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UC Berkeley Press Release

SIMS has a new name

– Since 1995, it's been a premier school at the University of California, Berkeley, with a rather clunky name - the School of Information Management & Systems.

"But nobody knew what it was, it was far too long, and it was continually mistaken," said its dean, economist AnnaLee Saxenian.

As a result, the faculty has opted to change the name to something simpler, less confusing and a better reflection of the school's purpose. Now, it's officially been renamed the School of Information, or "I-School," for short.

According to professor Geoffrey Nunberg, the old name made the program sound "a lot less interesting than it really is. Management and systems are only two facets of the study of information -- a subject matter in itself, the same way history, law, and economics are. Anyway, 'the I-school' is a cool name."

Saxenian formally asked for the change in July 2005. Final approval came earlier this month from the UC Office of the President.

The new name reflects a trend at many other institutions. There are now Schools of Information at the universities of Michigan, Texas, Maryland, Washington and Toronto, as well as at Rutgers and Syracuse universities.

"The only thing we liked about the old name," Saxenian said, "was its acronym, SIMS, which is quite engrained and probably will stick with us for a while."

The 11-year-old I-School offers master's and doctoral degrees in five areas of concentration:

  • Information design and architecture
  • Information assurance
  • Sociology of information
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Information economics and policy

Its 13 faculty members teach approximately 100 students.

More information about the school is available at its Web site at: http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/.

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