CDSS Associate Dean Oliver O’Reilly Awarded the 2021 Berkeley Faculty Service Award

December 10, 2020

Oliver O’Reilly, Computing, Data Science, and Society’s (CDSS) Associate Dean for Graduate Education and professor of Mechanical Engineering, has received the 2021 Berkeley Faculty Service Award. Alice Agogino, the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Chair in Mechanical Engineering, was also given the award. 

The Berkeley Faculty Service Award recognizes members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate each year for their “outstanding and dedicated service to the campus, and whose activities as faculty members have significantly enhanced the quality of the campus as an educational institution and community of scholars.” The award was created to acknowledge the recipient’s commitment to the Academic Senate, “which is essential to the idea of shared governance, and contributions that have had a lasting and significant impact on the excellence of the Berkeley campus.” 

O’Reilly was cited for his “distinguished record of service to the Academic Senate, which exemplifies the meaning of the award,” said Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, professor of Demography and Sociology and Division Chair. 

O’Reilly joined the Berkeley faculty in Mechanical Engineering in 1992. Oliver has an extraordinary record of serving in the Academic Senate since 1999. Over the last two decades, his dedicated, thoughtful commitment, varied contributions, and robust leadership have made a decisive difference for the welfare and intellectual pursuit of our community. 

He has served on multiple Senate-Administration Task Forces. Oliver chaired the Student Information Systems (SIS) Faculty Advisory Committee in 2016-18 and the Committee on Special Scholarships in 1999-2001. In 2007-2008, he co-chaired the Committee on Teaching as well as the Joint Administration-Senate Task Force on Teaching Evaluations. He was elected multiple times into the Divisional Council (2008-2010, 2013-15), and he served as a member in a wide range of other committees, boards, and task-forces including the KALX Radio Policy Advisory Board, the Graduate Student Instructor Teaching and Mentoring Task Force, the Steering Committee of the Center for Faculty Leadership and Outreach, the Reading and Composition Task Force, and the College of Letters & Sciences Advisory Board for College Writing Program. Simply put, as one of his nomination letters put, “few on our campus have served our students so extensively, and fewer still have served so well.”

In the 2019 - 2020 Academic Year, he served as the Chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate and as the Vice-Chair from 2018-19.  As Chair of the Berkeley Division, he confronted the double challenge of rampant wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. He demonstrated unwavering leadership, providing swift responses and effective guidance on instruction planning, medical precautions, and adjusted grading policy. He played a key role after the campus shut down in March 2020 by coordinating the campus efforts to implement, manage, and improve the delivery of remote instruction. He was also critical in efforts over the summer to establish training programs and mechanisms for faculty, GSIs, and undergraduates concerning online teaching and learning. His spirited resilience and positive “can-do” attitude shone forth and helped us all rise to challenge after challenge, maintaining our continual pursuit of success on the solid foundation of public health and safety.

Even more to his credit, Professor O’Reilly co-created and co-chaired the 150W History Project, his signature initiative in celebrating the remarkable women from the UC campuses over the past 150 years. He shows us how reflection on the past informs an inspiring future. In that spirit, we commend his invaluable contributions to the Academic Senate as a role model for future generations.

In Fall 2019, he joined the CDSS leadership team as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies to lead the strategic planning to create a graduate program for CDSS to further expand the reach of data science research at Berkeley.  

Link to Academic Senate article