UNC Charlotte has opened the Carolinas’ first School of Data Science. This interdisciplinary school allows UNC Charlotte to expand on its programs in the field and open up the growing and diverse field of data science to students with varied career interests. The School of Data Science is planning to offer the state’s only bachelor’s program in data science beginning in fall 2020, pending appropriate state and federal approvals.
The opening of UNC Charlotte’s School of Data Science responds directly to job demand in Charlotte, throughout the state and the country, as jobs in data science continue to outstretch the number of qualified candidates. In 2018, the United States experienced a shortage of 151,000 data scientists and by 2025, experts indicate that the gap will increase to 250,000 jobs. A report commissioned by UNC Charlotte to explore the job market for data science graduates in North Carolina revealed that positions requiring competencies in data science more than doubled, from 2,337 to 4,777 in the last year alone.
The School of Data Science is the next step in UNC Charlotte’s strategic focus on data science research and academic programming. In 2013, the University’s Data Science Initiative was one of six game-changing proposals funded by the North Carolina General Assembly and the UNC Board of Governors. It continues to be a top priority for the University, and faculty engaged in data science-related research have received nearly $20 million in state and industry funding. It now includes Professional Science Master’s programs in Health Informatics and Analytics and Data Science and Business Analytics.
“A central part of UNC Charlotte’s mission is providing access to education and meeting the region’s evolving employment needs by educating our students in competencies that will translate into a broad range of careers,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “The School of Data Science will prepare students for careers across many economic sectors represented in Charlotte by giving students the interdisciplinary depth to understand real-world data and problems and to address them with the tools of data collection, storage, integration, analysis, inference, communication and ethics.”
UNC Charlotte’s new School of Data Science is a collaboration among the College of Computing and Informatics, the Belk College of Business, the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Its interdisciplinary approach recognizes the evolution of data science in many industries and the need for multiple skill sets among business managers, social scientists, government officials, statisticians, health care leaders and many others to create meaning from data.
“As an urban research university, we are in a unique position to help bring the community forward by assisting with informed decision making and assessment. There are many opportunities for partnerships with the University’s Institute for Social Capital, our academic colleges and community organizations,” said Doug Hague, newly appointed executive director of UNC Charlotte’s School of Data Science. Hague was recently named one of the Top 50 Data and Analytics Professionals in the United States and Canada by Corinium Global Intelligence.