August 26, 2019

Data science Educational Ecosystem to benefit from latest round of funded projects

Five proposals have been selected for the second round of funding in the Education Ecosystem sector of Purdue's Integrative Data Science Initiative.

The IDSI education request for proposals this spring resulted in 25 proposals, which were reviewed against their contribution to meeting the goals that emerged from the inaugural forums and working groups in 2017:

  • Creating a data science education ecosystem.
  • Embedding data science into domain curricula.
  • Establishing an ecosystem of data fluency throughout campus.

Approximately 125 faculty from 52 departments in all 10 academic colleges (plus ITaP, and the Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies) were involved in these proposals. Team sizes ranged from three to 13 investigators. Priority was given to proposals that worked across departments and/or colleges to best leverage expertise and resources. Also, the potential to reach a large number of students either in initial implementation or as an institutional model was a key factor. 

The winning proposals are:

* “Integrating Data Science and Applied Digital Agriculture,” with principal investigator Bruce Erickson, Agriculture. Team: Jason Ackerson (Agronomy), Jacquelyn Boerman (Animal Sciences), Dennis Buckmaster(Agriculture and Biological Engineering), Nathan DeLay (Agricultural Economics), John Evans (Agriculture and Biological Engineering), Yaohua "Betty" Feng (Food Sciences), Jeffrey Holland (Entomology), Guofan Shao (Forestry and Natural Resources), Jon Schoonmaker (Animal Sciences).

* “IMPACT Data Science Education: Preparing Undergraduates to Lead into the Future,” with principal investigator Clarence Maybee, Libraries and School of Information Studies. Team: Guang Lin (Mathematics, Statistics and School of Mechanical Engineering), Wei Zakharov (Libraries and School of Information Studies), Chao Cai (Libraries and School of Information Studies), Chao Cai (Libraries and School of Information Studies), Jason Fitzsimmons (Center for Instructional Excellence).

* “Building a Data Science Education Ecosystem Resource Collection,” with principal investigator Pete Pascuzzi, Libraries and School of Information Studies and College of Science. Team: Gladys Andino (Research Computing), Mark D. Ward (Statistics), Michael Witt (Libraries   and School of Information Studies and College of Science).

* “Multimodal Teaching of Data Storytelling as a Core Competency for ‘Data Science for All’ Education,” with principal investigator Sorin Matei, College of Liberal Arts. Team: Elisa Bertino (Computer Science)

* “Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines,” with principal investigator Nicole King, Libraries and School of Information Studies. Team: Bryan Pijanowski (Forestry and Natural Resources), Jie Shan (Civil Engineering), Dharmendra Saraswat (Agricultural and Biological Engineering), Songlin Fei (Forestry and Natural Resources), Brady Hardiman (Forestry and Natural Resources), Ian Lindsay (Anthropology), Michael Fosmire (Libraries and School of Information Studies), Ephrem Abebe (Pharmacy Practice), Vetria Byrd (Computer Graphics Technology), Guang Lin (Data Science Consulting Service), Preston Smith (IT Research Computing), Erica Lott (Center for Instructional Excellence).

“Building a robust data science educational ecosystem is crucial as we continue to lead in the data science field,” says Sunil Prabhakar, director of the Integrative Data Science Initiative. “This next round of innovative projects will add to the success of our inaugural efforts to create a data-literate campus community.”

In 2018, IDSI funded nine proposals in supporting Data Science Education Ecosystem. The funded projects included 37 faculty from 22 departments in 10 colleges. A formal assessment was carried out in May 2019 through face-to-face discussions with the principal investigators of each grant. The assessment found that over 500 students have already benefited from the newly developed coursework, through which students acquired skills ranging from programming, statistics, data management, ethics, and data literacy. In addition, those projects resulted in 15 publications and/or conference presentations.

About Integrative Data Science Initiative

Integrative Data Science Initiative is designed to build on and advance Purdue's existing strengths to position the University as a leader at the forefront of advancing data science-enabled research and education, by tightly coupling theory, discovery and applications while providing students with an integrated, data science-fluent campus ecosystem.

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