I write to announce that AnnaLee (Anno) Saxenian, who has served as dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Information for nearly a decade and a half, has decided to step down and return to her full-time faculty position next summer after the conclusion of her third term. Anno has played a central role in the life of the I School for much of its 24-year history, and I commend her for transforming a nascent program into one of the world’s leading information schools.
A Berkeley professor since 1989, Anno joined our School of Information Management and Systems (as it was then called) in 2000 and became its second dean in 2004. Upon taking up the position, she immediately initiated efforts to define the school’s purpose and focus its research and teaching. This included renaming the school as well as launching a process that helped the I School community construct a new mission statement: “Advancing knowledge and practice wherever humans interact with information and technology.”
Anno then led the school through a period of remarkable growth. Over the course of her tenure she more than doubled the size of the school’s faculty and established its first faculty chair. She doubled the size of its PhD program and introduced an array of fellowships to support graduate students. Importantly, she spearheaded the development of two professional online masters programs — the Master of Information and Data Science and the Master of Information and Cybersecurity — which have allowed the school to expand its reach and impact tremendously. There were fewer than 100 students enrolled when Anno began her deanship; today, the school enrolls more than 700 students through its online and on-campus programs.
As a strong advocate for moving beyond traditional academic disciplines to tackle societal issues, Anno also helped establish the I School’s two interdisciplinary research centers: the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity and the Center for Technology, Society, and Policy. She also launched the annual DataEDGE conference, which draws leading scholars and data science professionals to campus to assess the implications of the data revolution on every aspect of our lives.
While Anno’s leadership will be missed, I am pleased that she will continue to serve Berkeley as a member of our faculty. Anno is a highly regarded scholar of regional economic development whose work is considered fundamental to understanding how Silicon Valley became a major hub of economic activity.
You can read more about Anno’s tenure as dean on the School of Information website. I will keep you posted as plans for the search for her successor take shape. For now, I hope that you will join me in extending deep gratitude to Anno for all that she has done to shepherd Berkeley’s newest professional school into an exciting new era.
A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost