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Data Analytics Becomes Full Department, Hires Faculty Members

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Photo by Dan Loh.

Driven by donors and new hires, department hits the ground running

by Tony Moore

Dickinson recently approved its newest major, in data analytics, and now the college has created its Department of Data Analytics to support it.

“The recent gifts toward the Data Science Initiative have enabled us to bring data analytics to Dickinson faster than we could have hoped,” says Professor of Mathematics Dick Forrester, noting that the new department comprises both current Dickinson faculty and two new visiting faculty members. “None of this would have been possible without the generous gifts to the college.”

The lead donors have been engaged in multiple endeavors at Dickinson since they graduated and have participated throughout the developmental process of the data science initiative, which was a nascent proposal included in the Revolutionary Challenge. Motivated in part by the unified support across campus for the program, two trustees have also designated gifts to data analytics, ensuring a longer timeline of immediate faculty support.

“The incoming visiting faculty members are experts in data science and have extensive experience applying analytics techniques to a variety of disciplines,” says Forrester. “We are excited to have hired such bright, enthusiastic and knowledgeable faculty to help round out the expertise already present at the college.”

With data analysis key to understanding issues and concerns of both the present and future, the Department of Data Analytics—a rarity at liberal-arts colleges—will mesh with Dickinson’s broad-based liberal-arts approach to become a true interdisciplinary field of study.

“Dickinson prepares students for a complex, rapidly changing future, and we know that facility with data will be part of that future," says Neil Weissman, provost and dean of the college. "Our vision includes both educating data experts and providing data expertise to all, and the new department will allow us to provide depth in data analytics and outreach to the broader student body.” 

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Published April 12, 2021