Dean Douglas Clark of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley has announced that Anne Baranger, Teaching Professor in the Department of Chemistry, will serve as the College’s first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for a three-year term.
Dean Clark states, “We welcome Anne as our new associate dean. She will be responsible for the development of the College’s strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion and for promoting these ideals among the faculty, staff, and students. I am confident that she will help cultivate a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all and address some of the current barriers to progress for greater diversity at our College.”
The College serves a large population of undergraduate and graduate students and is a national and international leader in research. An overall educational goal is to increase the numbers of students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and improve the scientific knowledge of both STEM students and students who do not ultimately choose to major in a STEM area.
Faculty and students at the College have done important work over the last few years to better understand and facilitate a more diverse climate for the undergraduate and graduate students. Thanks to the guidance of John Arnold, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, there have been new programs including the Peer Tutoring and Teacher-Scholar programs instituted that are beginning to broaden undergraduate student support.
In 2018, graduate students, Emily Hartman and Chrissy Stachl, started the Graduate Life Committee. The committee, including students from the departments of Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, took on the major task of implementing a graduate climate survey to better understand how the College’s culture was impacting graduate students and ways to improve their experience while at Berkeley.
Anne comments, “I am looking forward to working with the building blocks of diversity, equity, and inclusion that have already been created at the College and developing partnerships that include students, faculty, and staff. Together we can advance the work that has been done so far.”
Anne is no stranger to STEM. She received early encouragement from her own family that started her interest in science. As a youngster, she spent time in the summers with her grandfather Harold Urey (alumnus and Nobel Laureate) until he passed away when she was 12. Anne comments, “Grandpa thought everyone, including women, should get Ph.D.’s in science. My mother Elizabeth Urey Baranger who was his oldest daughter, became the second woman to be hired by the University of Pittsburgh physics department after receiving her Ph.D. from Cornell. She did early research in the nuclear shell model. Throughout her career she was very involved in issues regarding women in science. She was a direct influence on me going into science.”
Anne received her B.S. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1993, under the direction of Professor Robert Bergman. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University with Professor Alanna Schepartz.
She has held appointments as Professor of Chemistry at Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While at the University of Illinois, she was Associate Head of the Department of Chemistry, Director of Graduate Studies, and was a Chancellor's Fellow in the I-STEM Education Initiative. She joined the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley in 2011.
Anne is no stranger to complex educational issues. Her research includes work in chemical biology and chemical education. Her lab has facilitated a new greener laboratory curriculum for undergraduates. Starting last spring, she oversaw a team of faculty and GSIs who facilitated putting a number of classes online in weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the summer, the faculty and GSIs built a new remote lab program called BeArS@home to customize interactive lab experiments from scratch. Historically these labs have only been available in the classroom. This new program will support remote teaching which is being required for the fall semester while the University continues with the required shelter-in-place order.
We welcome Anne to her new role and look forward to her helping the College move forward in creating a more diverse and inclusive learning experience for all.