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Envisioning the Data Science Discipline: The Undergraduate Perspective


Project Summary


An Academies study will set forth a vision for the emerging discipline of data science at the undergraduate level. It will emphasize core underlying principles, intellectual content, and pedagogical issues specific to data science, including core concepts that distinguish it from neighboring disciplines. It will not consider the practicalities of creating materials, courses, or programs.  It will develop this vision considering applications of and careers in data science. It will focus on the undergraduate level, addressing related issues at the middle and high school as well as community colleges as appropriate, and will draw on experiences in creating Master's-level programs. It will also consider opportunities created by the emergence of a new STEM field to engage underrepresented student populations and consider ways to reduce the “leakage” seen in existing STEM pathways.

Information gathering will center around two workshops, the first likely focused on principles and intellectual content, and the second likely focused on pedagogy and implications for middle and high schools and community colleges. To get material on the record quickly and spark community feedback, a rapporteur-authored workshop summary report will be issued following the first workshop. A final report will be issued following both workshops and committee deliberations setting forth a vision for undergraduate education in data science.


Project Intellectual Merit, Context and Issues, Work Plan (PDF)


Share Your Input

The study committee is requesting input from data science and education communities to help prioritize topics to focus on through the study. Please fill out this brief questionnaire to share your priorities.


Watch the Webinar

The study organized a webinar on Undergraduate Data Science Education on April 25, 2017.  During the webinar, committee members discussed the study's plans and solicited input on directions and topics the study should examine.  Watch the webinar recording


Planning Meeting

On December 12-13, 2016, the study committee held a meeting to discuss plans for the study and upcoming workshops.  Participants discussed the state of current undergraduate data science education and brainstormed ways to improve the data science education pipeline.  Agenda and Presentations

On May 2-3, 2017, the study committee organized a workshop to discuss key themes relevant to envisioning the future of data science.  Participants discussed data science skills and knowledge, education delivery, and broad participation.