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UC Berkeley Creates its First New College in 50 Years

May 31, 2023

On May 18th, the UC Board of Regents voted to create UC Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), according to Rachel Leven of Berkeley News. This will be the school’s first new college in over 50 years. Prior to the formation of the new college, Computing, Data Science, and Society had been a division of the school since 2019. Since the division’s creation, data science, along with computer science, has become one of the five most popular majors at Berkeley.

According to Leven: “The college will develop, implement and share high-quality, ethics-oriented and accessible curricula, educating a diverse student body in data science, computing and statistics. It will also create new fields, applications and solutions to societal problems through groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research that capitalizes on Berkeley’s excellence across campus.”

The college will house multiple departments, schools, and programs, including the Center for Computational Biology, the Data Science Undergraduate Studies major, the Department of Statistics, and the UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint Program in Computational Precision Health. It will also share the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) with the College of Engineering.

Assistant Dean of Communications for CDSS Tiffany Lohwater shared with The Daily Californian that “the undergraduate majors in computer science, data science and statistics currently housed in the College of Letters and Science, or L&S, are expected to transition into the new college by spring 2024.” Additionally, Lucia Umeki-Martinez notes that Lohwater announced that a new “Gateway” building is being constructed to house CDSS and is “expected to open during the 2025-26 academic year.

According to Teresa Watanabe of The Los Angeles Times, “UC Berkeley says no new state funds will be required; the campus has raised private funds for 14 new faculty positions and about $330 million so far in gifts for the new building.” Furthermore, Watanabe explains that “the campus is seeding data science into community colleges and other institutions to make the field more accessible to a diversity of students, offering a path to high-paying careers.” Before it became a college, the Data Sciences Division also shared its curriculum for free with community colleges, California State University campuses, and other universities. It also has made the curriculum accessible to anyone online for free.

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