Milestones, People

Sastry stepping down as engineering dean

By Public Affairs


Paul Alivisatos, executive vice chancellor and provost, today made the following announcement:

Dear campus community,

I am writing to share the news that after close to 10 years as dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, Shankar Sastry has decided to step down and return full-time to his faculty position at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.

Shankar Sastry

Shankar Sastry

As dean, Shankar has been a vibrant campus presence who has devoted much of his time, energy and skill to strengthening the College of Engineering and supporting its mission: educating leaders, creating knowledge, serving society. Over the course of his tenure, he has lifted Berkeley’s historically strong engineering school to new heights, creating innovative educational programs, establishing new structures to ensure student success, setting the college on firm financial footing, launching major interdisciplinary research institutes to address today’s most pressing issues and building important new models for international engagement.

Shankar’s impact on engineering education at Berkeley has been both broad and deep. He helped establish an array of popular graduate and undergraduate certificate and degree programs spanning engineering, translational medicine, entrepreneurship, design innovation and more. He led a major charge to enhance the student experience for those in his college, developing systems to ease new students’ transitions into the academic environment, increasing undergraduate research opportunities and initiating new leadership programs. Notably, he established the Center for Access to Engineering Excellence to broaden participation of women and underrepresented minorities in the engineering disciplines; as a result, as of this fall, 26 percent of the college’s undergraduate engineering students are women (well above national averages), and 10 percent are underrepresented minority students.

An alumnus with two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Berkeley, Shankar forged a special relationship with alumni and donors, and the college’s average annual fundraising total more than doubled during his tenure. Over the past decade, his fundraising success enabled the creation of 27 new named faculty chairs, support for 82 new faculty recruitments, new student fellowships and growth in the college’s endowment. Thanks largely to such support, Shankar also led the construction of three new campus buildings — Sutardja Dai Hall, Richard C. Blum Hall and Jacobs Hall — as well as spurred the renovation of dozens of academic spaces across campus.

More than a dozen major new institutes integrating research and pedagogy have been launched or have grown during Shankar’s tenure, again with significant philanthropic, industry and government support. This impressive assortment includes CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, Blum Center for Developing Economies, Berkeley Water Center, Synthetic Biology Institute, Qualcomm Swarm Lab, Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership, Skydeck Technology Accelerator, Center for Research in Energy Systems Transformation, Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and the Siebel Energy Institute.

Finally, Shankar has been instrumental in the construction of new models for partnering with international institutions at scale, and many collaborations that he helped establish are thriving today, including the Berkeley Educational Alliance for Research in Singapore, Philippine-California Advanced Research Institute and the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute.

Shankar has had a highly prolific tenure — you can read more about his successes on the College of Engineering website — and I hope you will join Chancellor Christ and me in congratulating him on his success and wishing him the best in his final year as dean. I will keep you informed as the search for his successor takes shape.


A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost