Teaching Data Analytics to All

This is to acknowledge with pride the important National Science Foundation grant that professors Lisa Dierker and Jennifer Rose recently received to export across the country the Passion Driven Statistics classes they have been developing here at Wesleyan. Their project, “A Data-Driven, Multidisciplinary Curriculum Providing Access to the Data Analytics Economy for Everyone,” will improve STEM education while at the same time making it more accessible to different kinds of learners. As they say in the abstract, they will:

create a National implementation model for widely disseminating an empowering, evidence-based and evidence-generating curriculum that promotes multidisciplinary modes of inquiry, supports the flexible application of new analytics knowledge and skills for everyone, teaches modern computing tools, provides support for students at all skill levels, attracts and retains students from under-represented groups, and frames the curriculum as the basis for understanding a complex world.

Their mode of teaching is fun, open and incredibly empowering. It will open gateways to data analytics and related fields to students around the country who have often been left out of this critical field.

By making data science education substantially more accessible, our model is expected to have a broader impact on recruitment and retention of women and other underrepresented students, creating a larger, more gender and ethnically-balanced population with the kind of skills needed to communicate across industry sectors, disciplines and audiences.

Thousands of students in over 70 educational settings will be part of this project. Congratulations to Profs. Dierker and Rose, and to all the students, staff and faculty colleagues who have collaborated with them over the years. It takes real passion, creativity, courage and practical idealism to conceptualize and now implement this important project.