In an email last Thursday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ announced the creation of a new college, the College of Computing, Data Science and Society, or CDSS.
Approved by the University of California Board of Regents on May 18, CDSS is UC Berkeley’s first new college in 50 years. 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, according to Assistant Dean of Communications for CDSS Tiffany Lohwater.
The requirements for the current students in the major programs set to be moved into CDSS will not be changed. The college is working with L&S and campus administration to plan a smooth transition for students in the coming years and is continuing development of the college, Lohwater noted.
“The development of the first new college at UC Berkeley in more than 50 years reflects a societal shift. 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,” Lohwater said in an email.
Lohwater noted that the college will include the Data Science Undergraduate Studies program, the statistics department, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, the Center for Computational Biology and the Bakar Institute of Digital Materials for the Planet.
According to Lohwater, the college will also share the electrical engineering and computer sciences, or EECS, department with the College of Engineering, the Social Science Data Lab, or D-Lab, with the social sciences division and the Computational Precision Health program with UC San Francisco.
CDSS’s home will be the new “Gateway” building which is being constructed on Hearst Avenue and Arch Street. It is expected to open during the 2025-26 academic year, according to Lohwater.
Lohwater noted that there is a greater need for diversity in perspectives and experiences in computing and data science research. She added that the college plans to support “non-traditional students” in the field.
Lohwater said the college plans to advance the computing, data science and statistics fields by providing resources to students through research and education programs.
The college also plans to support students in professional development, offering career advising and internship placement opportunities.
Lohwater added that one in five undergraduate students on campus take a data science course and that campus expects computer science and data science undergraduate majors to be the highest number of campus graduates this year.
“As a college, Computing, Data Science, and Society will more effectively foster innovative, interdisciplinary research that solves societal problems and educate the diverse, ethical technology leaders of tomorrow,” Lohwater said in the email.