Shortly before the Examiner closed its operations in 2016, I was invited to write a story on a symposium hosted by the company Tableau regarding the increasing role of data and analytics in education. During my doctoral and postdoctoral research in Pharmacology and Toxicology, I experienced firsthand the importance generating quality data and statistical analyses, though I didn’t realize that data and analytics was literally its own field. It turned out that there was a whole data and analytics community/world, with companies like Tableau creating software for quality data analyses and interpretation. Likewise there are whole careers in data and analytics, and these professionals are critical components of Academia, and the Public and Private Sectors.
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On June 9, 2016 Tableau hosted a symposium in Washington DC titled; “Educating in a Data Driven World”. The symposium took place at Washington DC’s St. Regis Hotel and featured a panel of experts from the United States’ leading institutions of higher education. Among them were:
• Mike Galbreth, Associate Professor of Management Science, University of South Carolina
• Danial Lopresti, Professor and Chair of Departmen3t of Computer Science and Engineering, Director of Data X Initiative, Lehigh University
• Cheryl Phillips, Hearst Professional in Residence, Stanford University
• Vijay Khatri, Associate Professor of Information systems, Arthur M. Weimer Faculty Fellow, Co-Director, Kelley Institute for Business Analytics, Indiana University
• Jana Schaich Borg, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University
• Jon Schwabish, Adjunct Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, Lecturer at the Maryland Institute of College of Art
The Moderator of the panel discussion was Ben Jones, Director of Tableau Public. The panel discussion revolved around the state of analytics education and how higher education is responding to the increased demand for analytics skills in the workplace; a topic all in itself which impacts pretty much every sector and discipline; Politics, Humanities, Business and lastly Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Specific topics discussed were: Issues pertaining to data literacy, how students can be better educated to increase their data literacy, the importance of communication and soft skills for data professionals, and the common traits of individuals interested in analytics.
“Just like there are a lot of programs to help young girls get into STEM fields, we think that it’s important that we help educate our students to be successful in an increasingly data driven world. We have academic curricula for teachers to help them get started with Tableau in the classroom. We do whatever we can to help close the skills gap,” said Tableau for Teaching Manager Emma Trifari. Tableau’s motivation for hosting the panel was the understanding that there is a huge skills gap in the data world, and in order to fill that gap, data literacy needs to start from the beginning.
Tableau’s software is used to simplify data analysis. Currently enrolled students around the world are eligible to receive free one-year licenses of Tableau Desktop through Tableau for Students. Instructors and their students are also eligible to receive free licenses of Tableau Desktop through the Tableau for Teaching program.
For more information on Tableau’s Academic programs, go to: tableau.com/academic.
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