May 26, 2017

David CullerProfessor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences David Culler has been named as Interim Dean for the newly created Division of Data Sciences. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2017. Please see below for the full announcement, which was sent to the campus community on May 26 by Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ.

Professor Culler’s appointment enables the campus to further solidify its position at the forefront of data science research and education. The Division is being created to deepen the university’s multidisciplinary strengths in this area and integrate them, supporting and accelerating data science transformations now underway.  The University's commitment to charting a new path forward has been made possible through the momentum of dedicated faculty throughout campus, who have pioneered new modes of teaching and research across a range of disciplines, and passionate students clamoring for new learning opportunities that empower them to lead in a world awash with data.

Mirroring its world-class research, Berkeley’s two-year-old Data Science Education Program is already the largest undergraduate data science program in the world and aims to provide avenues for every Berkeley student to engage capably and critically with data. Professor Culler has been integral to the program’s development and will be able to build on this foundation in his new role.

“Berkeley’s data science initiative reflects how profound new capabilities to observe, analyze, understand, and act - from the microscopic worlds of genes, nanomaterials, and neurons to the global, societal, ecological and cosmological - are opening frontiers across nearly every field of research, just as they are transforming nearly every sector of work and of life,” said Culler.

Theinterdisciplinary data science curriculum launched in 2015 and has already grown to serve over 1,300 students a year with a demography that reflects the rich diversity of the campus.  Its pioneering Foundations of Data Science course teaches fundamental ideas of statistics and computing, integrated together and in the context of real-world data. In Fall 2016, more than half of the students in Foundations of Data Science were women, 22% describe themselves as members of an underrepresented ethnic or racial group, more than half had little or no computer programming experience, and they pursue 60 different majors. A broad-ranging constellation of “connector courses” enable students to tie data science to their interests in areas ranging from history to cognitive neuroscience to ecology. Advanced courses such as Data Science 100 enable deeper explorations into the field.

Culler continued, “The efforts of our faculty and students cast beacons forward, as academic institutions throughout the world voyage into this connected century. For our students, as they prepare themselves for their lives ahead, this endeavor is concrete and immediate. This new Division will allow Berkeley to form degree programs and nurture research initiatives that bring together traditional disciplines to make that future present.”

Campus Announcement

Dear campus community,

As part of the effort to solidify the place of data science amongst our academic offerings and research landscape, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences David Culler as Interim Dean for the newly created Division of Data Sciences. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2017, for a two-year term.

As Interim Dean, Professor Culler will play an essential part in setting the new division on a path towards long-term success and enhancing Berkeley’s international leadership. His duties will include fostering a cooperative atmosphere among the relevant faculties; working with the administration to form an advisory board with representation of key external constituencies; advancing fundraising efforts in concert with broader campus fundraising objectives, and enlisting a team of Berkeley faculty members who will work with him to develop the initiative. Such development includes collaborating with other deans on a variety of initiative goals including designing an undergraduate curriculum, including a major, minors, and concentrations; designing a faculty recruitment plan; initiating consideration of possible graduate-level offerings; and recommending an organizational structure that will best house the set of data science programs. Professor Culler will also serve as a central champion for the division, as well as for Berkeley data science more broadly. As Interim Dean, he will report directly to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

In recognizing and supporting synergies across our rich data science ecosystem - from new computational and inferential approaches to the frontiers of understanding in society, science, arts, professions, engineering and people - this appointment enables the University to advance its position of world-leading research and learning, illustrated in part by our exciting new data science education program, building connections throughout campus. I would like to extend my thanks to search committee chair Vice Chancellor Paul Alivisatos, the entire search committee, and all those in the extended Berkeley community who were involved in bringing the data science initiative to this stage.

Professor Culler joined the Berkeley faculty in 1989, and since then has served as EECS department chair, co-director of the Data Science Planning Initiative, and faculty director of the CITRIS Sustainable Infrastructures Initiative, among many other roles. His own research in parallel computing laid technological foundations of today’s global Internet services and the Cloud, while his work on wireless sensor networks is foundational to the Internet of Things. His focus on information technology for sustainable energy systems and the built environment has connected him with research throughout campus. Professor Culler is a National Academy of Engineering member, an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow, and in 2013 he was awarded the Okawa Prize for his pioneering contributions to the design and development of wireless sensor networks. He received his BA in mathematics from Berkeley (1980), and both his MS in electrical engineering and computer science (1985) and Ph.D. in computer science (1989) from MIT.

Professor Culler’s experience on the Berkeley campus, coupled with his significant accomplishments in his field, position him to provide outstanding leadership for this exciting new academic endeavor, and we are thrilled to have him at its forefront.

Please join me in welcoming Professor Culler to this new role.


Carol Christ

Interim Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost