UC Berkeley Hires Clusters of Faculty From Different Backgrounds to Focus on 6 Major Issues

Five new UC Berkeley faculty members, all from different states, disciplines and backgrounds, will unite around one issue: climate equity and environmental justice. The new appointments are part of UC Berkeley's six interdisciplinary faculty “cluster hires" currently underway.

UC Berkeley’s new interdisciplinary Climate Equity and Environmental Justice faculty cluster. From left, Meg Mills-Novoa, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Maya Carrasquillo, Danielle Zoe Rivera and Zoé Hamstead.UC Berkeley’s new interdisciplinary Climate Equity and Environmental Justice faculty cluster. From left, Meg Mills-Novoa, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Maya Carrasquillo, Danielle Zoe Rivera and Zoé Hamstead.Cluster hiring, as defined by the university, involves hiring "multiple scholars into one or more departments based on shared research interests to meet a university’s specific goals." In Berkeley's case, the purpose will be to advance knowledge on the current "acute threats to the world — in particular, to its vulnerable and marginalized groups and/or to the natural world."

Aside from the Climate Equity and Environmental Justice cluster, which is the first of the six clusters to have all its positions filled, the following five clusters will focus on issues relating to Native American and Indigenous People, Anti-Black Racism and Social Inclusion, Latinx and Democracy, Artificial Intelligence and Inequality and Understanding (Non) Citizenship.

“We need to draw on a much wider range of intellectual sources than we traditionally have," said Dr. Raka Ray, dean of Berkeley’s Division of Social Sciences. "Every topic can be looked at from multiple perspectives, and when this happens, it expands our understanding of the world.”

The Climate Equity and Environmental Justice cluster hires include Dr. Meg Mills-Novoa, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management; Dr. Daniel Aldana Cohen, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology; Dr. Zoé Hamstead, assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning; Dr. Danielle Zoe Rivera, assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning; and Dr. Maya Carrasquillo, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.