Envisioning the Data Science Discipline: The Undergraduate Perspective
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.
The study will develop this vision considering applications of, and careers in, data science. The focus will be at the undergraduate level, while addressing related issues at the middle school, high school and community college levels, as appropriate, and drawing upon experiences in creating Master's-level programs. It will consider opportunities created by the emergence of this 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 deliberations setting forth a vision for undergraduate education in data science.
The intellectual merit of this study is that it will articulate a vision for data science at the undergraduate level by exploring the needs in this area across multiple sectors, and drawing upon experiences to date on fashioning undergraduate programs. The study will draw on the expertise and experience of the study committee, briefings and discussion at workshops convened by the committee, and input received from the relevant communities in response to the study's interim report. The study process is expected to yield a consensus view of intellectual content and pedagogical approaches.
This project and its reports will have broader impact by providing and sharing valuable information for those designing and implementing undergraduate data science programs at colleges and universities, and by fostering the development of such programs and building data science expertise in the workforce.