October 27, 2020

Five years ago, Data 8 was a new small course at Berkeley and today thousands of students from various disciplines enroll each year. Countless students often share that the reason they declared Data Science as a major is because of the experience they had with Adhikari as their professor. She was awarded “Best Professor” in the Daily Californian’s 2019 edition of the Best of Berkeley

My love affair with Data Science began the first semester of my freshman year with the incredible lecturing prowess of Professor Ani Adhikari in Data 8. That course piqued my interest in the subject since day one of college, and I've spent the past four years refining my interests in related areas. Along the way, I've picked up a collection of other majors and minors, but my heart keeps coming back to the simple intersection of statistics and computer science found in the Little Women example in lecture one of Data 8,” Frances McQuarrie, Berkeley Class of 2020 Data Science graduate shares.

Adhikari is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Statistics. Her research focus areas are centered on applications of statistics in the natural sciences. Now she is adding a new title to her 39-year teaching career, Faculty Director of Pedagogy for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS). 

In this new role, Adhikari’s responsibilities will include collaboration with faculty to identify and maintain core curricula in our main data science courses; oversight and assessment of the movement to online instruction; development of Data course staff hiring processes and policies; collaboration with faculty and CDSS staff to develop smooth administrative systems for courses; providing pedagogical support for new Data course instructors, and developing new courses.

“My role is to have a broad overview of the Data Science undergraduate program to support faculty, staff, and students to help ensure that it achieves its mission. CDSS has literally been built from the bottom up as a collaboration between students, staff, and faculty across campus. The program is now coming together -- this is an exciting time taking this wonderful new thing into maturity,” shares Adhikari on her new role. 

As a part of Adhikari’s new role, she will lead the development of a faculty advising program for Data Science students. Adhikari explains, “Every department has faculty that are assigned to provide subject matter support, but since CDSS is not an official academic department we don’t have that. We currently have staff and peer advising, but we don’t have anyone with subject matter expertise whose official responsibility is to support students with their coursework and academic planning.” 

Although Adhikari is taking on this new role with CDSS, she continues to have an affinity for teaching data science to students who have little mathematical preparation. “Every discipline has data that it analyzes -- city planners, economists, computer scientists. It’s important that we all can explain in layman's terms what we can infer. If people don’t understand the fundamentals of the methods they used, then how can they make conclusions?” 

We welcome you Professor Ani Adhikari to undergraduate studies in Computing, Data Science, and Society.