” Lohwater said in the email. “We need diverse perspectives, experiences and expertise to ensure that research and applications represent the needs and interests of society.”
Contact Sébastien Cahill at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahill1.