BIDS is delighted to announce the arrival of its new Executive Director, Ashish Sahni, who will officially begin his appointment in January 2022.
Sahni will play a pivotal role within the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), bringing together faculty, students, and staff from across the University to engage with the ever-growing areas of timely research that data science can advance. He will continue BIDS’ legacy of creating and supporting forward-looking interdisciplinary collaborations and study groups within and beyond Berkeley’s gates. Sahni will also support CDSS’s implementation of its Data Science Commons, an experimental space planned for The Gateway, that will empower new configurations of faculty to pursue novel research at the cross-section of their disciplines and data science.
“I am thrilled to be returning to UC Berkeley, and to be leading the BIDS community as we continue the collaborative work needed for effective societal impact,” Sahni said.
A veteran of the University of California system, Sahni served as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC San Francisco. As Associate Chancellor at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), he established and managed the UCSC Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. His exemplary work was recognized by the Office of the President and the Council of University Staff Assemblies with the 2016 Outstanding Senior Leadership Award. Sahni currently teaches economics at the UC Berkeley Extension, and for the last two years, he has worked as the Chief of Staff in the UCSF Department of Surgery, focusing on strategy, education, training, and operations. Before starting his career at UC, Sahni worked as an analyst at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton Administration.
“It’s a genuine pleasure to have Ashish Sahni join us at this exciting time for data science at Berkeley,” said BIDS Faculty Director Saul Perlmutter, “As an accomplished member of the University of California community, he brings just the combination of leadership and community-building experience to expand on BIDS’s strong reputation as the friendly data science ambassador for all departments at the University and to show the promise that the CDSS Science Commons offers their research agendas.”
According to BIDS Associate Faculty Director, Heather Haveman, “Mr. Sahni’s experience in working among different disciplines and across many levels within the UC system will strengthen BIDS’ impact in cultivating and connecting Berkeley’s world-leading domain and methodological research efforts.”
As an alumnus of UC Berkeley, Mr. Sahni holds a BA in economics. He earned his master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, as well as certificates from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health and Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.